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145. Mocked of the Soldiers
And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! Matthew 27:29
The shameful spectacle! What element of scorn is lacking!
Roman soldiers mocking a supposed rival of Caesar are sure to go to the utmost lengths in their derision.
Jesus himself is a victim so novel in his gentle weakness that they set no bounds to their scorn.
The spectacle is as cruel as it is derisive. Thorns and rough blows accentuate mockeries and scoffs.
Roman legionaries were the brutalized instruments of a race noted for its ignorance of all tenderness; they wrought cruelties with a singular zest, being most at home in amusements of the most cruel kind.
Let us go into the Hall of the Praetorian guard, and watch with our Lord in the hour of his mockery.
I. HERE LEARN A LESSON FOR YOUR HEART.
In the Lord of glory thus made the center of cruel scorn:
1. See what sin deserved. It is all laid on him.
2. See how low your Savior stooped for your sake.
- Ridicule for its folly. It should be despised for its mad rebellion against the omnipotent will of the great King.
- Scorn for its pretensions. How dared it propose to usurp dominion over hearts and lives which belonged alone to God?
- Shame for its audacity. It dared defy the Eternal to battle. Oh, wretched, braggart sin!
3. See how your Redeemer loved you.
- He is made the Substitute for foolish, sinful man; and is treated as such.
- He is scoffed at by soldiers of the meanest grade.
- He is made a puppet for men who play the fool.
He bears immeasurable contempt, bears in silence, bears to the bitter end; and all for love of his people.
4. See the grand facts behind the scorn.
5. See that you honor and love him in proportion to this shame and mockery.
- He is a King in very surety. They said, "Hail, King!" and he is indeed the King whom all shall hail.
- He is glorified by conquering earth's sorrow: he is crowned with thorns. What a glorious diadem! No other coronet ever betokened such a conquest.
- He rules by weakness: a reed is his scepter. What a glory to be able to reign, not by force of arms, but by patience and gentleness!
- He makes men bow the knee: real homage is his; he reigns, whether men will have it so or not.
- He is the true Monarch of the Jews. In him the dynasty of David endures for ever, and Israel has hope of glory.
II. HERE LEARN A LESSON FOR YOUR CONSCIENCE.
1. Jesus may still be mocked.
- Bernard used to say, "The more vile Christ hath made himself for us, the more dear he ought to be to us."
- Can you ever reach so great a height?
2. If guilty of mocking him, what shall you do?
- By deriding his people. "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?" Men mock the Master in the servant.
- By contemning his doctrine. Many do this who affect to admire his character. This is the peculiar sin of the present age.
- By resolves never fulfilled. Sinners vow, but never pay; confess faults, and cling to them. This is to insult the Lord.
- By beliefs never obeyed. It is common to pretend to a belief which never affects the life, mocking great truths by acting contrary to them.
- By professions never justified. May not many a church member be guilty of putting the Lord to an open shame in this fashion?
3. What shall you do in any case?
- Do not despair, but confess and lament your sin.
- Do not give all up for lost. Believe and live.
- Do not repeat the sad offense. Repent, and quit the crime.
- Do not abide in sullen silence. Honor him whom you once despised.
Ye sinners, destroy the sins which grieved your Savior!
Ye saints, defy all the contempt of the world for his sake!
Laments and Honors
- Crown him with love.
- Scepter him with obedience.
- Bow the knee of worship.
- Proclaim him King by your personal testimony.
Whither, O whither, dost thou stoop, O thou co-eternal Son of thine eternal Father? Whither dost thou abase thyself for me? I have sinned, and thou art punished; I have exalted myself, and thou art dejected; I have clad myself with shame, and thou art stripped; I have made myself naked, and thou art clothed with robes of dishonor; my head hath devised evil, and thine is pierced with thorns; I have smitten thee, and thou art smitten for me; I have dishonored thee, and thou, for my sake, art scorned; thou art made the sport of men, for me that have deserved to be insulted by devils! Bishop Hall
Christ's head hath sanctified all thorns; his back, all furrows; his hands, all nails; his side, all spears; his heart, all sorrows that can ever come to any of his children. Samuel Clark, in "The Saint's Nosegay"
Here we see our King receiving the best homage the world would give him. His robe was some old cloak of purple. Behold his crown, platted of thorns! His coronation is performed by a ribald soldiery. His scepter is a reed; his homage is given by the knee of scorn; his proclamation by the mouth of ridicule. How then can we expect honor for ourselves?
