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Jesus Mocked

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew
The Truth Network Radio
May 7, 2023 7:00 pm

Jesus Mocked

Growing in Grace / Doug Agnew

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May 7, 2023 7:00 pm

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If you have your Bibles with you today, turn with me if you would to Mark chapter 15.

We're looking at verses 15 through 22. We're listening together a crown of thorns they put it on Him. They began to salute Him.

Hail King of the Jews! And they were striking His head with a reed and spitting on Him, and kneeling down in homage to Him. And when they had mocked Him, they stripped Him of the purple cloak, put His own clothes on Him, and they led Him out to crucify Him.

They compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrenae, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry His cross. And they brought Him to the place called Golgotha, which means the place of the skull. I'm going to ask you to be seated as I pray. We've got a lot to pray for this morning. Heavenly Father, I pray for our sick today. I pray for recovery for Jeremy Carriker and Jim Belk and Larry Cranford. I pray for Gerard Michaud that you prepare him for open heart surgery that he's got coming up. I pray for continued healing for Lance Walker and Susan Gray and Nicole Lowes. I pray for Rexford Robinson, Lord, that you would heal him completely. And I pray for Wendy Crestar. She has surgery this Tuesday.

You would be with her in great power. I pray for Murray Rice, Lord, that you would help him as he has gone through some struggling recently, and we pray, Lord, for a complete recovery. I pray for Larry Vorce as he is having this Wednesday done a repair on a heart valve, and I ask, Father, that you be with him in great power and that he be completely healed of this. Heavenly Father, we read the story today of the events that happened immediately before Jesus was crucified. It was not enough that Jesus was to be executed, but He was maligned, beaten in the face, scourged with a whip.

He put a purple robe around His shoulders, a crown of thorns on His head. Why? To make fun of Him. He was a sinless, completely innocent, perfectly righteous Son of God, and they treated Him like He was the town drunk who was guilty of murder, theft, and child abuse.

I read this, and it brings anger to my heart, tears to my eyes. And yet Jesus took it. He allowed their mocking and their murdering.

Why did He do that? When you could have called twelve legions of angels to kill those responsible and take Him back to glory. No, He died so that we could live. Lord, help us to listen with our hearts today so that the cross will humble us and draw us to you. For it is in the precious name of Jesus that we pray.

Amen. The time has come for the Savior to die. In Galatians chapter 4 verse 4, Paul said that Jesus came and then died in the fullness of time. In Revelation chapter 13 verse 8, Paul said, or John said, that Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the earth. In Genesis chapter 3, 15, we have a verse that the theologians call the proto euangelion, which means the first gospel. And God spoke to the serpent, who is Satan, and said this to him, I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed.

You will bruise his heel, but he will crush your head. In other words, the death of Jesus was no accident. It was a preordained plan of God conceived in the mind of God before the foundation of the earth, before the earth was created. Before there was a sun, before there was a moon, before there were stars, before there was the earth, before Adam and Eve were created, Jesus Christ was stepping up off the throne and he was headed for the cross. Folks, we need to understand that this was a covenant that took place before the foundation of the earth, between the three persons of the Trinity called the covenant of redemption. And in that covenant, God the Father made the commitment that he would decree those who would be saved.

God the Son agreed to accomplish their salvation by his death on the cross, and God the Holy Spirit agreed to take the blood of Christ, apply it to the hearts of those that God had decreed to be saved, and draw them to the Father. Jesus said, no man takes my life from me, I lay down my life of the sheep. So, don't ever believe the lies of the liberal theologians who want to tell us that Jesus was a poor victim of circumstance, that his death was an example of love, and it was an example for us to follow, an example of being a role model for us, that this is how we ought to live, but that's all that Jesus was. He was a great teacher, and he was a great role model to follow.

No, no, no. Folks, the death of Jesus Christ was the plan of God for our redemption. Jesus did not die to be our example and our role model, Jesus died to be our savior.

Now, let me share with you four reasons that Jesus died. Number one, he died in order that he might be our substitutionary atonement. He died in our place. He died to be our substitute.

Theologians call this a double imputation. He took our sin and gave us his righteousness. He took our misery and gave us his joy. He took our hell and gave us his heaven. Secondly, he died in order that he might be our propitiation. The word propitiation means appeasing the wrath of God.

