Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 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. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 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.
As a life-long republican I am slightly sheepish when I say that I have been absolutely gripped by the Netflix wonder that is, “The Crown”! How true to real life it is I have no way of knowing but I have found the insight into the burdens and restrictions of royal life have softened my attitudes and given me a new appreciation of our sovereign. By watching her relationships with so many Prime Ministers over the years I find that I am immensely grateful for the continuity and wisdom she brings and which we need now more than ever! But I am also in awe of the costumes, palaces and incredible pomp and protocol that are part of every day life for our Queen, and which she enjoys (or endures) as part of her service for us.
At Christmas we sing about the baby King Jesus. We tell the story of how this royal baby was born, not in a palace, but an animal outhouse. We acknowledge the Kingly gifts brought by the wise men, but we often leave the royal connection in the Christmas story and don’t pick it up again until the very end of Jesus’ life, when it appears in the form of terrible torture and the very opposite of what this King of kings deserves. In their horrible mocking of Jesus, the roman soldiers pay lip service to the kind of tributes we still pay to our royals, except that his crown was piercing his head, and his sceptre was taken and used to hit him round the head. His royal robe stripped as he was led out not to greet the crowds on the balcony, but to the hill to die. What would possibly cause someone so royal and so important to endure such a travesty of his status?
Love- that is what made him do it. Love for you and love for me. This royal baby, so long awaited, grew to be a royal King who willingly gave up all the pomp and circumstance and went to a criminal’s death for us.
What a Christmas present! If you are wondering what you are worth this Christmas, consider the King who died for you.