Thursday, April 14, 2011

Week 5 - The Torture and Humiliation of the King

Read Mark 15: 15b -23

In this passage we see Jesus being flogged, humiliated by Roman soldiers and forced to carry his cross to Golgotha.

Author Adam Hamilton says:
1) In the beating and humiliation of Jesus, we see evidence of an evil kind of cruelty in which human beings torment one whose very existence is a challenge to them.
2) The cross Jesus carried weighed nearly 100 pounds. It is likely that after Jesus attempted to carry it some distance, Simon of Cyrene was pressed into service.
3) John's Gospel tells us that Jesus carried his own cross, undoubtedly wanting readers to see the connection to Isaac carrying the wood on which he was about to be sacrificed.

Another Biblical parallel is that Jesus was offered wine mixed with myrrh, reminding us of the gifts of the Magi - gold, frankincense and myrrh - offered to a baby in a manger. Myrrh is said to be an herb with analgesic properties, perhaps offered to dull the pain Jesus was feeling from his earlier beatings, but Jesus refused to drink it.

Hamilton continues by saying, "There is one more word we should hear in Jesus' suffering and death, and that concerns the nature of sacrificial love. He has set an example for us of a kind of love that alone has the power to save humanity from its self-destructive ways. Sacrificial love transforms enemies into friends, shames the guilty into repentance, and melts hearts of stone. The world is changed by true demonstrations of sacrificial love and by selfless acts of service."

The question for us becomes, how does this segment of Christ's story inspire you to greater service in His name? We must fight the human desires that mock Jesus and lead us to hurt our fellow human beings, and instead follow the way of the Cross.

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