2824. Mocked By The Soldiers

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Mocked By The Soldiers

No. 2824-49:145. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, June 3, 1883, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, March 29, 1903.

And when they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” {Mt 27:29}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1168, “Crown of Thorns, The” 1159}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2824, “Mocked of the Soldiers” 2825}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3138, “Mocking the King” 3139}
   Exposition on Mt 27:15-54 Joh 18:28-38 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2824, “Mocked of the Soldiers” 2825 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Mt 27:22-50 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2333, “Whole Band Against Christ, The” 2334 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Mt 27:27-54 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2803, “Saddest Cry from the Cross, The” 2804 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Mt 27:27-54 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2887, “Dire Disease Strangely Cured, A” 2888 @@ "Exposition"}

1. It is a shameful spectacle where cruelty uses its keenest instrument to cut, not into the flesh, but into the very spirit, for scorn, contempt, insult, and ridicule, are as painful to the mind and heart as a scourge is to the body, and they cut like the sharpest lance. These Roman soldiers were a rough body of men, — fierce, courageous, terrible in fight, uncouth, untaught, uncivilized, little better than barbarians; and when they had this unique King in their power, they made the most of their opportunity to torment him. Oh, how they laughed to think that he should call himself a King, — this poor, emaciated creature, who looked as if he would faint and die in their hands, whose blessed visage was marred more than that of any of the sons of men! It must have seemed to them a sorry jest that he should be a rival to imperial Caesar, so they said, “If he is a King, let us clothe him with royal purple,” so they flung over his shoulders a soldier’s tunic. “Since he is a King, let us weave him a crown”; and they made it from thorns. Then they bowed the knee in mock homage to the man whom his own people despised, whom even the mob rejected, and whom the chief men of the nation abhorred. It seemed to them that he was such a poor, miserable, dejected creature that all they could do was to make scorn of him, and treat him as the butt for their utmost ridicule.

2. These Roman soldiers had in them, as men, a spirit which I sometimes grieve to see in boys at this present day. That same cruel spirit that will torture a bird or a frog, or hunt a dog or cat simply because it looks miserable, and because it is in their power, that was the kind of spirit, that was in these soldiers. They had never been taught to avoid cruelty; indeed, cruelty was the element in which they lived. It was worked into their very being; it was their recreation. Their grandest holiday was to go and sit in those tiers of seats at the Coliseum, or at some provincial amphitheatre, and see lions contending with men, or wild beasts tearing each other to pieces. They were trained and accustomed cruelty; they seemed to have been suckled on blood, and to have been fed on such food as made them capable of the utmost cruelty; and, therefore, when Christ was in their hands, he was in a sorry state indeed. They called together the whole band, and put on him a purple robe, and a crown of thorns on his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they spat on him, and took the reed from his hand, and struck him on the head.

3. Now we will leave those Roman soldiers, and the Jews that had a hand in persecuting him, for he who delivered him to them had committed an even greater sin. Neither Pilate nor his legionaries were the chief criminals at that time, as we well know. From this incident in our Lord’s life, I think we may learn, first, lessons for the heart; and, secondly, lessons for the conscience.

4. I. First, we have here A SET OF LESSONS FOR OUR HEART.

5. Beloved, we begin with this one. Where I see the great Substitute for sinners put to such shame, scorn, and ridicule, my heart says to itself, “See what sin deserves.” There is nothing in the world that more richly deserves to be despised, abhorred, or condemned than sin. If we look at it properly, we shall see that it is the most abominable thing, the most shameful thing in the whole universe. Of all the things that ever were, this is the thing which most of all deserves to be loathed and spurned. It is not a thing of God’s creating, remember. It is an abortion; a spectre of the night, which plucked a host of angels from their thrones in heaven, drove our first parents out of paradise, and brought on us unnumbered miseries.

