(Friends: we don't usually send out devotionals on Saturday, but I feel inclined to do so today. Thanks to Frances for inspiration on this one. And for inspiration in everything else in my life also, of course. Glen)
"Then did they spit in His face"
Many years ago, I was sitting at my children's school, waiting for them to come out at the end of the day. My driver's side window was down, and from behind me I heard a car approaching. Loud music sounded from the car, and when it pulled alongside me, the driver slowed down long enough for a young man to lean out the passenger side window and spit in my face.
I was stunned at first, and then angry beyond words. I started to shout something at the car speeding away, but before a word could escape my mouth, I remembered the verse above. The thought came to me, "They spat on Me also." Instantly I realized that if the Lord Jesus Christ were to speak to me audibly, this might be what He would say.
I cannot say that all the bad feelings went away instantly, but in that blessed moment, everything of substance in the situation changed. I realized that while I perhaps didn't deserve to be spat upon by the particular young man at the particular time, the truth of the matter is that in real terms, I deserve infinitely worse. I deserve for God Himself to spit in my face, and to banish me from His presence forevermore. Instead of such just deserts, however, it was my Savior whose face was spat upon, and who was utterly shamed, smitten, and forsaken on the cross of Calvary by both God and man. And in my circumstance, my Heavenly Father had given me a small experience of "the fellowship of Christ's sufferings" (Philippians 3:10).
I still pray for that young man who I would have loved to strangle had God left me to my fleshly devices and inclinations. Of course, I have no idea who he was, where he is now, or anything at all about him. I only know that he was a means by which God gave me an opportunity to know His heart in a greater way, and to "walk, even as He walked" (I John 2:6). I also believe that the Lord allowed the young man's sin so that through the years I might pray that he would also realize that the Lord Jesus loves him enough to endure for him the indignity of spittle, taunts, thorns, nails, and a spear. I hope to see the young man in Heaven someday, and if so, perhaps we will kneel together at the throne of the glorious and wonderful One of whom it is written, "Then did they spit in His face."
"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."