Let us never despise the weak, or scoff at brethren who may appear singular, or oppress any man of woman born. Haply we may be following the act of these Praetorians, and may be insulting saints more like to Jesus than we are ourselves. To be ridiculed may give us communion with the Lord Jesus, but to ridicule others will place us in fellowship with his persecutors. C. H. S.
During the last moments of a gracious lady, speech had left her; but she managed to articulate the word "Bring." Her friends, in ignorance of her meaning, offered her food, but she shook her head, and again repeated the word "Bring." They then offered her grapes, which she also declined, and, for the third time uttered the word "Bring." Thinking she desired to see some absent friends, they brought them to her: but again she shook her head; and then, by a great effort, she succeeded in completing the sentence.
"Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all;"
and then passed away to be with Jesus.
Charles Hadden Spurgeon
146. All Hail!
And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him. (10) Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid; go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me. Matthew 28:9-10
ALL that concerns our Lord after his resurrection is calm and happy. A French writer calls the forty days on earth, "the life of Jesus Christ in glory": truly it was glory as full as earth could then bear. His tomb was empty, and consequently the disciples' grieves would have been over had they fully understood what that vacant grave meant.
Then was their choicest time for living fellowship with their risen Lord, and he did not fail to grant them the privilege on many memorable occasions. Since our Lord is risen, we also may have happy communion with him. These are days in which we may expect him to manifest himself to us spiritually, as he did for forty days to the disciples corporeally.
Let us not be satisfied unless it is often said of us, "Jesus met them."
I. IN THE WAY OF SERVICE JESUS MEETS US. "As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them."
1. He may come at other times, as he did to those who visited the sepulcher, to those walking out to Emmaus, to others fishing, and to the eleven assembled for mutual consolation.
2. He is likeliest to come when we are doing his work, since
3. But come when Jesus may, it will be a blessed visitation, worthy to be prefaced by a "Behold!" Oh, that he would come now!
II. WHEN JESUS MEETS US, HE HAS EVER A GOOD WORD FOR US.
The fittest motto for resurrection fellowship is "All hail!"
- We are then most awake, and most able to see him.
- We are then in special need of him.
- We are then most in accord with him.
1. A word of salutation. He is not ashamed to call us brethren, and welcome us with "All hail!"
III. WHEN JESUS MEETS US, IT BECOMES US TO AROUSE OURSELVES.
We ought at such times to be like the disciples, who were
2. A word of benediction. He wishes us well, and expresses his hearty, sacred desire by the words "All hail!"
3. A word of gratulation. He was glad to see these women, he gave them glad tidings, he bade them be glad, he made them glad, he was glad with them, saying, "All hail!"
4. A word of pacification. He afterwards said, "Be not afraid"; but this was virtually contained in his "All hail!" His presence can never mean us harm; it ever works us health.
1. All alive with hopeful energy. "They came. " In eager haste they drew near to him. What life it would put into preachers and hearers if the Lord Jesus would manifestly appear unto them! Dullness flees when Jesus is seen.
2. All aglow with happy excitement. They held him by the feet, hardly knowing what they did, but enraptured with the sight of him.
3. All ardent with reverent love. They "worshipped him." What heartiness they threw into that lowly adoration!
4. All amazed at his glory. They were prostrate, and began to fear.
5. All afraid lest they should lose their bliss. They grasped him, and held him by the feet.
IV. FROM SUCH A MEETING WE SHOULD GO ON A FURTHER ERRAND.
1. We must not plead spiritual absorption as an excuse for inactivity, but we must "go" at our Lord's bidding.
2. We must seek the good of others because of their relation to our Lord. He says, "tell my brethren."
3. We must communicate what our Lord has imparted "go tell."
4. We must encourage our brethren by the assurance that joy similar to ours awaits them "there shall they see me." Thus shall we best realize and retain the choice benefits of intercourse with the Lord. Not only for ourselves, but mainly for the benefit of others, are we to behold our Lord.