6. Think, for a minute, what sin is, and you will see that it deserves ridicule for its folly. What is sin? It is rebellion against the Omnipotent, a revolt against the Almighty. What utter folly that is! Who shall hurl himself against the bosses {a} of Jehovah’s buckler, and not be dashed in pieces? Who shall rush on the point of his spear, and hope to vanquish him? Laugh to scorn such folly as that. Under that aspect, sin is the apex of folly, the climax of absurdity; for what power can ever stand up against God, and win the day?

7. But, further, sin deserves to be scorned because it is a deliberate attack on One who is full of goodness, and justice, and truth. Note that evil thing that assails the Most High, and brand it so that the mark of the iron shall remain on it for ever. Set it up in the public pillory, and let all true hearts and hands hurl scorn on it for having disobeyed the perfect law of God, angered the generous Creator and Preserver of men, done despite to eternal love, and infinite damage to the best interests of the human race. It is a ridiculous thing, because it is fruitless, and must end in being defeated. It is a shameful thing, because of its deliberate, malicious, unprovoked attack on God. If you will look back a little, and consider what sin attempted to do, you will see the reason why it should be shamed for its audacity. “You shall be as gods,” he said who was the mouthpiece of sin; but are we, by nature, like gods? Are we not more like demons? And he who uttered that lie, — even Satan, — did he succeed as he expected when he dared to rebel against his Creator? See how his former glory has vanished! How are you fallen from heaven, oh Lucifer, son of the morning, and how is your brightness quenched in everlasting night! Yet sin, speaking through the lips of Satan, talked about being a king, and of making all of us kings; but it has degraded us to the dunghill, and to utter beggary; indeed, to worse than that, to death and hell. What spitting sin deserves! If it is to be crowned, let it be crowned with thorns. Do not bow your knee to it, but pour all the scorn you can on it. Every true and honest heart, in heaven, among the angels and the glorified spirits, and on earth, among sanctified men and women, must look on sin as a thing worthy of unspeakable contempt. May God make sin as contemptible in our sight as Christ appeared to be to the Roman soldiers! May we scoff at its temptations; may we scorn its proffered rewards; and may we never bow our hearts to it in any degree whatever, since God has set us free from its accursed thraldom!

8. That is the first lesson for our hearts to learn from the mockery of our Saviour by the soldiers, — see what a contemptible thing sin is.

9. Learn, next, my dear brothers and sisters, how low our glorious Substitute stooped for our sake. In him was no sin either of nature or of act. He was pure, entirely without spot before God himself; yet, as our Representative, he took our sin on himself. “He was made sin for us,” says the Scripture most emphatically; and inasmuch as he was regarded as being the sinner, though in him was no sin, it naturally followed that he should become the object of contempt. But what a wonder that it should be so! He, who created all things by the word of his power, and by whom all things consist, — he, who counted it not robbery (not a thing to be grasped) to be equal with God, — sits in an old chair to be made a mimic king, and to be mocked and spat on! All other miracles put together are not equal to this miracle; this one rises above them all, and out does all miracles, — that God himself, having espoused our cause, and assumed our nature, should condescend to stoop to such a depth of scorn as this. Though myriads of holy angels adored him, though they would have gladly left their high estate in heaven, to strike his foes, and set him free, he voluntarily subjected himself to all the ignominy that I have described, and much more which is utterly indescribable; — for who knows what things were said and done, in that rough guard-room, which holy pens could not record, or what foul jests were made, and what obscene remarks were uttered, which were even more shocking to Christ than the filthy spittle which ran down his blessed cheeks in that time of shameful mockery? Ah, my brothers and sisters; you cannot imagine how low your Lord stooped on your account! When I hear any say that they have been so slandered for his sake that they cannot endure it, I have wished that they knew what he endured on their behalf. If we stood in the pillory, and all mankind hooted at us for a million million years, it would be as nothing compared with the amazing condescension of him who is God over all, blessed for ever, stooping as he did for our sake.

