Few people believe that it’s OK to kick a man when he is down. This offends our sense of fair play. Any moral, civilized people would follow this common precept and extend this basic mercy to any man – unless His name is Jesus.
After the people chose Barabbas, a murderous rebel over Jesus, Jesus was taken away to be crucified. The Roman soldiers had a chance to ‘work’ Him over; “Then the soldiers led Him away into the hall called Praetorium, and they called together the whole garrison. And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head, and began to salute Him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him. And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.” (Mark 15:16-20)
This was to happen, hundreds of years earlier the great prophet Isaiah told all who would listen; “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” (Isaiah 53:3) Why would God allow such a thing to happen? This was God’s rescue plan for us; “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken,smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4,5)
Today, the world loves a little baby in a manger scene. We put it on cards and decorate trees every winter in memory of that sweet sentiment. But a grown up Jesus calling out our hypocrisy and calling for conviction – that’s a different story; “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (John 3:19) The grown up Jesus is still reviled, beaten and spat upon even today.
As we stuff ourselves with great food and amuse ourselves with all our Christmas gifts we should take some time to reflect on what that little baby Jesus had to go through to save us.