The Glory of the Cross (Part 2)
In a previous blog we have noted that the gospel of John emphasises prophecy and glory in relation to the cross. Now to some particular details of glory in John 19.
The opening three verses of the chapter tell of the scourging of the soldiers. Comparing with the records of Matthew and Mark, it is possible the Lord was scourged twice. One that was public and involved the whole band of 600 soldiers (Mark 15.16-20). The other, here, being more private. The soldiers engaged in their favourite game of ‘mock king’. There was a mock crown of thorns upon His head, a mock sceptre in His hand, a mock royal robe upon His person, mock worship and a mock anointing as they spat upon Him. Where is the glory in this? Note the colour of the robe–purple. Such a sight would remind any spiritual Jew of the brazen altar, an article of furniture that was borne through the wilderness with a purple covering (Num. 4.13). This is the Antitype. Christ is both offering and offerer, going forth to the place of sacrifice.
There is also great glory in the contrast with Revelation 19. In the day when His humiliation on earth has turned to great glory, He shall come forth with ‘many crowns’ upon His brow. Now there is no sign of the thorns, but majestic rays of glory (Hab. 3.3-4). There is no longer a purple robe, but a vesture dipped in blood belonging to the all-conquering One. Now He wields a rod of iron. There is no feigning of worship, instead every knee shall bow. This is the glory of the King of Kings.
The following section of John 19 (vv.4-12) concludes the scrutiny of Pilate. Three times in Luke and three time in John he declares ‘no fault’ in Christ. This is a significant answer to the threefold political accusation brought by the Jews. Religious charges would not hold water with Pilate. In this connection, the gospels record a sevenfold declaration of Christ’s moral perfection in the events of Gabbatha and Golgotha. Judas said he had betrayed ‘innocent blood’. Pilate found ‘no fault’. Herod said ‘nothing worthy of death’ was found in Him. Pilate’s wife spoke of ‘that just man’. Onemalefactor said He had ‘done nothing amiss’. The Centurion declared: ‘certainly this was a righteous man’ and those watching with him that Christ was ‘the Son of God’ (Matt. 27.54). Thus, even the most degraded and basest of men could see what the Jews would not see–perfect righteousness in the Lord Jesus. All is glory.
What do we find in Christ? What is our appreciation of Him? No question is more pertinent to Christian life and living. The purpose of life is Christ. And our appreciation of Him governs all we are in character and service for Him.
To be continued.