Mocking the King - Mark 15:16-20

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In Mark 15 we read of a group of Roman soldiers who come together and treat Jesus like nothing more than a punch line. He was charged for claiming to be a king – and this provided the Roman soldiers more than enough motivation and material for mockery.

As we read about how was Jesus mocked and tortured it should grieve us. It’s grievous to consider the Son of God being mocked, beaten and spit upon. But at the same time, we shouldn’t read this passage without considering our own hearts. How each of us, in our own ways, have failed to see Jesus as the true King and have mocked His authority in our lives.

And yet, there’s still more here. Because not only do we see how the Romans mock Jesus, we see that Jesus allows it to go on. He allows these men to treat Him in shameful ways – because this is God’s plan. This is the means through which He is able to rescue us from our shame and save us from the consequences of our sin.

The Mocking of Christ – The King of kings

  • The scene – Upwards of six-hundred soldiers have gathered to participate in mocking and torturing Christ. And this isn’t the first stage of torture – Jesus has already endured a scourging that likely left Him severely broken and weak (Mark 15:15).
  • The soldier’s mockery – A joker-king – The fact that Jesus was charged as ‘the King of the Jews’ gave the soldiers a perfect opportunity for sarcastic mockery. They laid a purple robe over His already shredded back, they pushed a crown of thorns onto His head and put a reed in His hand like a king’s scepter (Matthew 27:29). They mockingly knelt before Him and hailed Him as a King for the sake of their own amusement and entertainment. 
  • The soldier’s cruelty – In addition to the mockery, they beat Him over the head with a reed and spit on Him. The physical beating was a severe compliment to the soldier’s charade – and a clear sign that they had no regard for Him or who He claimed to be.
  • Application – It’s easy for us to see the evil in what the soldiers did to Jesus – but it’s also important for us to recognize the ways in which we too mock the authority of Christ as King. We may never dream of spitting on Him or striking Him, but we all know the temptation to treat Him as less than the One with full and complete authority. We sin against Him as we neglect His commands and live by our own will.

The Humility of Christ – The King who endured shame and death for sinners

  • Jesus willingly gave Himself to suffer – As we read the account of Christ’s suffering and death it’s important to remember that nothing was done to Jesus that He didn’t allow. He allowed Himself to be arrested, convicted, beaten, mocked and killed. (Psalm 22:6-7; Mark 10:32-34; Isaiah 55:5-7)
  • His suffering for our salvation – According to the plan of God, Jesus endured this shame and suffering in our place. He became our substitute – taking our shame and our suffering in our place so that we can be forgiven (Isaiah 53:3-7). 
  • The true King and His humility – We can only truly begin to feel the weight of what Jesus did as we remember who He truly is. He is God, the King of kings, who took on flesh for the sake of death on our behalf (Isaiah 6:1-3; Philippians 2:5-8; Galatians 3:13-14). 

Responding to the King 

  • We should respond in repentance for the ways we have mocked His authority and denied His rule – We have all sinned and we have all mocked His authority – but because of what Jesus did forgiveness is available. What amazing grace – that God would forgive sinners like us.
  • We should respond by submitting with humility and obedience to Him as King – We are called to more than simply acknowledging Jesus as King with our mouths. As we see Him for who He is we should grow in humility and in our desire to live in obedience to Him. 
  • We should respond in gratitude and worship – As we consider what Jesus endured for the sake of our salvation we should be overwhelmed with gratitude – and our gratitude should lead to lives of worship.