10. That is the second lesson for our hearts to learn.

11. Then let me say to you very tenderly, wishing that some other voice could speak of it more effectively, see how your Redeemer loved you. You know that, when Christ stood by the grave of Lazarus, and wept, the Jews said, “Behold how he loved him!” Ah! but look at him there among those Roman soldiers, — despised, rejected, insulted, ridiculed; and then let me say to you, “Behold how he loved us, — you, and me, and all his people!” In such a case, I might quote the words of John, “Behold, what manner of love!” But this love of Jesus is beyond all manner and measure of which we can have any conception. If I were to take all your love for him, and heap it up like a vast mountain; if I were to gather all the members of the one Church of Christ on earth, and tell them to empty their hearts, and then brought out of heaven the myriads of redeemed and perfected spirits before the throne, and they added all their heart’s love; and if I could collect all the love that ever has been and that ever shall be throughout eternity in all the saints; — all that would be only like a drop in a bucket compared with the boundless, fathomless love of Christ for us, that brought him down so low as to be the object of the scorn and derision of these wicked men for our sake. So, beloved, from this sad scene let us learn how greatly Jesus loved us, and let each one of us, in return, love him with all our heart.

12. I cannot leave this set of lessons for your heart without giving you one more; that is, see the grand facts behind the scorn. I believe — I cannot help believing — that our blessed Master, when he was in the hands of those cruel soldiers, and they crowned him with thorns, and bowed before him in mock reverence, and insulted him in every possible way, all the while looked behind the curtain of the visible circumstances, and saw that the heartless pantomime, — no, tragedy, — only partially hid the divine reality, for he was a King even then, and he had a throne, and that thorn-crown was the emblem of the diadem of universal sovereignty that shall, in due time, adorn his blessed brow; that reed was to him a type of the sceptre which he shall yet wield as King of kings and Lord of lords; and when they said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” he heard, behind that mocking cry, the triumphant note of his future glory, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! the Lord God omnipotent reigns; and he shall reign for ever and ever!” for when they mockingly bowed the knee to him, he saw all nations really bowing before him, and his enemies licking the dust at his feet. Our Saviour knew that these ribald soldiers, unconsciously to themselves, were setting before him pictures of the great reward of his soul-travail. Let us not be discouraged if we have to endure anything of the same sort as our Lord suffered. He was not discouraged, but remained steadfast through it all. Mockery is the unintentional homage which falsehood pays to truth. Scorn is the unconscious praise which sin gives to holiness. What higher tribute could these soldiers give to Christ than to spit on him. If Christ had received honour from such men, there would have been no honour in it for him. You know how even a heathen moralist, when they said to him, “So-and-so spoke well of you yesterday in the market,” asked, “What have I done amiss that such a wretch as that should speak well of me?” He rightly considered it a disgrace to be praised by a bad man; and because our Lord had done nothing amiss, all that these men could do was to speak badly of him, and treat him with contempt, for their nature and character were the very opposite of his. Representing, as these soldiers did, the unregenerate, God-hating world, I say that their scorn was the truest reverence that they could offer to Christ while they continued as they were; and so, behind persecution, behind heresy, behind the hatred of ungodly men to the cross of Christ, I see his everlasting kingdom advancing, and I believe that “the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be exalted above the hills,” and that “all nations shall flow into it,” even as Isaiah foretold; that Jesus shall sit on the throne of David, and that of the increase of his kingdom there shall be no end, for the kings of the earth shall bring their glory and honour to him, “and he shall reign for ever and ever. Hallelujah!” Glory be to his holy name!

13. Have all our hearts truly learned these four grand lessons, — the shamefulness of sin, — the condescension of our Lord, — the immeasurable love which made him so condescending, — and the ineffable glory which hides behind the skirts of all this shame and sorrow? If not, let us beseech the Holy Spirit to teach them to us.

