Deuteronomy 30-31 Mark 15:1-25
“They put a purple robe on Jesus and used thorny branches to make a crown for his head. They began to call out to him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ The soldiers beat Jesus on the head many times with a stick. They spit on him and made fun of him by bowing on their knees and worshiping him.” (Mark 15:17-19 NCV)
Imagine the Roman Legionnaire sitting in his barracks. He might be recalling the words of the recruiter: “Join the Army. See the world.” He dreamed of joining the conquering hordes who expanded Rome’s reach as the Empire expanded to an unprecedented amount. What did he get to do? He was part of the occupying force in a pimple on the backside of the world: Judea. The people were rebellious. They didn’t respect the power of Rome. They didn’t respect the authority of the army. Perhaps then, it’s understandable from a human perspective, that given the chance to take all his frustrations out on someone who claimed to be the “King of the Jews,” he and his cohort went wild. They mocked the respect they expected to be shown by “hailing” the king of the Jews. They beat him, liked they wanted to beat every one of the disrespectful scum of Palestine. And then, they put His own clothes back on Him, turned Him over to the executioners, and went back into the barracks to wait for the next fun event Pilate had in store for them.
Soldiers are a rough lot. They see and deal with things that no one should ever have to deal with. In some cases, their reactions can only be described as pure evil. Yet, we know those actions to be evil, because we understand that there’s good. We only understand good and evil, in light of a standard, a moral standard, if you will. What makes beating and mocking any man, especially Jesus wrong? It’s the understanding that all people have value in God’s eyes. That’s our objective moral standard. When everyone does what’s right in their own eyes, there’s no right or wrong. It’s in this beating and mocking of Jesus that we see the moral depravity of mankind. It’s in God’s reaction, which is forgiveness, that we see the goodness of God. Not all that happens in life is good. We can dwell on the terrible nature of evil, or we can choose to live in and share the goodness of God when evil comes. I’ve discovered that when I dwell on the evil and finding a way to “fix” the evil, I’m not a nice person to be around. When I dwell on the forgiving nature of God, I’m at peace and enjoy life all the more.
Lord, Your forgiveness in the face of evil is unfathomable. Teach me to forgive as You forgave even in situations that seem unforgivable.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.