OCTOBER 7 - Nº 280 Matthew 27:27-44; Mark 15:16-32; Luke 23:26-43; John 19:16-24
Jesus had been brutally beaten. Even though it was a violation of Roman Law to crucify a person who had already been flogged, Pilate gave in to the demands of the Jewish leaders. He handed Jesus to the Roman soldiers to be put to death. They dressed him in a purple robe, put a crown of thorns on his head, and placed a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt down and mocked him saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They also spit on him and hit him again and again with the staff. Jesus was expected to carry his cross through the streets of Jerusalem to a place outside the city walls called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). But since he was struggling, the soldiers forced a man who was passing by to carry it for him. The man’s name was Simon. He was from Cyrene in northern Africa and was probably heading into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. A large number of people followed along. Among them were several women who mourned loudly for Jesus. He turned and spoke to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me. Weep for yourselves and for your children because of the coming devastation.” Two other men who were criminals were led to Golgotha as well. When they arrived, the soldiers offered Jesus some wine mixed with myrrh. It was a pain killer designed to lessen the excruciating pain, but he refused to drink it. There at Golgotha, just outside the walls of Jerusalem, Jesus was nailed to a cross next to the two criminals—one of them on his right side and the other on his left. As the cross was lifted and fell into the hole that had been dug for it, Jesus cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” It was nine o’clock in the morning. Pilate made a sign and fastened it to the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” It was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. The wording upset the chief priests who protested, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews!’ Write that he claimed to be the king of the Jews.” But Pilate replied, “What I have written, I have written.” Everyone who passed by on the busy road could read the sign. They began mocking Jesus. They hollered out, “If you are powerful enough to tear down the Temple and build it back in three days, why don’t you come down from the cross and save yourself!” The chief priests and other religious leaders jeered at him saying things like, “Oh, he can save others, but he can’t save himself!” and “If he is God’s Son, why doesn’t God help him now?” Even one of the criminals taunted him saying, “Aren’t you the Messiah? Well then, save yourself and us!” The other criminal rebuked him. “We deserve our punishment,” he said. “But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he turned to Jesus and said, “Jesus, please remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” The soldiers divided Jesus’ clothing into equal shares. Only his seamless tunic was left. They decided not to rip it. Instead, they threw dice to see who would get it.
Mockery and sarcasm are two of the most destructive forces in our lives. Satan knows this, and he often uses them in his attempts to frustrate our faith. Realizing how much Jesus was willing to endure for us, shouldn’t we be willing to face a little ridicule for him?