A mocked Messiah? Luke tells his readers that the leaders and soldiers scoff at Jesus. There is public mockery of him as he hangs from the cross. The people stand by—some very close, others at a distance. We know that some of Jesus' followers simply fled the scene. Even one of the men hung next to Jesus "derided" him.
I often wonder as I read the scriptures: Where do I find myself in a given story or scene? How might I have responded to this crucified Messiah? If I were there, what words would I have uttered as he hung from the cross?
In thesis 20 of the Heidelberg Disputation, Martin Luther writes, "that person deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God through suffering and the cross." What do my words and actions tell others about this suffering Messiah?
Suffering Christ, may we struggle deeply to maintain the connection between your death and your being both Lord and Sovereign through that same death. Amen.
Luke 23:33-43 (NRSV)
33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.
34 [Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing."] And they cast lots to divide his clothing.
35 And the people stood by, watching; but the leaders scoffed at him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!"
36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine,
37 and saying, "If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!"
38 There was also an inscription over him, "This is the King of the Jews."
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!"
40 But the other rebuked him, saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
41 And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong."
42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
43 He replied, "Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise."