Summary: This is the fifth in a series on the most important day in the most important life ever lived; we walk with Jesus to Calvary!
The Most Important DayIn the Most Important Life Ever Lived!
The Crown of the Crucified
March 10, 2002
What type of king is this Jesus, anyway?
Born in humble surroundings; His earthly parents were mere peasants.
Grew up in relative obscurity, out in the sticks
Worked in a carpenter¡¦s shop until age 30
For 3 years, he traversed the Judean countryside with a ragtag band of followers
No college-level education, much less kingly education
Never elected to public office; never ran!
Never married, no family, much less a queen
Never even owned a home, much less a palace
Frankly, He¡¦d be considered a poor credit risk by today¡¦s standards!
After 3 years of traveling and doing good, the tide of public opinion turned against Him¡Xmost of His best friends deserted Him
Tried before the state on trumped-up charges, but condemned to die even though the evidence was lacking
Executed between two common thieves, and then buried in a borrowed tomb
He had no throne except a mock one constructed by jeering soldiers
He had no scepter save a mock one placed in His hands by a scoffing mob
He had no royal vestiture save a scarlet robe draped around Him by those who feigned homage
He had no crown save a crown of thorns brutally clamped down upon His head by those who made sport of Him
Today, we look at the story of the crowning of this King!
Pilate, as we¡¦ve said earlier, had a dilemma on his hands. He was caught between an innocent man and a bloodthirsty mob. He didn¡¦t want to sentence an innocent man to die; he didn¡¦t want to incur the wrath of his Jewish subjects. Hoping to satisfy the blood-lust of the crowd, he¡¦d had Jesus scourged; this was a severe form of beating, of whipping. A whip was imbedded with jagged pieces of glass and bone, and the resulting carnage of such a beating could be gruesome. Isaiah 52:14 says that His ¡§appearance was disfigured beyond that of any man, and His form marred beyond human likeness¡¨. Even this beating, though, did not satisfy the crowd, so Jesus was handed over to be crucified.
He was taken to the Praetorium, the meeting hall. There, they placed on Him
„h A scarlet robe ¡V this was probably just a common cloak of some kind, but it was the color of royalty.
„h A reed to serve as a mock scepter.
„h A crown of thorns was platted. Imagine: one of those men, or several, took the time to meticulously weave a crown from thorns and briers!
I. How the truth is hated by the deceitful hearts of wicked men!
Jeremiah 17:9 tells us that ¡§the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked¡¨. The evil that men will do is incredible.
I was listening to a radio talk-show host awhile back, and I¡¦d have called in had I been near a phone. His topic was homosexuality, and his point was that he believed that people were born homosexual. My point today isn¡¦t to debate that issue at all, but rather to allude to the reasoning he used. He said that a key piece of evidence for him in favor of his suggestion was that he could not understand why, if homosexuality were a choice, people would choose a lifestyle which would bring them such ridicule and personal pain. Given society¡¦s disapproval of homosexuality, he reasoned (though frankly, it has becoming the chic thing to ¡§come out of the closet¡¨ these days!), why would a person choose such a lifestyle voluntarily when it could cause such personal pain? Can you say ¡§bogus reasoning¡¨? Sure you can! Unfortunately, he is ignorant of the fact that well over a hundred thousand people this year on this planet will suffer, not merely a little public ridicule, but death on the basis of a ¡§lifestyle choice¡¨. They are called ¡§Christians¡¨, and every day some pay for their choice of Christ with their very lives.
Jesus told us not to be surprised when people say all manner of evil against us falsely, when they hate us. For so many years in this country, as long as there existed what might be called a ¡§Christian consensus¡¨, these words of Christ were ones which were more difficult for us to understand. No longer. In this post-Christian society in which we live, we understand that those who believe in Christ in such a way as to proclaim Him as the exclusive Way to God are likely to be held up to increasing ridicule. In Joe Stowell¡¦s video I¡¦ve been recommending, he remarks that Christianity has survived many things in its history, including martyrdom. But Joe says that perhaps the question for us as American Christians, who¡¦ve grown accustomed to some level of respect for generations, is whether or not Christianity in this country will be able to survive¡Kunpopularity.