14. II. Now I want to give you, from this same incident, A SET OF LESSONS FOR YOUR CONSCIENCE.

15. And, first, it is a very painful reflection — let your conscience feel the pain of it — that Jesus Christ can still be mocked. He has gone into the heavens, and he sits there in glory; but yet, spiritually, so as to bring great guilt on him who does it, the glorious Christ of God can still be mocked, and he is mocked by those who deride his people. Now, men of the world, if you see faults and failings in us, we do not wish you to screen us. Because we are the servants of God, we do not ask for exemption from honest criticism, we do not desire that our sins should be treated with more leniency than those of other men; but, at the same time, we warn you not to slander, and scandalize, and persecute those who are the true followers of Christ; for, if you do, you are mocking and persecuting him. I believe that, if it is the poorest of his people, the least gifted and the most faulty, yet, if they are evil spoken of for Christ’s sake, our Lord takes it all as done to himself. You remember how Saul of Tarsus, when he lay struck to the ground, heard a voice which said to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Well, but,” he might have said, “I have never persecuted you, Lord.” No; but he dragged Christian men and women to prison, and scourged them, and compelled them to blaspheme; and because he had done this to Christ’s people, Christ could truly say to him, “Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of my brethren, you have done it to me.” If you persecutors want to amuse yourselves, you can find much cheaper sport than that of slandering the servants of Christ. Remember that the Lord has said concerning them, “He who touches you touches the apple of his eye.” If you were to touch the apple of a man’s eye, you would be provoking him to defend himself; so do not arouse Christ’s righteous anger by scoffing at any of his people. I say no more on that point; if the message is meant for any man here, let him give heed to the warning.

16. Next, Christ may be mocked by condemning his doctrine. It seems to me a fearful thing that men should ever hold up Christianity to scorn; yet, nowadays, there is scarcely any portion of the truth of God which is not ridiculed and caricatured. It is stripped of its own clothes, and dressed up in someone else’s old purple cloak, and then it is set in a chair, while men pretend great homage for it, and greet it, saying that they have great reverence for Christ’s teaching; but, before long, they spit in its face, and treat it with the utmost disdain. There are some who deny the deity of Christ, others who hate the central doctrine of his atoning sacrifice, while many rail at justification by faith, which is the very heart of the gospel. Is there any doctrine — I scarcely know one — which has escaped the mockery and scorn of ungodly men? Nowadays, if a man wants to make himself a name, he does not write on something which he understands, and which is for the public good, but he immediately begins to assail some doctrine of Scripture of which he does not know the meaning; he misrepresents it, and sets up some notion of his own in opposition to it, for he is a “modern thought” man, a person of much importance. It is easy work to scoff at the Bible, and to deny the truth. I think that I could myself pose as a learned man, in that way, if ever the devil should sufficiently control me to make me feel any ambition of that kind. In fact, there is scarcely a fool in Christendom who cannot make himself a name among modern thinkers if he will only blaspheme loudly enough, for that seems to be the road to fame, nowadays, among the great majority of mankind. They are dubbed “thoughtful” who insult the truth of God like this as the soldiers, with their spittle, insulted the Christ of God.

17. I shall come closely home to some of you, who attend here regularly, when I say that Christ can still be mocked by resolves which never lead to obedience. Let me speak very softly on this solemn truth. Give me your hand, my friend; let me look into your eyes; I would gladly look into your soul if I could, while I present this matter very personally to you. Several times, before leaving this house, you have said, “I will repent of my sin; I will seek the Lord; I will believe in Jesus.” You meant these words when you uttered them; why, then, have you not fulfilled your promises? I do not care what excuse you give, because any reason which you give will be most unreasonable, for it will only amount to this, — that there was something better than to do what Christ tells you to, something better for you than to be saved by him, something better than the forgiveness of your sins, something better than regeneration, something better than Christ’s eternal love. You would have chosen Christ, but Barabbas came across your path, so you said, “Not this Man, but Barabbas.” You would have thought seriously about the salvation of your soul, but you had promised to go to a certain place of amusement, so you put off seeking the Saviour until a more convenient time. Possibly, you said, “My business is of such a character that I shall have to give it up if I become a Christian, and I cannot afford to do that.” I heard of one who listened to a sermon which impressed him, — and he did not often hear sermons, — and he wished that he could be a Christian; but he had made various bets for large amounts, and he felt that he could not think of other things until they were ended.