What could appease the wrath of God? Only one thing, and that is the innocent, perfectly sinless and righteous, shed blood of Jesus Christ. Thirdly, Jesus died in order to be our reconciliation. You see, our sin made a barrier between us and God. And the blood of Jesus broke that barrier down and broke that barrier down in such a way as it took the enmity of God from him toward us and the enmity that we had toward God from us. And that was a glorious, wonderful thing.

He reconciled us together as friends. And then thirdly, Jesus died as a redemption. We were slaves in the slave market of sin, and Jesus' blood bought us out of that slave market and brought us to the point where we could love him and serve him.

So please, don't look at the crucifixion of Christ as a murder of a helpless victim. View it as a preordained covenantal plan of God that was signed, sealed, and delivered by the blood of Jesus. Folks, that's where we're headed to today's passage. We are headed toward the cross, and we see today that all the things that were necessary before he could go to the cross, all these things have taken place. Judas, the betrayer, has given Jesus the kiss of betrayal. And then the priest, headed by Caiaphas, the high priest, have orchestrated the illegal trial. And then the governor had rendered this unjust verdict.

So, what's next? I've got four points that I want to share with you today, and the point one is the scourging. Look at Mark 15, 15. So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. A few weeks ago, I mentioned Mel Gibson's movie, The Passion of the Christ, and one of the great things about that movie is that it helps us to understand the barbaric nature of the scourging. I think most of us, do we think about scourging?

Well, he got whipped a little bit. That's not it. It's much, much, much, much worse. And I shared with you a few weeks ago Chuck Swindoll's comments about scourging. I want to get a little bit deeper with Stephen Manfield's comments from his book, Killing Jesus. Listen carefully. The work of scourging is done by a lictor. He has been carefully trained. There's an art to this, for the Roman scourge is more than a matter of blunt force and rage. It is a matter of expert use of the flagellum, one of the most effective instruments of torture ever devised. Simple, ingenious, and cruel, this flagellum is a ring of iron or wood to which leather straps are attached. What makes this flagellum so horrific are the bits of sheep, bone, rock, or steel knotted into each leather strand. Jesus' hands are tied so that he is just able to stand on his own. Then comes the first strike of the flagellum.

It is devastating. The lictor does not slap the leather against his victim. Instead, it swings the flagellum so as to partially wrap its straps around the victim's torso. Then once the jagged bits in the leather have bitten into the flesh, the lictor yanks the flagellum in reverse. Skin tears, blood gushes, pieces of muscle and sinew, even chips of bone fly into the air. The body is torn apart.

This is the purpose of scourging, to break a man, to shred him, to make him less than whole. With the second strike, Jesus can no longer stand. He is hanging from his hands, too stunned and weak to find his feet. The strikes come more rapidly. He does not have time to think. His mind blurs. Each knotted strap is like a gnarled claw ripping away fistfuls of flesh.

A red spray hazes the air. Dozens of tiny pieces of the prisoner are flung about the floor. The lictor himself is sheathed, shiny and wet in the victim's blood. It is a badge of honor within his trade. After dozens of strikes, Jesus' back, arms, chest, buttocks and upper legs are shredded.

They look as though they have just been plowed. Strips of flesh hang loosely, barely attached at one end. The Jews insist upon limits to such tortures. Their law forbids more than 40 lashes. The priest allowed no more than 39 lashes in case the lictor miscounts.

None of this matters now. It is the Romans who are scourging Jesus, and they have no such scruples. They scourge until the victim passes out. Then they splash the offender with water and wait for him to revive. When he does, they scourge him more.

It is why this is called almost death. The lictors are proud of their trade and observe exacting standards. The soldier who look on appreciate the bloody distraction, they know nothing of craft and standards and art.

They enjoy the sport and the gore. I know that's hard to listen to, but we need to understand the suffering that Jesus went through. And we also need to understand that as bad as that physical suffering was, it was not anything compared to the spiritual suffering that Jesus endured. Point two, the soldier's scandalous salute. Verse 16 through 20. And the soldiers led him away into the palace, that is the governor's headquarters, and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him.

Hail, king of the Jews! They were striking his head with the reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. When they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, put his own clothes on him, and then led him out to crucify him. Pilate had tried everything that he could to get out of having to deal with Jesus. His wife had jumped all over him and said, Pilate had nothing to do with this just man, for I've had a dream last night about him.

