The Soldiers Mock Jesus

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. 28 And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. 29 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!” 30 Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified. – Matthew 27:27-31.

Summary

The mocking soldiers of the whole garrison in the Praetorium strip Jesus, clothe Him in a scarlet robe, put a twisted crown of thorns on His head, and a reed in His hand. The bullies then give Him mock praise, spit on Him, take the reed, and hit Him on the head. They then put back His own clothes and take Him to be crucified. All this is suffered by the spotless Son of God, who humbly accepts this ignominy and shame, though He has the inherent power to destroy His oppressors at a word.

Analysis

“Praetorium” (v.27) — The governor’s headquarters. This was located in the Fortress Antonio or at Herod’s palace which became the Roman governor’s residence when in Jerusalem. Some have surmised that it was the site of the soldiers’ barracks.

“whole garrison” — This was about 600 men, but in reality, only some of them were on duty at one time.

“scarlet robe” (v.28) — This word comes from an insect which was used to dye clothes dark red. Mark 15:17 and John 19:2 have “purple.” This was probably a faded Roman officer’s red cloak. Purple was the color of royalty. The early church saw this as symbolic of Jesus’ kingly position (as they did the crown of thorns). The ancients were not as precise in naming colors as moderns.

Vv.29-30 — The soldiers take out their hostility toward the Jewish population on Jesus in their kingly mockery of Him. The “crown of thorns” may allude to (1) mocking Jesus’ claim to kingship or (2) the curse of Genesis 3:18 (cf. Galatians 3:13). Thorns are a symbol of rejecting the gospel (cf. Hebrews 6:8).

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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