This week’s passage is not for the faint of heart. Reading and remembering Jesus’ journey to the cross forces us to sit with the agony of his final days and recognize the true suffering that he endures. I am tempted to read these verses as quickly as possible. I’d like to skip ahead, jumping to the last page of the book where love, life, and hope reign victoriously.
But today, we find ourselves confronted with a Messiah who is humiliated, tortured, and mocked by political forces and commoners. Using the supplies that they have available, some soldiers cruelly twist thorny branches into a makeshift crown and thrust it upon Jesus’ head. Others find a purple robe and force Jesus to dress as a king so they can mock him.
I have lots of questions about this purple robe. Since purple dye was exorbitantly expensive, something only the most prestigious of Roman elite society could afford, I wonder where the soldiers found an extra purple robe just laying around. Was this one of Pilate’s royal robes? Did it come from a castle storage room that was stocked for visiting dignitaries? Wasn’t there someone somewhere worried that all the blood and dirt would ruin the precious garment? Or did someone from within the crowd plan ahead, bringing this expensive joke with them when they left home in the morning, just to insult this dying man? What price would people pay to make light of the Savior of the world?
When do we commit our most precious resources to the cause of honoring Christ? And when do the gifts at our disposal mock the name we bear?
King of the wounded, help me use my best gifts to honor you. May my worship be honest. Amen.