27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him.
28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 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.
When the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium (governor’s house), they gathered the whole garrison, approximately six hundred soldiers, to surround Jesus. Why? They didn’t fear Jesus escaping or the disciples rising up to rescue him. Why would they pull soldiers from their posts and pack them into this area? Romans, like the Jews and Greeks and all other peoples, wanted to bear witness to things with their own eyes. Romans fully understood the power of a crowd and the power of public perception, as seen in their utilization of arenas and the Colosseum in Rome. It is in public, not private, that humiliation and mockery thrive. The Roman soldiers delighted in their mockery of Jesus’s kingship, all the while not realizing they were crowning the Son of God with his first crown and covering him with his first robe. Unbeknownst to them, they were kneeling before the Christ and they were hailing him as king who is in fact the King of Kings. In the very echo of their mockery was the truth. The parade of humiliation poured out on Jesus was carried out by the very ones he came to save. And within the darkest moments of Christ’s life, humiliation was met with humility, and mockery was met with mercy. Every soldier in that garrison was an instrument in the crucifixion and also a witness to the unfolding truth. In our own lives, where have we missed the truth and accepted the public or popular belief? What areas in our lives can we return Jesus to his rightful place as King of Kings?