18. There are many such things that keep men from Christ. I do not care what it is that you prefer to the Saviour; you have insulted him if you prefer anything to him. If it were the whole world, and all that it contains, that you had chosen, these things are only trifles when compared with the sovereignty of Christ, his crown rights to every man’s heart, and the immeasurable riches that he is prepared to give to every soul that comes and trusts in him. Do you prefer a prostitute to the Lord Jesus Christ? Then do not tell me that you do not spit in his face; you do what is worse even than that. Do you prefer profits wrongly gained to accepting Jesus as your Saviour? Do not tell me, sir, that you have never bowed the knee before him in scorn; for you have done far worse than that. Or was it a little paltry pleasure, — mere trifling laughter and folly of an hour, — that you preferred to your Lord? Oh, what must he feel when he sees these contemptible things preferred to him, knowing that eternal damnation is behind your foolish choice? Yet men choose a moment’s folly and hell, instead of Christ and heaven! Was ever such an insult as that paid to Christ by Roman soldiers? Go, legionaries; you are not the worst of men! There are some who, being pricked in their conscience, make a promise of repentance, and then, for the world’s sake, and for their flesh’s sake, and for the devil’s sake, break that promise; the soldiers did not sin against Christ so grossly as that!

19. Listen once more. I must again come very closely home to some of you. Was it not a shameful thing that they should call Christ King, and yet not mean it; and, apparently, give him a crown, a sceptre, a royal robe, the bowing of the knee, and the homage of the lips, but not to mean any of it? It cuts me to the quick to think of what I am going to say, yet I must say it. There are some professors, — members of Christian churches, — members of this church, — who call Christ Master and Lord, yet they do not do the things which he says. They profess to believe the truth, yet it is not like the truth to them, for they never yield to its power, and they act as if what they call truth were fiction and human invention. There are still some, like those of whom the apostle wrote, and I can say as he did, — “of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ,” — though in the nominal church. Their God is their belly, they glory in their shame, and they dote on earthly things; yet they bow the knee before Christ, they sing, “crown him, crown him”; and they eat the bread and drink the wine which represent his broken body and shed blood, yet they have no part nor lot in him. It has always been so in the nominal church, and it will be so, I suppose, until Christ comes to separate the chaff from the wheat. But, oh, how dreadful it is! To insult Christ in the Roman guard-room, was bad enough; but to insult him at the communion table, is far worse. For a Roman soldier to spit in his face, was bad enough; but to come and mingle with his people, and call yourself his servant, and then to go deliberately to drink with the drunkard, or to be unchaste in your life, or dishonest in your business, or false in your talk, or foul in your heart, is even more abominable. I know no milder word that can express the truth. To call Christ Master, and yet never to do his bidding, — this is mockery and scorn of the worst possible kind, for it wounds him at the very heart.

