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And the soldiers led him away...and they called together the whole battalion. They clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him. ~Mark 15:16-20 ESV
The Roman Soldier
I was just doing my job. It wasn’t the first time I crucified someone and it certainly wouldn’t be the last. Those criminals deserve what they get! “But I’m innocent; I’m innocent, I swear!” If I only had a dollar for every time I heard one of them say that, I’d obviously retire a very wealthy man. But Jesus was different. It was weird. Kind of eerie. He didn’t even try to defend himself. The guy was a wack-job. Off his rocks! “King of the Jews!” That’s what they called him. So we made him a crown of thorns and drove it down onto his royal head as tight as it would go. I spit on him and laughed in his face! He didn’t even try to fight back. What a pathetic piece of...
I don’t know. I have to admit that he was different. He looked straight into my eyes and... those eyes. They say the eyes are the window to your soul. If that’s true, then maybe he really was innocent. I’ve never seen anything as pure as those eyes. Maybe I bought into all the hype that surrounded his arrest without actually considering whether or not the rumors were true. Why do I do the things I do? I bully people. I always have. I make fun of them because... I don’t know. I really don’t know why I do it. I mock them - even my family and friends. I don’t always do it to their face, but I do it. I guess it’s easier to mock others than to let them see me be weak. Or, to let them see who I really am.
Listen to how I’m talking! What has this man done to me?
Think of a time (recent, if applicable) when your words, body language or thoughts mocked a person. What did you gain? What did they lose?
Think of a time when you were mocked. What negative thoughts and/or feelings of pain did it evoke?
How would you describe that pain now: an open wound, a scar, or completely healed by Jesus? Why?
Exercise in Prayer
Review your experience of being mocked or mocking others aloud with Jesus. As you recount the story, notice in what ways it has affected and shaped both your personal identity and your identity in Christ. Write your observations in your journal.