And if you harm Jesus in any way, there are going to be dire consequences. When Pilate heard that Herod Antipas was in town, he decided to go a different route. Jesus was from Galilee, that was Herod's jurisdiction. And so he was going to send Jesus to Herod, and he did.

He said, I'll let him deal with him. He got to Herod, and Herod couldn't find any charge against him either. So the scripture says that Herod tormented him, mocked him, and sent him back to Pilate. So here's Pilate back at the Praetorium, the palace, and he's there with a whole cohort of soldiers. Pilate then has Jesus scourged. Then the soldiers bring Jesus back to stand before Pilate, or probably kneel before him with all the horrible scourging that he has been through. The blood is just gushing forth out of his back. His back is steaming like fire. His face is beaten beyond recognition where they have beaten, soldiers have beaten him in the face.

And his eyes are almost closed where he can see almost nothing that's going on. The scripture says that there was a cohort or a battalion of soldiers there. That means at least 600 soldiers. And they decide to do what the soldiers of Herod did to Jesus. They mocked him, and they made fun of him. They tried in all their heart to make him look helpless and foolish and weak. Then they said, oh, you're a king, are you?

Then let's help you to look like a king. They took a mock purple robe, and they put it around his shoulders. And then they put a stick in his hand, and they crushed his crown of thorns down on his head until the blood just rolled down his face.

John MacArthur did a powerful job in describing the wickedness of the soldiers, and he said this. After twisting a crown of sharp thorns intended to imitate the golden laurel wreath worn by Caesar, they put it on his head with crushing force, lacerating his skull and causing blood to flow down his brow into his face. Matthew adds that in dressing him up like a king in their little comedy, they put a reed in his hand to imitate a scepter, and then they knelt down before him and mocked him. To complete their sadistic joke, the soldiers began to acclaim him.

Hail, king of the Jews! The Sanhedrin had scorned him as a prophet. Just a few hours earlier, now Roman soldiers taunted him as a joker king. Mercilessly, they kept beating his head with a reed.

The Greek word kalamos refers to a stick. And spitting on him and kneeling and bowing before him. In Mark 10, 34, Jesus had predicted that the Messiah would be treated this way. They will mock him and spit on him and scourge him and kill him. And three days later, he will rise again. That prediction was in accordance with the Old Testament prophecy. Speaking of the suffering servant, Isaiah records, I gave my back to those who strike me and my cheeks to those who pluck out the beard.

I did not cover my face from humiliation and spitting. After the soldiers' humiliation of Jesus, they took Jesus before Pilate again. Pilate is nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. And he essentially says to the Jewish religious leaders, he's been punished. Let's just let him go after this. The Jewish religious leaders say, no, no, no. He has blasphemed God, that's a capital offense, and he must be killed. Pilate feels the pressure and he walks back over to where Jesus is. And in John's gospel, we find out what happened.

John 19. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, where are you from? Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, you will not speak to me? Do you know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you? Jesus answered him, you would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore, he has delivered me over to you as the greater sin. From then on, Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, if you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar. Why was Pilate so nervous?

I think three main reasons. Number one, his wife was just throwing an absolute fit and he had to listen to that and he wondered if his wife was right, if this dream was real. And then number two, the fact that Jesus was not denying that he was God, even though he had been scourged, all this pain he had gone through, he still was not denying that he was God. That scared Pilate to death. And then thirdly, he had been in this one argument already with the Jewish people. He knows if he gets in another argument again and things get worse, he could lose his job, maybe just lose his political position and have to retire.

He doesn't want to do that. And so he buckled under the pressure. Finally, Pilate says, I wash my hands of all this.

He says, I'm not going to take the blame for this. He said, his blood is on your hands. Mark 15, 20 says, and when they had mocked him, they stripped him of his purple cloak, put his own clothes on him, they led him out to crucify him. That takes us to point three.

And point three is Simon of Cyrene. Verse 21, and they compelled a pastor by Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. After Jesus has gone through the scourging, he's lost so much blood, he's totally dehydrated, he's struggling to walk, and now they are going to put the cross on him, and that's going to make it extremely difficult. He has that cross on his back, he takes a few steps and he falls down. He gets up, he takes a few more steps, and he falls down again.

The soldiers are tired of having to deal with all this. They want this ordeal to be over with, so one of the soldiers turns around to the crowd. He sees this strong-looking black man, and he points at him and he says, hey you, come over here, and I want you to carry this cross. Now, this black man's name is Simon of Cyrene. He is a Jewish proselyte from Cyrene, which is in East Africa. They were there for the Passover Festival.

