Bullies Of The Worst Kind!


The written notice of the charge against Him read, ‘The king of the Jews.’ They crucified two rebels with Him, one on His right and one on His left. 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, come down from the cross and save yourself.’ 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. 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. (Mark 15: 26-32)

Why hit a man when he is down? These bullies had to rub it in when they had Jesus pinned down so that there was no escape. One day they would eat their words when the truth was exposed. Imagine their shock if Jesus did summon a legion of angels to rescue Him from their hands. Would they really have believed then? I don’t think so. They had every opportunity to believe in Him when He was among them but they refused.

Let’s examine their accusations and their taunts. The first came from the passers-by. They had no interest in Jesus except for what the religious leaders had said about Him. At the outset of His ministry, according to John, He had ripped into the merchants and money changers in the temple for turning the Court of the Gentiles, the only place in the temple where non-Jews were permitted to pray, into a corrupt market.

With the blessing of the chief priests and the religious rulers, opportunists had taken over the Court of the Gentiles to ply their trade under the guise of providing a service for the worshippers who came from out of town. Under the surface they were ripping the people off with their little business and, no doubt supplying the authorities with a cut of the profits.

The religious authorities were livid when Jesus upset their business by causing pandemonium among the birds and animals, and overturning the tables of those dealing in forex. They demanded an explanation for His behaviour. “Who gave you authority to do this?”

“Destroy this temple,” He retorted, “and in three days I will raise it up again.” It was an invitation to kill Him, but they didn’t get it. “Do you want to know where I get my authority?” He asked in effect. “Put me to death, and I’ll show you by coming back to life.”

False witnesses at His trial tried to pin His words on Him as a reason to condemn Him to death. No one could threaten to destroy God’s temple and get away with it. But, unfortunately for them, they couldn’t agree on His exact words and their testimony did not hold water. They accused Him of threatening to destroy the physical temple made of stone. Only a madman would make a threat like that,but the accusation stuck and was bandied about in Jerusalem until the words He was supposed to have spoken were on everyone’s lips.

He looked so vulnerable and powerless hanging there, skewered onto two pieces of wood like a kebab. It’s no wonder the uncomprehending and unfeeling passers-by could taunt Him without giving it another thought. They were just mindlessly mouthing their leaders’ words. To Jesus, what they had to say did not even merit a reply. He ignored them. All they were doing was exposing the foolishness and ignorance of their own hearts.

What about the spiritual leaders who were gazing at their handiwork? It was not enough that they had succeeded in getting Him executed. They had to be there to sign Him off to their great satisfaction. They had to add their bit to the insults of the rabble just to make sure that everyone around could witness the exposure of their own hearts as well.

“Save yourself and come down from the cross.” They thought that they were responsible for putting Him there because of their power. They were claiming, in effect, to have absolute power over Him. If He were the Son of God as He had claimed, why didn’t He show it by overriding their puny human control?

Never in a million years did they understand that He was there by His own will because He had submitted Himself to the Father as an obedient son. Had He not declared, in the Garden of Gethsemane, ‘Not my will but yours be done’? This was the culmination of a plan set up by the triune God before creation. If they had really known their Scriptures as they claimed, they would have recognised Him as the one of whom Isaiah spoke.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer . .  (Isa. 54: 10).

Why should He save Himself and come down from the cross when it was all going to plan? The Jews refused to believe that He was their Messiah because the cross was foolishness to them, but in effect, it was through the very thing they despised, death on a Roman execution stake, that provided forgiveness and new life, if they only believed Him. But not even His resurrection convinced them that He was their Messiah. How tragic to be right but in the end to be so wrong!

Scripture taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Have you read my new book, Learning to be a Son – The Way to the Father’s Heart (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing)? You’ll love it!

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Watch this space. My second book, Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master (Copyright © 2015, Partridge Publishing), companion volume to Learning to be a Disciple – The Way of the Master, will soon be on the bookshelves.

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Luella Campbell

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