As if the agony of Gethsemane and the seemingly endless illegal trials (see here and here) that Jesus endured were not enough, Jesus’s journey to Calvary’s cross was absolutely brutal. For example, did you know the Roman soldiers severely mocked and tortured Jesus in a charade called The King’s Game?
Matthew 27:27-31 and Mark 15:16-20 describe the scene in the Praetorium (Antonia Fortress) where those soldiers dressed Jesus in purple and thrust a crown of thorns on His head, while insulting Him with “Hail, King of the Jews!” Those passages go on to describe the beating and spitting they did, as well as mockingly bowing before Him. In the picture to the left, you see the “game board” carved into the stone floor of the Praetorium. This was a gambling game to determine who got to kill the king. Though they certainly didn’t acknowledge Jesus as “king,” they were more than happy to make Him the subject of their cruelty.
We also know that the Praetorium was the scene of awful scourging and torture. In fact, a torture device was discovered at the Praetorium. This large stone, seen in this picture standing on end, would be turned horizontally so that a prisoner’s hands and arms could be pulled through the holes in order to restrain the prisoner while using a whip on his back. We know for certain that Jesus was scourged and endured the type of lashings that would have accompanied the use of torture devices like this one.
So, with a crown of thorns piercing His head, and His back literally ripped to shreds by lashings, Jesus took up His cross and headed to Golgotha…His place of crucifixion. Read more about that journey at To Golgotha – Part 1 and To Golgotha – Part 2.
Undoubtedly, these were the darkest days in history. What Jesus submitted to and endured is absolutely beyond our comprehension. But He did so, knowing that Sunday was coming! So, while we contemplate His cruel death in sacrifice for our sins, hope springs eternal because we know “the rest of the story!” Stay tuned…