Suggested further reading: 2 Corinthians 11:23-29
A mock royal robe was thrown over our Lord's shoulders in
order to show how ridiculous and contemptible was the idea of
his kingdom. The colour `purple' was doubtless meant to be a
derisive imitation of the well-known imperial purple, the colour worn
by emperors and kings. Some have thought that this robe was only
an old soldier's cape, such as a guardhouse would easily furnish.
Some, with more show of probability, have thought that this `robe'
must be the `gorgeous robe' which Herod put on our Lord, mentioned
by St Luke when he sent him back to Pilate (Luke 23:11), a
circumstance which John has not recorded. In any case we need not
doubt that the `robe' was some shabby, cast-off garment. It is
worth remembering that this brilliant colour, scarlet or purple, would
make our blessed Lord a most conspicuous object to every eye, when
he was led through the streets from Herod, or brought forth
from Pilate's house to the assembled multitude of Jews. Once more
we should call to mind the symbolical nature of this transaction
also. Our Lord was clothed with a robe of shame and contempt, that
we might be clothed with a spotless garment of righteousness and
stand in white robes before the throne of God.
The words of the soldiers were spoken in contemptuous
imitation of the words addressed to a Roman emperor, on his
assuming imperial power: `Hail, Emperor! Ave
Imperator!' Let us not fail to remark at this point that ridicule, scorn and contempt were
one prominent portion of our blessed Master's sufferings. Anyone
who knows human nature must know that few things are more
difficult to bear than ridicule, especially when we know that it is
undeserved and when it is for religion's sake. Those who have to endure
such ridicule may take comfort in the thought that Christ can
sympathize with them, for it is a cup which he himself drank to the very
dregs. Here again he was our Substitute. He bore contempt that we
might receive praise and glory at the last day.
For meditation: `But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by
men and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they
hurl insults, shaking their heads: "He trusts in the Lord; let the
Lord rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in
him"' (Ps. 22:6-8).