Let us go to holy work hoping to meet Jesus as we go.
Let us go to more holy work when we have met him.
Let us labor to "abide in him," looking for his promised appearing and exhorting others to do the same.
It is said that a venturesome diplomatist once asked the Emperor Nicholas who was the most distinguished of His Majesty's subjects. According to report, the Czar replied that the most distinguished Russian was he whomsoever the Emperor honored by speaking to him. Royal vanity dictated that reply, but we speak "words of truth and soberness" when we say that the most distinguished of men is he whom the Lord of hosts honors by admitting to communion with himself. "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth."
In vain thou strugglest to act free,
I never will unloose my hold;
Art thou the Man that died for me?
The secret of Thy love unfold.
Wrestling, I will not let thee go,
Till I Thy name, Thy nature know.
There is a striking legend illustrating the blessedness of performing our duty at whatever cost to our own inclination. A monk had seen a beautiful vision of our Savior, and in silent bliss he was gazing upon it. The hour arrived at which it was his duty to feed the poor at the convent gate. He would fain have lingered in his cell to enjoy the vision; but, under a sense of duty, he tore himself away from it to perform his humble service. When he returned, he found the blessed vision still waiting for him, and heard a voice, saying, "Hadst thou staid, I would have gone. As thou hast gone, I have remained."
It is a blessed thing to go forth with the Master's message after having seen him; it is delightful to meet him on the way when we are going to tell his disciples; and it is inexpressibly pleasant to find him in the assembly bearing witness with us. To go from the Lord, for the Lord, with the Lord is such an agreeable combination that it cannot be described, but must be personally experienced. The Lord Jesus is by no means niggardly in his converse with his people: he meets us as often as we are fit to be met, and oftener; and he uses such familiarities as could never have been expected had they not been already enjoyed. Who would have dreamed of his saying "All hail!" if he had not himself selected the term? C. H. S.
A good theme might be found in the words of the message recorded in our text. Jesus prepares his messengers by saying "Be not afraid." Those who bear tidings for him should be calm and happy. He calls his disciples by a sweet name "my brethren"; invites them to meet him; appoints a well-known trysting-place; and promises to be there. Whatever else they had begun to do, they must make this their chief business, to be at Galilee to commune with him, to put themselves at his disposal, and to receive his commission. C. H. S.
Charles Hadden Spurgeon
147. Hearing with Heed
And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. Mark 4:24
IN these days we have many instructions as to preaching; but our Lord principally gave directions as to hearing. The art of attention is as difficult as that of homiletics.
The text may be viewed as a note of discrimination. Hear the truth, and the truth only. Be not indifferent as to your spiritual meat, but use discernment (John 4:1; Job 12:2).
We shall use it as a note of arousing. When you do hear the truth, give it such attention as it deserves. Give good heed to it.
I. HERE IS A PRECEPT. "Take heed what ye hear."
The previous verse is, "If any man have ears to hear, let him hear;" that isuse your ears well and to the best purpose.
1. Hear with discrimination, shunning false doctrine(John 10:5).
2. Hear with attention; really and earnestly hearing (Matt. 13:23).
3. Hear for yourself, with personal application (I Sam. 3:9).
4. Hear retentively, endeavoring to remember the truth.
5. Hear desiringly, praying that the Word may be blessed to you.
6. Hear practically, obeying the exhortation which has come to you.
This hearing is to be given, not to a favorite set of doctrines, but to the whole of the Word of God (Ps. 119:128).
II. HERE IS A PROVERB. "With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you."
In proportion as you give yourself to hearing, you shall gain by hearing.