20. I was reading, today, part of a Welsh sermon which struck me very much. The preacher said, “Let all who are in this congregation affirm their real master. I will first call on the servants of the devil to acknowledge him. He is a fine master, and a glorious one to serve, and his service is joy and delight; now all of you who are serving him say, ‘Amen. Glory be to the devil!’ Say it.” But no one spoke. “Now,” he said, “do not be ashamed to acknowledge him whom you serve every day of your life; speak out, and say, ‘Glory be to my master, the devil!’ or else hold your tongues for ever.” And still no one spoke, so the minister said, “Then, I hope that, when I ask you to glorify Christ, you will speak.” And they did speak, until the chapel seemed to ring again as they cried, “Glory be to Christ!” That was good; but if I were to test you in a similar way, I feel tolerably certain that no one here would acknowledge his master if his master is the devil, and I am afraid that some of the devil’s servants would join us in our hallelujahs to Christ. That is the mischief of it; the devil himself can use self-denial, and he can teach his servants to deny their master, and in that very way to do him the most honour. Oh dear friends, be true to Christ; and, whatever you do, never mock him! There are many other things, which you can do, that will be much more profitable for you than mocking Christ. If God is God, serve him; if Christ is your Master and Lord, honour him; but if you do not intend to honour him, do not call him Master; for, if you do, all your faults and sins will be laid at his door, and he will be dishonoured through you.

21. Now I think that I hear someone say, “I am afraid, sir, that I have mocked Christ; what am I to do?” Well, my answer is, — Do not despair, because that would be mocking him in another way by doubting his power to save you. “I am inclined to give it all up.” Do not act like that, for that would be to insult your Maker by another sin; namely, open revolt against him. “What shall I do, then?” Well, go and tell him your grief and sorrow. He told his disciples to preach the gospel first at Jerusalem, because that was the place where those soldiers lived, the very men who had mocked him; and he prayed for his murderers, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” In the same way, he presents his mercy to you, first. Come to him, then; and if you are conscious that you have mocked him in any one of these ways that I have mentioned, say to yourself, “Then, if he will only forgive me, I will henceforth live all the more for his praise. I cannot wipe out my sin, but he can; and if he will do so, I will love him much because I shall have had much forgiven; and I will spend and be spent to glorify his holy name.”

22. My time has almost gone, so this must be my last remark. Whether we have mocked Christ or not, come, dear brothers and sisters, let us glorify him now. This very hour, let us crown him with our heart’s love and trust. Bring out that royal crown, — the crown of your love, of your trust, of your complete consecration to him, — and put it on his head now, saying, “My Lord, my God, my King.” Now put the sceptre into his hand by yielding absolute obedience to his will. Is there anything he tells you to do? Do it. Is there anything he tells you to give? Give it. Is there anything he tells you to abstain from? Abstain from it. Do not put a reed sceptre into his hand, but give him the entire control of your whole being. Let him be your real Lord, reigning over your spirit, soul, and body. What next? Bow before him, and worship in the quiet of your innermost heart. You need not bow your bodies, but let your spirits fall down before him who sits on the throne, and cry, “To him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests to God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”

23. And when you have worshipped him, then proclaim him King. As those soldiers said in mockery, “Hail, King of the Jews!” so now in real earnestness proclaim him King of Jews and Gentiles, too. Go home, and tell your friends that Jesus is King. Proclaim it among the nations that “the Lord reigns,” as the old version has it, “reigns from the tree.” He has made his cross to be his throne, and there he reigns in majesty and in mercy. Tell it to your children, tell it to your servants, tell it to your neighbours, tell it in every place wherever you can be heard, — that the Lord, even Jesus, reigns as King of kings and Lord of lords. Say to them, “Kiss the Son, lest he is angry, and you perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled only a little.”

