The dreadful sentence was now passed, and only remained to be enacted.  But it was not just a sentence from the Sanhedrin and Pontius Pilate that had been made.  The true condemnation of the man Jesus was written in heaven, where God the Father imputed all the sins of a multitude that no man can number unto His beloved Son.  “He was wounded for our transgressions,” said Isaiah, and in the same chapter the evangelical prophet declared, “He bare the sin of many.”  The apostle Paul proclaimed, “God hath made Him to be sin for us,” and Peter wrote that, “Christ also hath suffered for us, the Just for the unjust.”  Peter also declared that Christ “bare our sins in His own body on the tree.”  This was not a mere human judicial miscarriage.  For them, it was the grossest perversion of justice ever enacted upon the face of God’s earth.  But in God’s eyes, the condemnation, torments, crucifixion and death of Christ were in consonance with divine justice.  For, although Jesus was perfectly innocent of the smallest transgression in Himself, in God’s eyes He was counted as a sinner, and must suffer as such, so that we might be forgiven.

Before being led away to the hill of crucifixion, Jesus was scourged by the cruel Roman lictors.  Doubtless nothing drew forth a greater profusion of blood from His sacred veins than that merciless scourging.  The Roman scourge was a terrible instrument, long cords intertwined with sharp pieces of metal or bone, which tore the flesh to ribbons.  Crucifixion was not enough for the heartless murderers of the Lord Jesus, they must mock and torment Him as well.  But is this not the true desert of sin?  I repeat, not that Jesus was a sinner of Himself; God forbid we should ever entertain such a notion.  But He was treated with all the bitter, merciless cruelty that sin rightly deserves, because He was the substitute for sinners.  He was not only beaten, His flesh shredded, but He was mocked by the cold-hearted Roman soldiers, who doubtless considered Him just another malefactor well worthy of the penalty of crucifixion.  They mocked His claim to a kingdom by arraying Him in a scarlet robe, and placing a crown of thorns upon His brow.  This is the welcome that the Son of God received from His creatures!  Instead of a glorious throne and a booming capital city, He is jeered, scourged, mocked, tormented to the last extremity.  They mock His rightful rule by pretending to honor Him as a King, showing just what they think of the One God has anointed to be Lord of all.  How hollow will their mocking of the King of the Jews sound when every eye shall behold Him, along with those that pierced Him!

Man here revealed his full hatred of God, for it was none other than God’s own Son, for Whom it was no robbery to claim equality with God, that they so spitefully treated.  They hate God’s kingship, and show it by deriding the authority of His Messiah, even spitting upon Him, and smiting Him on the head with a reed, driving in those pointed thorns, causing the blood to flow from His head.  Probably His face was so bedewed with blood (for blood flows thick and fast from head wounds) that He scarcely appeared a man.  And this agrees with the words of the prophet, that His visage would be so marred more than any man, and His form more than the sons of men.  Surely there was nothing in Jesus to deserve such barbaric treatment, but in us there is every cause for torments far worse than this, even the torments of hellfire.  It is only because of this suffering which Matthew describes that we can escape the damnation of hell, and lay hold on eternal life.

 

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