Thursday, March 10, 2016
When Jesus' cross swung into the air and thudded into the ground, a crowd of folks settled in for what was ahead. The death that inevitably came never came quickly. Some who watched were there for some kind of perverted entertainment. Others, like the woman who gave birth to Him were there weeping. No doubt some stood behind the cross so the eyes of Jesus could not find them. These were the one who had pledged loyalty and love only to run when danger came into the Garden. And finally, there were those who taunted Him as He died.
The cruelty of such a thing is almost impossible to comprehend. To taunt a dying man seems unthinkable, but such is what Jesus endured in His last hours on this earth. One cried out, "...save Yourself. If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross." (Matthew 27:40) Chief priest, scribes, and elders who supposedly stood for the best of the Jewish religion mocked Jesus saying, "He saved others; He cannot save Himself...let Him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in Him." (Matthew 27:42) One who hung on a cross beside Him derided Him as he called out, "Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" (Luke 23:39) So many of those who watched from below mocked Him, called Him names, and hurled one unspeakable insult after another at this One who was in that moment dying for their sakes.
Of course, there were some others who responded to the horrific act in a different way. A centurion who had a up close and too personal look at what was happening was moved after it was over to say, "Truly, this man was the Son of God." (Matthew 27:54) And, then, there was that dying thief who said to the dying Savior, ""Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom." (Luke 23:42) I wonder where I would have been standing. I wonder what words I would have said. Like Simon Peter, I know what I would say I would do, but, still I wonder.