I think his whole family was probably with him. And Simon certainly does not want to have to carry the cross of some condemned criminal, so he tries to break away. But the soldier stops him and holds his whip out and says, you will do it and you will do it right now. He has no recourse but to carry the cross. He goes over, he takes the cross, he puts it up on his shoulder, he starts to walk and all of a sudden he feels something wet on the side of his face. He reaches up to feel it, thinking it's his own sweat, but it's not his sweat.

It was the blood of Jesus that was on the cross. And he reaches it and he just looks at it and wonders. And then all of a sudden as he's doing that, he hears the women who are mourning and lamenting over Jesus.

And he thinks to himself, something wrong here. This man is not a criminal. This man is different. He's not cursing his fate. He is not spitting at the soldiers. He's encouraging his followers.

This man is godly. This passage here in Mark, we find out that Simon has a family. We are told that he has two sons, Alexander and Rufus. In all probability, they are there with him to celebrate the Passover. And they are absolutely shocked to see what Simon of Cyrene, their dad, is having to do. He's having to carry that cross. They get to Calvary. They get right to the point where Jesus is going to be crucified. And Simon of Cyrene drops the cross down. And I can imagine Jesus looking at him and perhaps nodding in deep appreciation of what he has done.

Simon walks away, not bitter, not resentful, not mad, but I think maybe feeling privileged, feeling privileged and moved in his heart. After Jesus was crucified, they took his body, dead body, and laid it in the tomb. Three days later, something happened. Jesus was resurrected from the dead. And all of a sudden, there were all these rumors that were going out that Jesus has raised from the dead and his body is nowhere to be found. And Simon wonders, is that true?

Has Jesus really risen from the dead? Most of the people who had traveled to Jerusalem for the Passover festival, they usually stayed there all the way through the day of Pentecost. And Simon was all the way from Cyrene in Eastern Europe, I mean Eastern Africa, and I have to believe that he and his family stayed there. And perhaps, and I think they probably did, they were there to hear Peter preach. And Peter preached and the other disciples were preaching and they heard the language of the gospel in their own language. Languages that these disciples did not even know. And they heard the message. Now in Acts chapter 2, when the people started hearing the apostles speaking in languages that they did not know, we have a very interesting comment about who's there. I want you to listen to this, Acts 2, 7 through 10. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

And how is it that we hear each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome. People from Cyrene were there as Peter preached that day.

I believe that Simon of Cyrene was there and that he, his sons, and his wife were there with him. When he heard Peter preach Christ, the Spirit of God began to move in his heart. He began to feel very convicted of his sins.

And then all these things that he'd read about the Messiah through his life, all these things he began to see had come to pass in Jesus. Isaiah said what? Isaiah said he was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquity. The chastisement of our peace was upon him. And by his stripes, we are healed. He had touched the blood, the physical blood of Jesus, and he had touched it with his own hand and his own face.

He had recoiled at the idea of carrying the cross. But now, now he realizes that there could be no greater privilege or honor than that. He now believes that death could not hold the sinless Christ, that he did actually rise from the dead. And then he heard Peter preach. After he preached of who Jesus was, explaining the purpose of the crucifixion and the purpose of the resurrection, he said, now repent and believe. And I believe it was at that time that Simon of Cyrene did repent and did believe. And when his children and his wife saw the passion that Simon had in his heart for Christ, they too repented and believed, and then they were baptized. Now, is that exactly how it happened?

I don't know for sure. I think I pieced it together pretty close to what actually happened. This I know happened. Simon came to know Christ as his Lord and Savior. And his wife and his two sons also came to Christ, to know Christ as their Lord and as their Savior.

We also know that they moved from Cyrene in Eastern Africa all the way up to Italy, and they moved to Rome, which is the capital of the Roman Empire. Mark wrote his gospel to who, remember? He wrote it to the Romans. And folks, Mark is the only one who mentions the two sons, Alexander and Rufus.

Mark wrote his gospel about 30 years after the crucifixion of Christ, and wrote it after that. By this time, Simon had died. But Mark identifies Simon by giving the names of his two sons, Alexander and Rufus.

