Reflections: Human beings made in the image of God treated their creator with the most despicable and deplorable behavior—they mocked Him. Not only did our Lord experience the total wrath of God—all the weight of our sin poured on Him, and not only did He experience the physical pain of the cross—but in the cross He experienced the additional pain of shame.
According to law, the guilty victim had to carry his cross, or at least the cross beam, to the place of execution, and Jesus was no exception. He left Pilate’s hall bearing His cross (John 19:16–17), but He could not continue; so the soldiers “drafted” Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross for Him. Roman officers had the privilege of “impressing” men for service, and the way they used this privilege irritated the Jews (Matt. 5:41).
When you consider all that our Lord had endured since His arrest, it is not surprising that His strength failed. Indeed, “He could have called 10,000 angels,” yet He willingly bore the suffering on our behalf. Beaten, broken, bruised beyond recognition, you have to wonder—why the purple cloth, why the laughter, why the crown of thorns, why the false worship? They did it, the scriptures note, because they mocked Him. At the heart of some of the cruelest treatment ever given to a person was the shaming of our Lord. Why would anyone do such a thing?
The scriptures tell us that they hated His claims and sadly, they hated His actions. Even when His actions benefited people by healing them, feeding them, bringing dead children back to life, they hated Him for it. As sad as this reality is, there is another story that occurred during this time. As men and women were mocking Jesus, the Father was affirming His Son. His words were so strong, so filling that they filled Jesus to the point that He set His face like flint to face His accusers: “Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore, I have set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame. He who vindicates me is near.”
Prayer: How thankful I am, Lord Jesus, that You listened to Your Father. How marvelous that the Father so affirmed You, so that those who attempted to condemn You were ultimately silenced: they wore out like a garment that was eaten up by the moths. I celebrate Your vindication, I cheer Your endurance, I walk in Your life and receive Your grace. Lord, You put to death shame, and I ask that You take the blanket of shame from me. I long to walk in the strength of the Sovereign Lord who helps me.