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Feb 15 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Ninety-two – Matthew 27:27-31

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. Matthew 27:31

They were strangers, these legionnaires and Jesus. They did not know him and were unaware of his teaching and miracles–much less that he was the Son of God. To them, he was merely a troublemaker who had been fed to them for execution, allowing enough time to have a little fun. No need to address him by name. He will be the pretend “King of the Jews” on whom they spit every time they use the title.

The abuse the soldiers heaped on Jesus is stressed by the profusion of verbs in this passage. Their sport with him is hard to understand. Pilate could not find evidence that proved Jesus worthy of death, nor had he been a threat or nuisance for the soldiers. Why degrade and torture him before crucifying him? Perhaps it was simply their brutal temperament, these men so accustomed to violence.

It is possible, however, that Matthew found something profoundly moving in this pathetic scene, something he wanted to show us, but without overdoing it, for he does not describe in graphic detail the hammering our Lord suffered. Yes, it was cruel and heartbreaking, but the Bible never once lingers over the violence done to Jesus. Nor should we linger here, for this is not the end of the story. In fact, even with the words “crucified Him” the story does not end (v. 35). There is more, and for that reason we must move on.

Jesus, our Savior, You do not want us to be unaware of Your suffering, for we have been “bought with a price.” Yet neither do You want us to remember You as a helpless, broken victim under the heel of Roman oppression. Rather, You want us to know that Your story is not over and that “all authority” in heaven and on earth has been given to You. We are, each one of us, episodes in Your book that is still being written. Thank You for taking the pain and now exercising the power to make this possible.

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