Mockers and Scoffers


It was our sin which put Jesus on that cross: Our mocking of God through our sinful natures. We bear personal responsibility. We can only be free and forgiven through the cross if we admit and agree we are the cause of the cross. We stand with the mockers.

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.

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. 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?”).

37 With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
Mark 15:16-20, 25-34, 37

Mark chose to focus on the mocking and ridicule which Jesus endured in his death. Other gospels provide more details about the torture and beatings. Mark tells us how the soldiers mocked him as the King of the Jews. They kneeled at his feet to pay false homage to him.

Once he was on the cross, passers-by hurled insults. They knew that Jesus had made claims about destroying the temple and raising it up three days later. They reminded him of his words and taunted him to come down off the cross and prove his power and authority.

The chief priests and teachers also mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” They wouldn’t believe. And he wouldn’t come down.

Even the two who hung on his right and on his left on their own crosses heaped insults upon him. No honour among thieves.

Much more occurred during those hours, yet the power of words in abusing Jesus was incredible. With our words we praise and curse. James 3 outlines the terrible impact of the untamed tongue. The crucifixion of Jesus was fueled by verbal abuse.

Reading the story reminds me of the song, How Deep The Father’s Love, in which we sing, “Ashamed I hear my mocking voice, call out among the scoffers.”

Yesterday we heard the crowd shout, “Crucify him!” We don’t want to consider or admit that if we were there, we would have been shouting along with them. We would have insulted and mocked Jesus ourselves.

No. Not me.

Except that it was our sin which put Jesus on that cross: Our mocking of God through our sinful natures. We bear personal responsibility. We can only be free and forgiven through the cross if we were the cause of the cross. And so we stand with the mockers.

Jesus felt forsaken in his final moments. Forsaken by God and clearly forsaken by people. With a loud cry, he died. For you. For me. So may our mocking voices be used in the celebration of Jesus to admit our guilt, proclaim the grace Jesus offers, and praise the risen Saviour who is the author of our hope…

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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