This is practically illustrated in the result of preaching.
1. Those who have no interest in the Word find it uninteresting.
2. Those who desire to find fault find faults enough.
3. Those who seek solid truth learn it from any faithful ministry.
4. Those who hunger find food.
5. Those who bring faith receive assurance.
6. Those who come joyfully are made glad. But no man finds blessing by hearing error.
Nor by careless, forgetful, caviling hearing of the truth.
III. HERE IS A PROMISE. "Unto you that hear shall more be given;" You that hear shall have
1. More desire to hear.
2. More understanding of what you hear.
3. More convincement of the truth of what you hear.
4. More personal possession of the blessings of which you hear.
5. More delight while hearing the glorious gospel.
6. More practical benefit there from.
God giveth more to those who value what they have.
For practical application let us say
Hear. It is your wisdom to know what God says.
Hear well. God's teaching deserves the deepest attention. It will repay the best consideration.
Hear often. Waste no Sabbath, nor any one of its services. Use weekday lectures and prayer meetings.
Hear better. You will grow the holier thereby. You will find heavenly joy by hearing with faith.
What care I to see a man run after a sermon if he cozens and cheats as soon as he comes home? John Selden
A heart-memory is better than a mere head-memory. It were better to carry away a little of the life of God in our souls than if we were able to repeat every word of every sermon we ever heard. De Sales
Ebenezer Blackwell was a rich banker, a zealous Methodist, and a great friend of the Wesleys. "Are you going to hear Mr. Wesley preach?" said one to Mr. Blackwell. "No," he answered, "I am going to hear God; I listen to him, whoever preaches; otherwise I lose all my labor."
Once-a-day hearers, represented by a Perthshire landlord, were pithily rebuked by Mr. Walker, the minister of Muthill. The landowner, meeting the minister on Monday, explained to him that he had not been hearing him at the second service on the previous day, as he could not digest more than one sermon. "I rather think," said Mr. Walker, "the appetite is at fault rather than the digestion."
Alas, the place of hearing is the place of sleeping with many a fine professor! I have often observed that those that keep shops can briskly attend upon a twopenny customer, but when they come themselves to God's market, they spend their time too much in letting their thoughts wander from God's commandments, or in a nasty, drowsy way. The head, also, and hearts of most hearers, are to the Word as the sieve is to water: they can hold no sermons, remember no texts, bring home no proofs, produce none of the sermon to the edification and profit of others. John Bunyan
Some can be content to hear all pleasant things, as the promises and mercies of God; but judgments and reproofs, threats and checks, these they cannot brook; like unto those who, in medicine, care only for a pleasant smell or appearance in the remedy, as pills rolled in gold, but have no regard for the efficacy of the physic. Some can willingly hear that which concerns other men and their sins, their lives and manners, but nothing touching themselves or their own sins; as men can willingly abide to hear of other men's deaths, but cannot abide to think of their own. Richard Stock
If verse 23 exhorts us to hear, verse 24 exhorts us to look to that which we do hear, and use it rightly. "Take heed what ye heart" means "Look after it as you would look after money that you have received." Learning a truth is not the end, but the beginning. After it is learnt, it is to be applied, kept, obeyed. And it would appear from the next sentence that, unless it is shared with others, we can neither get it nor keep it for ourselves. "With what measure ye mete, (understand, 'mete out your light;') it shall be measured unto you: and more shall be given unto you" (Revised Version). To learn the truth of God you need to listen, but you need to tell it to another as well. The meaning of this passage is brought out in the words of the old Rabbi: "Much have I learnt from my tutors; more from my companions; but most of all from my pupils:" The more light you give another, the more you get yourself. You get a better grip of truth by pondering it with the wish to impart it. The love, which imparts what you have, opens your heart to receive something still higher. It is true, not only in regard to money, but to knowledge, and all power of help, that "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that with-holdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty." He is a dull teacher that does not learn by all he teaches. Rejoice in your work; it is worth doing well, for it is the best way of learning. Richard Glover
Charles Hadden Spurgeon