And they spit upon Him, and took the reed, and smote Him on the head (Matthew 27:30).
Mockers clothed the Lord Jesus in scarlet and put a crown of thorns on Him. A reed was used to smite Him on the head. Creator Christ was bearing the curse to set rebellious creatures free. The thorns remind us of the curse, but the reed points to a less familiar portion of Scripture.
The people of Israel had been thirsting in the wilderness and demanded water from Moses. Moses, afraid for his life, prayed to the Lord (cf. Exodus 17:14). The Israelite leader, instructed to go before the people and to take with him the elders of Israel, also was to carry the rod of judgment previously used to smite the Nile (Exodus 17:5).
Symbolically on trial, the Lord stood upon the rock (v.6), and Moses was instructed to smite the rock that water might come out and provide drink for the thirsting people (v.6). Paul tells us that the Rock was Christ (I Corinthians 10:4). The image of a rod coming down upon the Lord previews the smiting and the crucifixion that followed.
Bearing punishment at least symbolically in the wilderness hundreds of years prior, Jehovah Jesus bore the reed in the flesh, just after having been scourged (Matthew 27:26). More than mere water came out from Him while hanging on a cross, however. The people in the wilderness thirsted again, but a well of water, springing up into everlasting life flowed from Calvary (cf. John 4:14).
Mockers and grumblers all, we are unworthy of such love. Our natural response to mocking and injustice is to return in like kind, but the Lord restrained His power and bore our sin. He returned good for evil, love for hate. His tenderness and patience extend to the present moment. Yes, He will return to judge the world. In the meantime, may we bow in humble adoration and worship Him for all eternity. PGH