24. And then, when you have proclaimed him, kiss him yourself. Just as the rough soldiers spat on him, so give to him the kiss of homage and affection, saying, “Lord Jesus, you are mine for ever and ever.” Say, with the spouse, “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine.” I suggest to you that each individual here, who loves his Lord much, should think of something new that he can do for Christ during this week, — some special gift that you can bestow on him, — some special action that you can do, which shall be quite new, and shall be only for Jesus, and altogether for Jesus, as an act of homage to his name. I often wish that God’s people were more inventive, like that woman who wanted greatly to honour him, so she brought out her alabaster box, and broke it, and poured the precious ointment on his head. Think of something special that you can do for Christ, or give to him. A dear friend, now in heaven, but who used to worship in this place, had a son who had been a great scapegrace, {b} and was, in fact, living a vicious life. He had been long away from his father, and his father did not know what to do about getting him home, for he had treated him very badly, marred his comfort, and spoiled his home. But, as I was preaching, one night, this thought came to him, “I will find out, tomorrow morning, where my son is, and I will go to him.” The father knew that the son was very angry with him, and very bitter against him, so he thought of a certain fruit, of which his son was very fond, and he sent him a basketful of it next morning; and when the son received it, he said, “Then, my father still has some affection for me.” And the next day the father called, and the day after he had him at home again, and that was the means of bringing the son to the Saviour. He had worn himself out with vice, and he soon died but his father told me that it was a great joy to his heart to think that he could have a good hope concerning his son. Had the son died away from home, had the father not sought him out, he would never have forgiven himself. Now, he did that for Christ’s sake; can some of you not do a similar deed for the same reason? Is there any skeleton in your house? Is there any mischief you could set right; or do you have anything you can give to your Lord and Master? Think, each one of you for himself or herself, what you can do and, inasmuch as Christ was so shamefully despised and rejected, seek to honour and glorify him in the best way that you can, and he will accept your homage and your offering for his love’s sake. May he help you to do so! Amen.

{a} Bosses: The convex projection in the centre of a shield or buckler. OED. {b} Scapegrace: A man or boy of reckless and disorderly habits; an incorrigible scamp. OED.

Expositions By C. H. Spurgeon {Mt 27:15-54 Joh 18:28-38}

We are now to read about our Lord before Pontius Pilate.

27:15-30. Now at that feast the governor was accustomed to release to the people a prisoner, whom they wished. And they then had a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you wish that I release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that because of envy they had delivered him. When he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of him.” But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. The governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you wish that I should release to you?” They said, “Barabbas.” Pilate says to them, “What shall I do then with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all say to him, “Let him be crucified.” And the governor said, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let him be crucified.” When Pilate saw that he could not prevail, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see to it.” Then all the people answered, and said, “His blood be on us, and on our children.” Then he released Barabbas to them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered to him the whole band of soldiers. And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him, and took the reed, and struck him on the head.

Surely, mockery could have gone no further; we marvel at the boldness and ingenuity of their scorn. Oh, that we were half as earnest in seeking to honour him, — as careful to think of everything that might make our homage perfect. But we, alas! too often fail to give him due honour and glory, even when others are all aflame with zeal to insult him.

31. And when they had mocked him, they took the robe off him, and put his own clothing on him, and led him away to crucify him.

Perhaps they were afraid that he would die from sheer exhaustion; and, so, with a cruel mercy, they would keep him alive for the infliction of further tortures.

32. And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: they compelled him to bear his cross.

Any one of us might well have wished to have been Simon, yet we need not envy him. There is a cross for everyone who is a follower of the Crucified; may we have grace to carry it after him!

33, 34. And when they were come to a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, they gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted it, he would not drink.

He totally abstained from what might have lessened his pain. He came to suffer, and he intended to go through with all that he had undertaken. He would do nothing that would blunt the edge of the sacrificial knife. He does not forbid the soothing draught to other sufferers who are in pain; but, as for himself, he will not partake of it.

35-37. And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, “They parted my garments among them, and they cast lots on my vesture.” And sitting down they watched him there, and set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

And so he is, and so he shall be, — King of the Jews even on that cross, and never so royal as when he had surrendered everything for love of those whom he came to redeem.

38-43. Then two thieves were crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left. And those who passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, and saying, “You who destroy the temple, and build it in three days, save yourself. If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” Likewise also the chief priest mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others, he cannot save himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”

What pain this taunt must have caused the Saviour! Because he is so pure, and never yields to temptation, we are very apt to forget that temptation was really temptation even to him, and that it grieved his pure and holy soul to be so tempted to turn aside from the path of perfect trust in his Father, and complete obedience to him. No doubt the pain of temptation is in inverse ratio to our willingness to yield to it. When we yield to temptation, we feel a pleasure in it; but when we are horrified by it, and recoil from it, then we feel its pain. Oh, for a mind and heart, so perfectly subject to the will of God, that we should feel such a temptation as this to be the very agony of grief to us, as it was to our Lord!

