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Diversity of Mockers

I was reminded of this song when I was halfway through writing this. I recommend listening to it while you read. :).

 
 

In one of my sessions of listening to Scripture, something stuck out in the gospel of Mark at the crucifixion that never stuck out before. In my mind it adds to the beauty of the Markan tragedy. As the dude was reading the passage describing the scene of the crucifixion, I couldn’t stop thinking about all the different people involved in this situation. There was such a variety of people that, in some way, mocked Him at his death.

Judas turned Jesus over. Betrayed by a friend. The servants of the priest apprehended him. Those that work for the temple imprisoned a preacher at the temple. Peter denied him. Not even acknowledged by one that called him the Messiah. The crowd asked for him to be crucified. Those who begged him for healing are calling for his death. Pilate handed him over to be crucified. The peaceful Messiah faces unwarranted violence from Rome. The soldiers beat him and mocked him. Passers-by chide him to come down from the cross. The chief priests and teachers of the Law mock him saying that he saved others, but he cannot save himself.* Even the two criminals crucified next to him reviled him. And as if Jesus does not seem alone enough in a world of intense pain where everyone is against him, his last words are, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Heavy. Dark. Tough. Sad. Tragic. The Messiah, the hope of the world. The man who loved all in his life and revealed to humanity God in a way we can see, understand, feel, know has been brutally murdered. Tortured. The one the crowds followed has died alone. The one who did good to all has been reviled by all. The one who was gentle and rich in grace and mercy and love has had his life ended because of his perfection as a human. The only one who did not deserve death received it. Weighty shit.

Mark gives us images that really illustrate the large variety of people who played a part in Jesus’ death and who mocked him for it. All the characters he portrays at the end (including God the Father) are either killing Jesus, mocking him, or abandoning him. It seems like a universal that in some way everyone contributes to the cross, to the suffering of Jesus. As I read the story I find myself disliking everyone at the end when Jesus dies, but there is a kicker for those that believe Jesus’ death wasn’t the end.

Jesus died for these people. Jesus died for all these people. Jesus died for those that killed him. Jesus died for those who mocked him for dying for them. Jesus died for those that abandoned him. Jesus died for those that tortured him. Jesus died for those who betrayed him. Jesus died for those who denied him. Jesus died for those that condemned. Jesus died for all the people who loved him when it was convenient and fashionable who later hated him for the same reasons. All these terrible people that I really don’t like when I read the story, Jesus died for.

Once again, I’m in tears as I write about Mark’s gospel. Heroic Tragedies are beautiful. It feels too humble. The way God saved the world. It’s too lowly. It’s too defaming. It’s too despicable. It’s too shameful. It’s too inglorious. It’s too reprehensible. It’s too humble. It’s too much Love. It’s overwhelming. I’m overwhelmed. What a way to redeem the world. Only our God. Only He is strong enough to be humble enough to save us in this way. Only our Messiah loves like this.

 
 

*Quite an awesome way Mark puts this. Jesus is being crucified and mocked for not saving himself even though he saved others, but the very reason he isn’t saving himself is because he truly cannot save himself if he wants to truly save others. What the Pharisees say to Jesus is both true and representative of a grave misunderstanding. (pun)

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