The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!”
While I’ve never been “led away” like Jesus, on three different occasions I’ve been “led away.” And it wasn’t fun. You have no control. Other people take over. They decide where you are going. They drag and direct you where they want you to go.
You are totally out of control. You have no power. You have no choice. For me, it was when I was strapped into a stretcher. I lost all ability to go where I wanted to go. Do what I wanted to do. When I wanted to do it.
My losing control and being led away was a lot more comfortable and pleasant than what Jesus went through. The people that carried me out of the house, lifted me up into the ambulance. They were very kind. Doing their best to comfort me. Reduce my fears and discomfort. The guys that led Jesus away were a whole lot different.
These were pain-inflecting professionals. They had been well schooled in how to inflict and maximize anguish. They purposefully did anything and everything to pummel their victim into pain. But not just pain. Pain on top of pain. Pain and more pain. Pain upon pain.
His back was one, great, open wound from the flogging. Over this they laid a robe from one of the soldiers, possibly a cast-off and faded rag. They took some twigs broken off from some thorny plant and wove a crown. The thorns were long, sharp, and curved, inflicting maximum pain.
But the crown was more than physical pain, it was a massive emotional insult. They were mocking him, saying that his claim to be King of the Jews was false. There was nothing victorious about Jesus because he was a pretender, not the legitimate leader he claimed.
These soldiers looked for every possible way to inflict pain and poke mocking barbs into Jesus. He was an easy target. Not just because he was tied up and weakened from the beatings. But because Jesus has purposefully chosen to abandon all his rights as God of the universe, king of the world.
but (Jesus) laid aside his mighty power and glory, taking the disguise of a slave and becoming like men.
Philippians 2:7 TLB
No matter what he experienced physically, Jesus didn’t lose any of his deity. He was and remained fully God. But he laid aside the outward expression of his being God and took on the outward expression of being a suffering servant. He set aside all the rights and privileges of being God, including being glorified and worshiped.
When he took all this, he emptied himself of himself. When he emptied himself of everything he deserved as God, he replaced it with that of a slave. A servant. Someone who has no rights. Someone who cannot and does not make demands.
There are two lines from an old hymn that say it oh so much better than I could.
Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
When Thou camest to earth for me;
But with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn,
They bore Thee to Calvary.
Jesus willingly stepped down off the throne of heaven. He didn’t just come to earth as a king but came as a servant. And not some kind of great and exalted servant, but a lowly servant who suffered throughout his life. A life ending with extreme suffering in the garden. With the demands of the mob. At the jealousy of the Jewish leaders. Under the ruling of Pilate. And finally, at the hands of Roman soldiers.
He took the eternal punishment that we deserved. He took the everlasting shame and disrespect that we earn each and every day, put it on himself, and paid our debt.
Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross, so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness.
1 Peter 2:24 GNT
Yep, that’s exactly what Jesus did for you and for me. For all who would believe. For all that would receive his sacrifice. His payment for ourselves. For our disobedience. For our sin.
And the only thing we can do is to receive his payment. Receive him as God. Receive his new life. He did all the giving and we do all the receiving. This energizes us to worship God and serve people.
That’s what the King of the Jews wants and desires.
 Thou didst leave thy throne, E. S. Elliot (1864)