Evening Reading for October 24

John 19:1-4
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).

These readings (ISBN: 0 85234 420 1) are copyrighted and made available with permission by
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