44. The thieves also, who were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

No one seemed to look on him with any desire to help him, but even the lowest of the low would contribute their portion of mockery to increase his misery.

43-54. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is to say, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This man calls for Elijah.” And immediately one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. The rest said, “Let him be, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. And, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks split; and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who slept arose, and came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared to many. Now when the centurion, and those who were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God.”

John gives us some details of our Lord before Pilate which Matthew does not mention.

18:28-38. Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves did not go into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled, so that they might not be able eat the passover. Pilate then went out to them, and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered and said to him, “If he were not a malefactor we would not have delivered him up to you.” Then Pilate said to them, “Take him, and judge him according to your law.” The Jews therefore said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put any man to death”: so that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke, signifying what death he should die. Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered him, “Are you saying this thing yourself, or did others tell you this about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you to me: what have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate therefore said to him, “Are you a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. I was born for this purpose, and for this reason I came into the world, so that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate says to him, “What is truth?” And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and says to them, “I find no fault at all in him.”

So all who came into contact with Jesus bore witness that the Lamb of God was indeed “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.”

 Sermons in this series: —
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2820 “Christ Before Annas” 2821}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2822 “Christ In Bonds” 2823}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2824 “Mocked By Soldiers” 2825}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2825 “Majesty In Misery” 2826}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2826 “The King In Pilate’s Hall” 2827}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, His Praise — Christ’s Humiliation And Exaltation” 414}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, In Heaven — ‘He Shall Reign For Ever And Ever’ ” 333}

Jesus Christ, His Praise
414 — Christ’s Humiliation And Exaltation
1 What equal honour shall we bring
   To thee, oh Lord our God, the Lamb
   When all the notes that angels sing
   Are far inferior to thy name?
2 Worthy is he that once was slain,
   The Prince of Peace that groan’d and died
   Worthy to rise, and live, and reign
   At his Almighty Father’s side.
3 Power and dominion are his due
   Who stood condemn’d at Pilate’s bar;
   Wisdom belongs to Jesus too,
   though he was charged with madness here.
4 All riches are his native right,
   Yet he sustain’d amazing loss:
   To him ascribe eternal might,
   Who left his weakness on the cross.
5 Honour immortal must be paid,
   Instead of scandal and of scorn:
   While glory shines around his head,
   And a bright crown without a thorn.
6 Blessings for ever on the Lamb,
   Who bore the curse for wretched men:
   Let angels sound his sacred name.
   And every creature say, Amen.
                           Isaac Watts, 1709.

Jesus Christ, In Heaven
333 — “He Shall Reign For Ever And Ever” <8.7.4.>
1 Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious,
   See the “Man of Sorrow” now;
   From the fight return’d victorious,
   Every knee to him shall bow:
      Crown him, crown him;
   Crowns become the Victor’s brow.
2 Crown the Saviour, angels, crown him;
   Rich the trophies Jesus brings:
   In the seat of power enthrone him,
   While the vault of heaven rings:
      Crown him, crown him;
   Crown the Saviour, “King of kings.”
3 Sinners in derision crown’d him,
   Mocking thus the Saviour’s claim;
   Saints and angels crowd around him,
   Own his title, praise his name;
      Crown him, crown him;
   Spread abroad the Victor’s fame.
4 Hark! those bursts of acclamation!
   Hark! those loud triumphant chords!
   Jesus takes the highest station!
   Oh what joy the sight affords!
      Crown him, crown him;
   “King of kings, and Lord of lords.”
                     Thomas Kelly, 1809.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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