November 11, 2013

Scripture and Commentary, Tuesday after the Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity

Morning – Psalm 68, Leviticus 19:26, Phil. 1:12-26
Evening – Psalm 67, 84, Dt. 13:1-11, Mt. 27:27-44

Commentary, Matthew 27:27-44

The death of Christ is accomplished by means of intense torture.  The scourge is a whip of many thongs, and many died under its lash alone.  Jesus is beaten with such severity He is unable to carry His cross (27:32).  After the scourging, the soldiers continue to beat Him with their hands.  But the soldiers do not beat Him to death.  They saved Him to suffer the additional torture of the cross.

According to Roman custom Jesus is paraded through the city. This is done to humiliate the victim and His people.  Normally the victim carried his cross, but Jesus is too weak to carry His.  Simon (27:32) is probably a Jew who came to Jerusalem for the Passover.  He is forced by the Romans to carry the cross for Jesus.

At Golgotha, they give our Lord a mixture of vinegar (spoiled wine) and myrr to drink.  The purpose of the drink is a subject of much speculation.  Myrr reportedly has the effect of reducing pain, and some have thought offering it to Christ is an act of kindness.  But reducing the pain for a while might have the effect of prolonging the suffering on the cross.  Therefore, it could be an additional act of cruelty.  Whatever the reason for offering it, Jesus refuses the drink.  He will not go to the cross in a medicated state.  He will be fully aware of His suffering.

The sign above His head (27:37) is the accusation, the reason for His crucifixion.  It is intended to insult the Jewish people, as though the Romans were saying, this is what we do to your Messiah, and you are powerless to stop it.  But the religious leaders are not insulted.  They are overjoyed at the plight of Jesus.  They revel in His suffering.  They even begin to mock Him, thinking to add to His pain (27:41).  Even one of the thieves reviles Him.  Truly it is as though all of humanity has turned against Him, and He is left to die alone. 

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