And guess what? All the Christians in Rome knew Alexander and Rufus, and they knew them very, very well. Now, when Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans, in Mark chapter 16 and verse 13, Paul said this, By this time, Alexander, Rufus' brother, Simon's son, had died. He died as a martyr. He died as a martyr, and his life had been taken because he was a missionary for Christ.

Rufus is still living. So Paul addresses Rufus, says, What a glorious story. The man who carried the cross of Jesus, who did not want to, but was compelled against his will, was gloriously saved, and he watches his wife and sons becoming flaming witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ.

Folks, I don't know about you, but that rings my bell. Simon was a black man from Africa. He became a charter member of the Church of Jesus Christ.

His family became dear friends of the Apostle Paul. You know what that tells me? It tells me that the answer of the problem of racism is not politics.

It's not legislation. It's Jesus. Jesus is the answer to the problem of race relations. Jesus breaks through the barriers. In Jesus, there is no black and white.

Jesus breaks down all the walls. If you call yourself a Christian, and you hate a man or a woman because of the color of their skin, then you need to repent, and you need to repent quickly, because in heaven, there will be genuine diversity, not fake, not contrived, not politicized, but God-ordained, heaven-anointed diversity. People from every kindred, tongue, and nation will be there. And folks, let me tell you what won't matter. Ethnicity won't matter. Social status won't matter. Financial status won't matter. Your culture won't matter. None of that will matter. Skin color won't matter. Let me tell you what will matter. Does your heart burn for Jesus Christ? In heaven, that's what matters. And I believe that Simon and his family are examples for us to follow.

All right, point four. The skull called Gogotha, verse 22. They brought him to the place called Gogotha, which means place of the skull. When Luke wrote his gospel, he added some detail that I believe is important. Luke 23, 27 through 31. And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. But turning to them, Jesus said, Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed. Then they will begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us, and to the hills, cover us.

For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it's dry? So as these female mourners were lamenting and they were crying out, Jesus uses this as an opportunity to prophesy the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. When Titus of Rome would come into Jerusalem, he would destroy the city, every stone would be, no stone would be left unturned, and he would kill 1.1 million Jews. Jesus tells these women, these mourners, and he tells the soldiers, and he tells the Jewish religious leaders that, Don't cry for me, he says.

Cry for yourself, but don't cry for me. For Israel is going to experience judgment for their rejection of me as their Messiah. That's what Jesus is saying.

He said, you need to get ready for this to happen because it's going to happen. And in 70 A.D., it did exactly as Jesus said that it would, horribly and powerfully, what he prophesied came to pass. When they finally get to their destination, it was called Golgotha. In the Latin, it's called calvaria, which we get Calvary from. It's called the place of the skull. I shared with you a few weeks ago that when David killed Goliath, he chopped his head off with a sword after killing him with a slingshot, and then he took his head, his skull, all the way to a place called Jebus, and there he buried that skull.

Jebus was later given a new name, and that name was Jerusalem. And the place where the skull of Goliath was buried is the place where Jesus was executed. The place that Jesus is executed today, you can look at it, it still looks like a skull. Hundreds, perhaps thousands of people had already been crucified there.

I want to close with this picture. The soldier says to Simon of Cyrene, stop and drop the cross. The cross falls to the ground, and they take Jesus, they lay him on the ground to nail him to that cross. I don't know if Jesus just kind of nodded at him in appreciation, or if he maybe said to him, thank you for what you have done. Whatever, Simon steps away, and the crucifixion begins. I don't know how much Simon understood at this point in time, but I have a feeling that for the rest of his life, he got up every single morning, and he thanked God for the privilege of carrying the cross of Christ on his back. I wonder how often he said to himself, his blood that stained my beard, and his blood that stained my clothes, has now washed away every sin that I was guilty of. I wonder if he said, thank you, Jesus, for dying for me and saving my undeserving soul.

Let's pray. Heavenly Father, my prayer is that this passage would help us to love Jesus more, but we were also introduced to the man who carried his cross. Father, I love the story of Simon of Cyrene. He didn't want the responsibility of carrying a blood-stained instrument of execution, but once he realized who Jesus was, carrying the cross was his greatest privilege. Father, Jesus commanded us to take up his cross daily. May we do it with the joy that Simon had after realizing who Jesus really was. We love you, Lord. Thank you for loving us. It is in the precious and holy name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-05-07 14:35:33 / 2023-05-07 14:48:24 / 13

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