The Glorious Victory of Forgiveness

Mark portrays Christ’s crucifixion alluding to the triumphal procession of a Roman Emperor. Mark’s narrative begins with the Roman soldiers leading Jesus into “the courtyard of the palace.” The word Mark uses to refer to this place is praetorium, which could apply to military headquarters in king but was also the common designation in Rome for the place and personnel of the imperial guard. The praetorian guard was present on the occasion of a triumph. Mark then tells us that “they called together the whole cohort/battalion.” It would be extremely odd for the entire soldiery (at least 200 men) to be called together to mock and beat a single prisoner. But this did happen and Mark mentions it for a reason.

Before the procession began, when the triumphator, king, appeared in ceremonial garb. He would be dressed in a purple tunic embroidered with golden palm leaves, and over it a purple toga marked out with golden stars. On his head was the crown of Jupiter. And what do we find Jesus dressed with? We see Jesus clothed with a purple cloak and a crown of thorns. Color clothing was banned for lower social classes; it was a royal color. They did this ironically, like putting a death-row convict in a tuxedo and top hat. And yet, he is dressed similar to a king.

Again, before the procession, the victorious leader would be praised by his soldiers. The Jews did praise Jesus like the Romans would a celebrated leader, but mockingly. They shouted “Hail, King of the Jews!” and knelt down in homage to him. The irony was that they did not believe he was the King of the Jews and were mocking him. The deeper irony was that he was the King of the Jews and deserved their praise.

Christ’s procession led to him being “lifted up” where he hung in glory on the cross. God’s glorious power was used to sacrifice the Son of Man for the forgiveness of mankind. It was Christ’s victory to offer forgiveness to all mankind. In this triumphal procession of forgiveness, Paul says, “Christ always leads us” (2 Cor. 2:14). Satan’s victory lies in Christians’ bitterness and refusal to forgive, but forgiveness is the Christians’ victory in the spiritual war against the schemes of the devil. 

[Luk 6:37 ESV] 37 “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

[1Pe 3:8-9 ESV] 8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

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