Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Playing Games with Jesus

Dear Friends,

We were in the holy land with a group from our church, in the days when it was safe to take people on tours. One night my husband said: “Jill, why don’t you say something to the group tomorrow when we visit ’the Pavement’?  I looked at him dumbstruck.  These pavement stones he spoke about were preserved deep down under a church.  It was believed to be—with good reason—the very place, and the very pavement stones, where Jesus was scourged and mocked by the Roman soldiers before He was crucified.

What could I say?  How could I even get the words out of my mouth?  I muttered that I would “think of something.”  That night, I went to the Deep Place where nobody goes and waited with some trepidation for Him.

“Hullo.”

“Hullo.”

“Um…”.  I didn’t know where to begin.  Without speaking, He handed me the Gospel of John, opened at chapter 19.

“Read verses 1-3,” He said.  “I did it for you!”

Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged.  The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head.  They clothed Him in a purple robe and went up to Him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!”  And they struck Him in the face.

“Oh Lord, the men You made—they played games with You!”

“You have been in that place before.  Remember, the stones have a game marked out on them.”
I remembered the squares, and our guide explaining that the victim of this cruel sport would stand in the center square and wherever the dice landed, the prisoner was subjected to the torture depicted on that particular stone.

“The dice fell on the scourge, mockery, and the crown of thorns for me,” He said quietly.
I didn’t say a word, but labored far into the night to capture as best I could my heart’s response to the Pavement.  I could hardly speak the next day, but as the group gathered round I knelt down on what to me is one of the most sacred places on the planet.  The place where the human race dared to play games with Jesus.  There I offered Him my thanks:

Scourged my King, a plaited crown,
Runs the blood of Godhead down?
Ripped the flesh, the beard pulled out
Cruel the sport and rude the shout.
Scourged my King, a plaited crown,
Runs the blood of Godhead down?
Scourged my King in soldiers’ den,
Exposed to beasts who, dressed like men,
Smelled the blood of prey soon caught
Set my Jesus all at naught!
Scourged my King, and fool of made,
God in heaven, what price You paid—
And all because of my heart’s need:
Sinful thoughts and sinful deeds,
A dirty soul that dirtied Thee
O’re bloodied earth on bloodied tree.
Scourged my King, a plaited crown,
Runs the blood of Godhead down?
Scourged my King, a plaited crown,
Here I kneel a-trembling down,
Beat my fists in silent fury
While my world ignores your story:
Scourged my King, a plaited crown
Runs the blood of Godhead down?
Can I doubt Your Father’s loss?
Broken God on broken cross.
Do I bear wound or mark in me
That mirrors Thine on Calvary?
Scourged my King, a plaited crown
Runs the blood of Godhead down?

He was there—we all felt Him draw near—we heard His footsteps.  We stayed silent, overwhelmed with a sense of loss, rage, and gratitude all rolled up in one.  Then the next group of pilgrims crowded us out, and our group moved on. Meditate on the price your Savior paid for your sin.

Blessings,

Jill Briscoe
Executive Editor
Just Between Us Magazine


2 comments:

  1. In awe of how the Spirit inspires.

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