Summary: Jesus suffered as much emotionally as he did physically.
Mocking the Messiah
Text: Matt. 27:27-44
1. Illustration: Nobody likes to have people make fun of them. Most of us know the old saying, "stick and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me." Well, I think most of us know that isn't true. Nothing hurts worse than to have someone make derogatory comments about us. It hurts our feelings, self-esteem, and can leave us with scars that may never go away.
2. Much as been said, preached on, written about, and even made movies of Jesus' physical suffering in going to the cross. However, his emotional suffering is often overlooked.
3. In our text today, Jesus is abused emotionally by Four Groups of People...
a. The Soldiers
b. The Passersby
c. The Religious Leaders
d. The Revolutionaries
4. Let's stand together as we read Matt. 27:27-44
Proposition: Jesus suffered as much emotionally as he did physically.
Transition: The first group of people to abuse Jesus emotionally is...
I. The Soldiers (27-31).
A. Mockery and Taunted
1. After enduring the trial before the religious leaders, the trial before Pilate, and the scourging, Jesus is now left to the mercy of the governor's soldiers.
2. Matthew tells us, "Some of the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into their headquarters and called out the entire regiment."
a. The Praetorium in this period was Herod the Great’s old palace, where the Roman governor stayed when he visited Jerusalem.
b. A cohort of six hundred men was normally stationed in Jerusalem (at the fortress Antonia on the Temple Mount), reinforced by troops who accompanied Pilate to the feast in case they were necessary for riot control (Keener, IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament).
c. There were no legitimate Roman soldiers in Palestine, only auxiliaries that were recruited from among the non-Jewish population.
d. The torture was not do as a result of Pilate's orders but was on their own initiative. In doing so there were expressing their own disrespect for the Jewish people (Horton, 623).
e. Notice that the verse says that brought him out in front of the entire regiment.
f. You can just imagine the kind of abuse that was thrown at him from over 600 soldiers who, by the way, hated the Jews!
3. The next thing they did to him was, "They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him."
a. Nakedness was especially embarrassing to a Jewish person in antiquity.
b. Red robes would be those most readily available, because soldiers wore them; this garment could resemble the purple robe of the pre-Roman Greek rulers of the East (Keener, IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament).
c. This along with the other items given Jesus was an attempt to ridicule Jesus who was accused of claiming to be a king.
4. Then "They wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head, and they placed a reed stick in his right hand as a scepter. Then they knelt before him in mockery and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!”
a. The crown here was woven from weeds, which in this area included long, sharp thorns, very unlike the thorns on a rose that we think of today.
b. Again this is done to ridicule Jesus as "King of the Jews."
c. The scepter, made from a reed, also represented something common to nobility.
d. Now they soldiers fall on their knees mocking Jesus as king. From beginning to end they make a mockery of Jesus as king of the Jews.
e. The Romans detested people like Barabbas and the Zealots he associated with whose goal was to overthrow the Roman authorities.
f. So they use Jesus to vent some of their anger for the Jews (Horton, 623).
5. Adding insult to injury, "they spit on him and grabbed the stick and struck him on the head with it."
a. Spitting on a person was one of the most grievous insults short of violence; Jewish people considered the spittle of non-Jews particularly unclean (Keener, IVP Bible Background Commentary – New Testament).
b. Now their abuse goes far beyond emotional abuse to becoming more physical.
c. They take the crown of thorns they had placed on Jesus head and begin beating him with a stick, and thus ramming the thorns deeper into Jesus skull.
d. The force of the Greek here indicates that they did it repeatedly.
e. Ironically this is a part of the curse associated with the sin of humankind (Horton, 625).
f. Genesis 3:18 (NLT)
It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains.
6. Matthew then tells us, "When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified."