Mark 15:16-26

The Soldiers Mock Jesus

16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

The Crucifixion of Jesus

21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.

25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.


The trip started out like any other…me waiting until the last minute to pack! “Can anyone help me find my hat?…and where are my extra pair of pants?” are common questions uttered before it’s time for me to leave any trip! What’s shocking is that I am not a procrastinator. However, I do not like to pack.

Yet, this trip was different. I needed it! I’ve been working really hard lately, and I was looking forward to refilling my cup and seeing the sights back east.

No matter the delay, I always manage to find enough time to pack and make it out the door. [SIGH!] My heart longs for His creation to sing a new song into my soul while taking in new sights and sounds. I even enjoy feeling the grit beneath my toes as the texture of the sand changes from region to region.

With the coastal wind encouraging me, I made it out the door and onto the trail headed east. No matter where I travel, a sunrise is…breathtaking! It’s pause-worthy. Sure, I’m in a hurry, but the colors! Yahweh uses a paintbrush better than any artist our world has ever uttered from our lips. Along the way, I even stop to watch the ewe protect her lamb on the hillside. It reminds me of my youth: the guiding hand of a mother and the protective covering of a father. Time is definitely an enemy, but memories remain.

I’m getting closer to the city now, but I can smell tension in the air. I remember this city, and I’m looking forward to passing through on my journey but something is different. My ears are heightened to conflict well before my eyes can see: yelling, weeping, praying! I turn the corner and walk onto the main square where I see the mob.

All of my senses are attempting to process the rioting atmosphere. I push my way through the dichotomy of clinched fists and crying hearts. The sounds reverberating against the walls of this old city like fiery darts piercing souls.

I turn to ask the women on her knees next to me why the people were…[interrupted]. “YOU!”…the soldier grabs my arm and pulls me onto the street. As my feet catch up to my falling momentum, I come face-to-face with my answer – Jesus!

How could such a noisy place suddenly turn deafeningly silent? All I could see were His eyes. He was bloodied, bruised, and beaten beyond anything I could imagine. I faintly heard the command from the solider above while Jesus and I continued to stare at each other, “You carry His cross!”

I heard about His teachings and miracles. “How could this be happening?” I thought while the soldiers transferred the cross onto my shoulders. The heavy splintered wood struck my joints and muscles far beyond what I was expecting. His blood and sweat staining my shirt and dripping from my elbow. This was the man who brought Lazarus back to life, walked on water, healed the sick, and cast demons out of the afflicted. Why the cross? Why me now?

In this divine appointment, He answered me without saying a word. Though physically bruised and weakened, He spoke to my soul like a warrior: “I did not come into this world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Me.”

1 John 2:1-2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Feeling just the weight of the wood overwhelmed my muscles to extreme fatigue and exhaustion, but knowing He was about carry my sins and the sins of every human while hanging on that cross caused a level of pain far worse than physical punishment. As I handed the cross back to Jesus I whispered, “It should have been me!” He placed that heavy beam across His wounded back and said…”And this is what true love [agape] is… ‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.'” [John 3:16]

Lesson: Simon of Cyrene had a divine appointment that day. We may not know much more about this man than the brief moment mentioned in Scripture, but what we do know is that he left his country, “passing by,” and came face-to-face with the Savior of the world. As believers, it is our responsibility to take Jesus, who lives inside of us, to others so they too can have an encounter. If you are reading this and do not know Jesus as your personal, Lord and Savior, please take the time and speak to Him today. He’s always calling and chasing after you.

Challenge: Let’s remember Luke 14:27 this Easter, “And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.”

We praise the One who bore all of our sins! Jesus, the Messiah.


Christian Armetta

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