“The soldiers led Jesus away into the Palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on Him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on Him. And they began to call out to Him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Again and again they struck Him on the head with a staff and spit on Him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to Him. And when they had mocked Him, they took off the purple robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him out to crucify Him.”
Over the centuries of the Christian Church many persecuted believers have found great comfort and encouragement in the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a story told of a female medical missionary in a region that was engaged in a civil war, who was facing extremely severe suffering who faced it with composure and faith reminding her of all that her Saviour suffered for her. Could she do any less for Him? After the conflict was over she remained among the people who had caused her to suffer because she recognised the cost that her Lord had borne for her.
In the sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ there is a redemptive purpose as well. It is really much more than an example for us. There is an example here, of that we can be sure. Scriptures like Philippians 2:1-5 tell us that. There is more as well. John Calvin (in Harmony, III, and p. 168) introduces us to this with the following thought.
“The face of Christ, marred with spittle and blows, has restored to us the image which sin had corrupted, indeed destroyed.”
Perhaps Calvin was echoing the Apostle Paul’s thought in 2 Corinthians 5:18-21.
“All this is from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world unto Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the ministry of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.”
What Calvin reminds us of is the fact that every part of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ was a fulfillment of the prophetic word of God, and therefore had a redemptive purpose of us. As He suffered we are restored. The image of God in which we were created, which was degraded and lost in our fall into sin, has been restored in Christ. Nothing is more precious and comforting than this great purpose. There is much more to say about this, but for today we will content ourselves with one application thought.
In Isaiah 50:10-11 the Prophet writes the following.
“Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the Word of His Servant? Let him who walks in the dark and has no light, trust in the Name of the Lord and rely upon his God. But now, all you who light fires and provide yourselves with flaming torches, go, walk in the light of your fires and of the torches you have set ablaze. This is what you shall receive from My hand: You will lie down in torment.”
Isaiah is telling us that we have a choice as we live in this sin darkened world. We can trust in the Lord’s provision for us, relying upon Him, or we can trust in our own provisions and ultimately come to ruin.
Which will it be?