Monday, 17 September 2012
Mark 15:21-32 - Crucified and mocked
Romans were experts in torture and killing. Jesus had been beaten and whipped to the point where his flesh was bare and then he was made to carry the cross to the execution site. Many people died before they reached even this point. Jesus is so exhausted that he's physically unable to carry the cross any further and so Simon (a passer-by) is forced to carry it for him.
As Jesus is dying on the cross, Mark tells us about those who mock him...
The Roman soldiers carrying out the crucifixion show their apathy and disrespect by passing the time playing games and gambling for Jesus' clothes (v24). Like many people today, they can't even be bothered to pay any attention to Jesus. They play games instead and pretend nothing else matters.
The passers-by show their ignorance by totally misunderstanding what Jesus was getting at when he talked of destroying the temple and rebuilding it in three days (v29-30). They use it as an excuse to hurl insults at him and have no idea that Jesus had actually been speaking of his death, burial and resurrection. Today there are many whose ignorance leads them to insult rather than question what they don't understand about Jesus.
The religious leaders are just as bad, mocking Jesus to each other (v31), no doubt in an attempt to feel better about getting him killed. Like many religious people today, their religion stops them seeing the truth about Jesus and they can't believe anything about God unless it benefits them, reinforces their tradition or they see it with their own eyes (v32).
Mark only briefly mentions the criminals dying with Jesus but he records that even they spent their final breaths insulting him (v32). From Luke's account we get more detail about one of them who seems to have had a change of heart (Luke 23:39-43) but like some people today, one of them remains stubbornly against Jesus right until the bitter end.
Many people today insult Jesus by ignoring him, playing games, remaining ignorant, following religion, or choosing bitterness. But the real question is whether or not Jesus was telling the truth when he claimed he would come back from the dead in three days. That would change everything!