Today's verses are Mark 15:19,20: "And they where striking his head with a reed and spitting on him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him.  And they led him out to crucify him." The Roman soldiers had mockingly put a purple cloak upon Jesus, a sign of royalty.  Then they cried out, with great sarcasm, "Hail, King of the Jews," something every Roman Emperor expected of their subjects.  Then they struck Jesus' head with a reed, over and over again.  Sarcastically, they knelt before him as a subject would do to a king, while spitting continually on him.  Finally, they took off the purple cloak they'd put on him and put his own clothes back on him.  And they led him to the cross.

For those of us who try to follow Jesus, reading these words are almost too much to bear.  For me personally, I realize he did all this for me.  The sarcastic mocking should have been directed toward me. The reed beating on Jesus' head should have been on my head. The spit should have been on my body.  The cross should have been my cross.

My rebellion and disobedience to God deserves this punishment.  My sin deserves this death.  But because of his perfect love for me, he took the punishment that should have been mine upon himself.  He took my place upon the cross, absorbing God's wrath for sin upon himself instead of God's wrath being placed on me.

When I think about this love for me, I'm overwhelmed.  I'm humbled.  The only response I can give is my life dedicated to him.  In the hymn, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross," I remember the line that says, "Love so amazing so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all."  He gave his life for me because of perfect love.  My response is to give my life to him.

It's not fun to do, but all of us who say we follow Jesus should at times pause and imagine this scene.  We should remember the scourging, the mocking, the spit and the blows with the reed.  It should be deeply etched and indelibly printed in our minds.  He took this punishment upon himself so that we wouldn't have to receive it.

It is the evidence of his perfect love for us.

It is the reason we follow him.