John 19:1 – 3 Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they struck him in the face.
Why did they hate Jesus so much? Wasn’t it enough that they were going to crucify Him? Why did they have to torture Him and mock Him and humiliate Him?
It just doesn’t make any sense. Jesus hadn’t done anything to them, except love them. He had healed their sick bodies and their sick spirits. He had offered them hope.
Why were they so cruel?
I don’t know the answer to that question. I do know that people can still be just as hateful and cruel. Without Christ, our spirits are black.
That is why hate crimes occur today. It is why people are singled out and mocked and humiliated and injured and even killed.
It is why we abuse people with our words, hurting them with our gossip and slander – even if they have never done anything against us.
It is even why the kids on the playground will gang up against the crybaby, or the nerd, or the kid who is different.
Those things have little to do with the victim, and everything to do with the villains. People are just mean. Our hearts are sinful, and without God’s intervention, we are without hope.
This morning in children’s church, my friend Linda and I taught the children the following song, taken straight from scripture:
Beloved, let us love one another,
For love is of God, and everyone who loves is born of God
and knows God
He who doesn’t love does not know God
for God is love.
Beloved, let us love one another.
1 John 4:7 – 8
Those words, penned by John later in his life, give us the reasons for the cruelty surrounding Jesus’ death. He who doesn’t love does not know God, for God is love.
Those people were cruel because they had to be. They had hate in their hearts, not love. The only way for them to have love in their hearts was to have God in their hearts.
And the only way we could have a right relationship with God was . . . well, for someone to pay the price for our sins, for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).
It hurts to read about what happened to my Lord. It hurts because I love Him, and I don’t want to picture Him being treated that way. But it hurts even more because I know that without Him, I am no different or better than His torturers.
Thank you, Jesus, for paying such a high price so that I could experience real love in my life. Forgive me for the times I’ve failed to show love. I want to love like You love.