A week from today we will be celebrating the resurrection of our Lord. Today, those of us who are reading through The Cross He Bore by Frederick Leahy are focusing on the mockery he first endured on his way to the cross. The text is from Matthew 26:67,68: “They spit in his face, and struck him. And some slapped him, saying, ‘Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who is it that struck you?’.
I will share just a brief quote from this chapter:
How terrible was that mockery of Christ by the Sanhedrin! How godless! Had Christ not been thrust outside the sphere of the law, such contempt and unbridled abuse would have been impossible. If his judges had been sincere in their assessment of the prisoner, and in the verdict they reached, and if they had feared God, they would have delivered the accused to Satan that he might learn not to blaspheme (1 Tim. 1:20). That would have been a lawful and loving act, but the Sanhedrin had no regard for either justice or love. Lawlessness and hatred are boon companions. And so the Saviour was treated as an arch-liar, a worm to be trampled under foot, someone to be put for ever without the domain of law. For the one who had God’s law in his heart and who delighted to do God’s will, to be thus ejected from the sphere of justice meant intense suffering of spirit, for him an agony that far surpassed the pain inflicted by physical abuse. And so those prophetic words were fulfilled: “I am a worm, and am not a man” (Psalm 22:6). “He was despised, and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).
So suffered our divine Substitute. Worse was to come. As sinners we earned the punishment of hell–and there, too, God’s law was established–but the Lord Jesus took our place willingly and lovingly and endured the mockery and defiance that Satan would have hurled at us in hell. “With his stripes we are healed.”