16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
21 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.
27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left.  [a] 29 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
33 At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).[b]
35 When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
36 Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
38 The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died,[c] he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph,[d] and Salome. 41 In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.
Jesus was naked. He was stripped bare and lashed, punched and brutalised until he was hardly recognizable as a man. Romans would have delighted in humiliating a supposed King of the Jews. They were an occupying army and occupying armies love to get at those who despise their occupation. Jesus was naked. He wore a cloak of purple mocking his true status as the true king. He was verbally insulted but even a centurion confessed that he was the son of God. He had no loincloth to clothe his shame. Jesus was naked.
In his nakedness is something disclosed? He hid nothing from the world. He had revealed everything to his disciples. He did not hide himself. He loved us fully. Before us he hung naked and bore the shame that was rightfully ours. Yet in our art and sculpture we clothe him quickly. We can’t stand that level of exposure. A body or a soul that is truly exposed in some way exposes us. It exposes our hidden hearts, our shrouded minds, our darkened souls. A man that has nothing to hide sends us running for cover.
He bids us come. Come and see. Embrace a maturity that can cope with full disclosure. Be naked. Expose your heart, soul, mind and strength. Share the pain and the suffering of the cross. Take up a cross daily and follow him.
Exposed and alone you hung for a time. Nowhere to hide. Nothing to hide behind. I keep myself hidden, even from you. There are no lengths you would not go to. Excrutiating. I shun pain. I fear exposure. Cleanse me with the blood that you shed. May walk in the paths you walked, following my King enthroned on a cross.
- How would you describe Roman treatment of Jesus?
- Why does Jesus say the things he does?
- Why is Jesus clothed in our art when there is no indication he was clothed in the text?
- What does the cross mean to you?
- How do you take up your cross daily?