Mark 15:15-21 15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. 1
6 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.
Flogging. Or scourging was a lot worse then it sounds. Both the Romans and Jews did this, but when the Jews did it they had a tiny bit of mercy. Knowing 40 lashes would kill most men they were only allowed 39. The Romans however could go on and on and on.
The weapon was a long stick with strips of leather coming off the top. These strips had pieces of glass, bone and metal embedded in them. When the victim was whipped the strips would wrap around the body bruising internal organs. As they yanked it back would tear off skin. Horrible!
This passage says when they took Jesus into the palace after the flogging they called together a whole company of soldiers. The whole battalion was there and they beat on Jesus after dressing Him up as a mock king. They spit on Him and made fun of Him.
Can you imagine how they will feel on the day “every knee will bow, every tongue confess?”
Jesus had known forever that this was going to happen and He was determined to go to Jerusalem and to the cross! We’re to know a couple things when we hear this story.
Hebrews 12:2-3 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
We should not grow weary and lose heart in whatever we are going through. He didn’t. He endured for the joy before Him (the crown and blessing from God.) We have that to look forward to too.
1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.
He endured because in doing so it brought us to God! Our sin deserved such brutality. That’s how bad sin against God is.
1 Peter 2:21-24 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”
Again, that’s our example. He didn’t retaliate, He didn’t sin. He didn’t threaten. He entrusted Himself to Him who judges justly. To God.
How does God respond to mockery?
Psalm 2:1-6 Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth rise up and the rulers band together against the LORD and against his anointed, saying, 3 “Let us break their chains and throw off their shackles.” 4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord scoffs at them. 5 He rebukes them in his anger and terrifies them in his wrath, saying, 6 “I have installed my king on Zion, my holy mountain.”
God is not threatened! Ever!
Psalm 2:9-12 goes on to say: You will break them with a rod of iron; you will dash them to pieces like pottery.” 10 Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling. 12 Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
Blessed are all who take refuge in Him. God is not just wrathful. He is merciful. God judges sinners because they mock His Son. Because they say what Christ did was meaningless. He will judge those who sin by rejecting Christ.
Trust in the Son and he will have mercy on you.
In the last verse in this Mark passage Jesus gets a little help from a passerby as He’s carrying His cross. You can imagine how hurt Jesus was at this point! He’d been up all night. Been flogged, been beat. And now He’s carrying a hundred pound cross. And He stumbled.
The Romans weren’t about to carry the cross for Him, so they pulled a man from the crowd. Simon was from Cyrene, which is in Africa where Libya is today. He was in Jerusalem for Passover with his family.
We think that he became a believer, maybe from this experience. We know his sons were because; first in Romans 16:13 Paul says to greet Rufus. And second Mark wouldn’t have put their names in unless they were known in the early church.