In Matthew 27 we have an account of a series of events that took place in the lead up to Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. One of the scenes we have in this chapter is the despicable and demeaning way the soldiers treated Jesus. To them, Jesus was just another criminal. Matthew records it as follows,
“Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him” (Matthew 27:27-31).
This scene was one that put on display despicable and demeaning mockery. Yet there is something we are not to miss, and that is the triumph of Christ in it. This triumph benefits all who believe and trust in Christ alone for salvation. Jesus Christ was our substitute when He suffered and died in our place. In commenting on the words of this passage in Matthew, JC Ryle wrote, “They are marvelous when we remember who the sufferer is–the eternal Son of God! They are marvelous when we remember the people for whom these sufferings were endured. We and our sins were the cause of all this sorrow. He “died for our sins.” (1 Cor. 15:3).” He later on provided these amazing words,
But we must not be content with a vague general belief, that Christ’s sufferings on the cross were vicarious. We are intended to see this truth in every part of His passion. We may follow Him all through, from the bar of Pilate, to the minute of His death, and see him at every step as our mighty Substitute, our Representative, our Head, our Surety, our Proxy–the Divine Friend who undertook to stand in our stead, and by the priceless merit of His sufferings, to purchase our redemption. Was He scourged? It was that “through His stripes we might be healed.” Was he condemned, though innocent? It was that we might be acquitted though guilty. Did He wear a crown of thorns? It was that we might wear the crown of glory. Was He stripped of His clothing? It was that we might be clothed in everlasting righteousness. Was he mocked and reviled? It was that we might be honored and blessed. Was He reckoned a malefactor, and numbered among transgressors? It was that we might be reckoned innocent, and justified from all sin. Was he declared unable to save Himself? It was that He might be able to save others to the uttermost. Did He die at last, and that the most painful and disgraceful of deaths? It was that we might live for evermore, and be exalted to the highest glory. Let us ponder these things well. They are worth remembering. The very key to peace is a right apprehension of the vicarious sufferings of Christ.