Today’s Reading: Matthew 27:15-31 (additional reading: Psalm 33:12-22 & Proverbs 9:1-6)
Today’s reading says, “They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him. ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ They spit on Him, and took the staff and struck Him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him away to crucify Him.” The prophet Isaiah enlightens us with this description of our Lord’s battlefield wounds, “Just as there were many who were appalled at Him — His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness” (Isaiah 52:14).
The Word of God gives us numerous details of the “Battlefield Wounds of Christ” which were inflicted upon the Saviour. Someone once wrote: “Jesus came to rule in the hearts and souls of man, and the rebellion of man’s soul wounded Him. He came to rule the wills of His people and the resistance of self-will hurt Him. He came in righteousness to cast out unrighteousness and the wickedness of the world turned against Him.”
Though the Roman soldiers inflicted Him with a crown of thorns meant to cause pain, mockery and morbid enjoyment, God was allowing the proclamation of some powerful truths. Thorns were introduced with wilful sin and were part of the curse spoken by God, “Cursed is the ground because of you [Adam]… It will produce thorns and thistles for you…” (Genesis 3:18). Figuratively, thorns signify affliction, the adversities of the wicked and the evils that spring up in the heart to choke out truth (Numbers 33:55; Proverbs 22:5; Matthew 13:7). Jesus’ “crown” represented all our sin that He came to die for.
Another battlefield wound that was laid upon Jesus was flogging. Among the Romans it was customary to viciously whip a slave or criminal to cause even more excruciating pain for the victims about to be crucified. The power of sin puts a person into bondage and causes him to become a criminal before the eyes of God. All sins are acts of rebellion against God’s laws . Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin” (John 8:34). Sin is in the heart of every criminal and unsaved sinner. Therefore, Jesus was stripped and flogged, His body afflicted because of our sin.
A third battlefield wound that was laid upon Christ was crucifixion itself. On the cross Jesus saw two classes of people, those whose hearts will remain hard and those who would repent and call out to Him. He not only bore the physical pain, but also the entire torture and suffering that are the consequences of human cruelty. In Isaiah 53:6 we read that, “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.” Through the Battlefield Wounds of Christ we sinners are offered forgiveness.