They abused and mocked Him; are we doing it today?
Matthew 26:67 -
Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted [punched] him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,
One thing we should note the New Testament does not give a detail account of the events leading to the Passion of Christ. It is only when we connect the Old Testament (especially the books of Moses, Psalms and Isaiah) to the New Testament records do we get the correct picture of the events that occurred during the Passion of Christ.
What we see in the picture Passion of Christ may seem gruesome but that too is not even 50 percent of what really happened. There was a preacher who had come from USA who had done deep study from historic Roman records on this matter and when he was preaching on this topic everyone was flabbergasted, but I wasn't because when I was studying the books of Moses the Lord has shown me through his books about an idea of what actually happened with Jesus i.e. most people think Jesus was arrested the day before He was taken before Pilate and crucified. In reality after Jesus was arrested at the Garden of Gethsemane He was kept in remand for 5 days (since He was the Passover Lamb) partly with the Jews and partly with the Romans. It was not only the Jews who whipped Him but even the Roman also whipped Him. The Jews gave Him 30 lashes and the Romans gave a 100 that too with a whip having 9 to 13 whips connected to one and having things like bone pieces, glass pieces and sharp metal pieces like nails tied to the ends of it. Each day they took Him from place to place and abused Him every day, all this time He did not say a word, for He had to fulfil scriptures and the promise of God.
In today's message Matthew records the Jewish officials spitting on Jesus's face and punching Him and others also joining them by slapping Jesus on His face.
One may think, of all the things Jesus endured which included parts of flesh torn out so deep that the bones were visible, why did Matthew record these little things?
Firstly God did not desire us to know all details of the suffering Jesus endured since the blood of the Pascal Lamb was put on the outer side of the door post, for God to see and man to be aware of and be protected by it.
The Lord wants us to be aware of something through this scripture; the people did not only abuse Him physically but tried to abuse His character. The face of a person represents the character or personality of the person. That is why the Bible shows the favour of God on someone by stating His Face shinning on that person.
Spitting on someone's face in Middle East culture shows the person as dirt, of no value, it is one of the greatest insults a person can give. Punching Jesus on the face by the Jewish officials showed their anger against who Jesus was. They could not tolerate the personality of Jesus and the things that He did which angered them all this time.
People may wonder what is slapping doing here compared to what Jesus went through. Even a thousand slaps were not equal to a single slash of the whip of the Romans. When the Romans whipped, the person who hit did with all his strength for if the victim died on his hit he would receive a great reward and 4 soldiers did this in pairs taking frequent turns in between.
When I was young I was quiet mischievous and did get a lot of punishment with the ruler, cane etc. from many people, but none of them had a great impact on my life as much as the couple of slaps that I received in my whole life.
The hitting face of a person with the palm of the hand is not a minor thing. It is equal to physical abusing the person's self-respect and causing a scare to that person's life. One can be hit any place on the body of the person but the face is slapped to not impact just a physical injury but also a psychological injury to that person. The physical injury will heal in a short time but the psychological injury may not heal for years.
These 3 factors the Jewish leaders and the Jewish people did to Jesus showed the depth of their hatred towards Him. Even today things have not changed; even today it is Israel-US diplomacy that keeps a real Jew from venting his real hatred towards Jesus. Ask a hard-core Rabbi what he feels about Jesus and he will say Jesus is in Hell in a pot of boiling oil paying for what He did.
The face of a person is the identity of the person as a name is.
In today's message the Lord is telling us what hurts Him more is not the physical abuse but the times we let His Name down or speak against His Name. Let us not be part of the mob that abused Jesus, but let us uphold the Name of Jesus by upholding His Character in us since we call ourselves His disciples. If we cannot make that effort, let us not call ourselves Christians.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, You suffered great for us when You became our sacrifice on the cross, but Lord even today many of us put You through suffering when we do not live our lives worthy to what we call ourselves. We call ourselves by your Name and we let your Name down when we live a worldly life a life void and against of your principles. Lord, we do not need a list of what is right and what is wrong for whatever that goes against your principles we know is wrong. As we come to know You more Lord give us the strength to walk in your path and not let your Name down...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference Scriptures ]
3 Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house:
4 And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it according to the number of the souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb.
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:
6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.
John 1:29 - The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.
Exodus 20:7 - Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
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