"Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace; and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him.
Then they led him out to crucify him."
They called together “the whole cohort.”
A group of people have come together to beat and mock a single man.
And the irony? These are the people he came to save. “For God so loved the world” – the whole world. When Jesus preached, he didn’t sort the crowd into those worth saving and those not. His message of love and grace was for everyone. It was a gift, freely offered.
These men are literally touching the messenger of love, and all they can feel is violence and vitriol.
They’re missing the whole point.
Most of us, if we were in Jesus’s position, would glare up at these men with anger glinting in our eyes, but not Jesus. Not long after this, in his dying moments, he’ll look at these same, hate-filled men and forgive them.
Right up 'til his final breath, Jesus is offering love.
Not just to those deemed worthy, but to everyone.
In this difficult season of pain, are we allowing anger or fear rule our hearts, to make our decisions for us? Because it’s tempting and understandable to do that. But what if we make a different choice? What if we follow the example of Jesus? What if, in this dark season, we choose to be light, God’s light?
Where are the moments when we could choose patience over frustration?
Where could we offer more gratitude to those caring for us?
And where are the people whom we might consider to be less than worthy of resources or protection?
How can we be generous with them in this season of scarcity?
In his greatest moment of suffering, Jesus responded with love.
Now, it’s our turn.
I shared this reflection as part of today's Good Friday Ecumenical Prayer Service,
here our hometown of St. Catharines.
You can find the full service HERE.