Mocking and Torment - Mark 15:16-21

After Pilate gave in to the Jewish leaders, the Roman guards led Jesus away to torture and mock Him (v. 16). They put signs of royalty on Him, a purple cloak and a crown. The crown was made of thorns which was jammed onto His head – piercing His skull causing blood to rain down His head and onto the purple cloak (v. 17). After dressing Jesus up to look like a twisted version of a king, the Roman guards then proceeded to offer mocking worship. These guards who were used to saluting and saying, “Hail, Ceasar” mocked Jesus by saluting and saying “Hail king of the Jews” (v. 18). During their mocking they took breaks to beat and whip Jesus and spit on Him (v. 19a). After beating Jesus they returned to their mocking worship (v. 19b).

When the soldiers had finally tired of their mocking and beatings they tore the robe off of Jesus, which would have brought fresh pain to all of His sores and cuts. Then they led Jesus away to crucify Him (v. 20).

When the Romans crucified someone they would have the person carry a cross, naked, while being beaten and whipped all along the way until they arrived at the place they would die. With Jesus this changed. They put His clothes back on Him (v. 20) and – more importantly – they had another man, a passerby, carry the cross for Jesus (v. 21). Why the change? We are not sure, but perhaps they had beaten Jesus so much that they knew He would not survive carrying the cross.

Thoughts to Ponder
As we weep over what our Lord and Savior went through to bring atonement for our sins let us never forget that this was not the end. While Jesus endured mocking worship we know that one day every knee will bow in true worship of Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:5-11). As we grieve over the final hours of Christ this week, remember that joy will come on Sunday morning.