By Mark A. Taylor
Being a soldier can be boring. Especially when you’re far from home, in a dry, dirty, dusty place. When the assignment is to keep order among a stubborn people who resent you and all you stand for, the duty is all the more distasteful.
And so, when a strange peasant called a king is assigned to your watch, who could blame you for having a little fun? Nothing about him looks like royalty, that’s for sure. So you find some thorns and make him a crown. Your buddy has a robe he took from some unlucky Jew. It makes the perfect costume.
“Hail king of the Jews,” you sneer, with all the other guys. First you bow before him, in mock honor, and then you spit in his face. You hand him a staff, and then you take it from him and slap it against his head. He doesn’t look like any king you’ve seen before. He doesn’t even fight back or try to defend himself.
Plodding through life in middle class suburbia can be a drag, too. Kids and cars and bills and budgets. Endless hours at Little League games and soccer tournaments. Money-driven bosses and quarterly reports for a corporation that, no matter how much it pays, takes in return some things you’ll never get back.
And so, when someone offers some distraction from the grind, who can blame you for a little dalliance? When you’ve become convinced that this life is all there is, you might as well make merry, right? You’ve heard Christians talk about sacrifice and service, but that doesn’t look like the real life you see among society’s most successful.
And so, you mock those rule-keeping, platitude-spouting churchgoers. Occasionally you see in their faces something other than judgment, but their looks of sad concern only make you despise them more, all the more determined to live life your own way.
God? Sin? Punishment? You’ve broken more than one of their rules, and nothing bad has happened to you yet.
The cycle has repeated itself since the early days of creation. Men mock God and misuse his blessings. They stand face-to-face with all the evidence for his reality. But bored with life and running fast after fun, they spit in the face of his goodness and his patience. And they never see what he’s ready to accomplish in their lives, even though he is right beside them.
This piece is adapted from a set of six devotions designed for use each day in the week before Easter. Get the whole set by downloading “At the Foot of the Cross” inside the free Christian Standard app. Get the app at the App Store, Google Play, or Apps for Kindle.
Each devotion is accompanied by a suggested Scripture reading, plus journaling and prayer suggestions.