Psalm 149:4 (NLT): For the LORD delights in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.
There’s something about a uniform that commands respect, as it should. Particularly one that is adorned with medals and stripes as they signify hard work and attaining the highest achievement of honor. Police officers, fire fighters, and members of the armed forces all wear their uniforms with utmost pride: in their precinct, their battalion, their branch of the military, and in their country. The stripes affixed to their shirts and jackets identify the wearers’ rank. They “earn their stripes” by proving their diligence and bravery. The higher up in rank, the more elaborate the insignia becomes, and the number of stripes increases.
In the biblical days, when stripes were awarded, they were not stripes of honor. Instead, they were scars from floggings and beatings, punishment handed down to those found guilty of various types of offenses. The apostle Paul was a man of many stripes. The skin on his back bore dozens of scars from the numerous rounds of punishment inflicted on him for doing God’s work. Did that stop him from spreading the Good News? Not one bit. He was a soldier who fought till the death.
Jesus wasn’t an officer in the army nor was He a criminal. However, He was adorned with stripes, and they gave Him two medals, too. Then Plate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip (John 19:1 NLT). Even though Pilate repeatedly told the crowd that he determined Jesus to be not guilty of any crime, he still turned him over to the guards. Afterwards, He received his two medals of honor; the crown of thorns and the cross of Calvary. “Why didn’t He save Himself”, the people wondered. Because, He was obedient to the will of His Father. Jesus knew all of His suffering was part of God’s plan for all of His children.
Isaiah 53:5 (NKJV): But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.
2 Tim 4:8 (NIV) Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
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