Mark 15:25-32

It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!”

In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him. Mark 15:25-32

Everyone jumps on a bandwagon; everyone jumps from a sinking ship. As far as everyone else in the story is concerned, Jesus is a sinking ship. See how they run!

Jesus was executed by the political authorities. He was set up by the religious authorities. He was ridiculed by the disappointed, disillusioned, masses.

Crucifixion was a common Roman practice. It was a sheer exercise of power intended to intimidate the local populace. The heavy posts were planted alongside the major paths into a city or village. Once crucified, the bodies were left to rot until the post needed to be used again.

Every year when we remember this scene, we end our worship with a recitation of Psalm 22.

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer; and by night, but find no rest.

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted, and you delivered them. To you they cried, and were saved; in you they trusted, and were not put to shame.

But I am a worm, and not human; scorned by others, and despised by the people. All who see me mock at me; they make mouths at me, they shake their heads; “Commit your cause to the Lord; let him deliver— let him rescue the one in whom he delights!”

Yet it was you who took me from the womb; you kept me safe on my mother’s breast. On you I was cast from my birth, and since my mother bore me you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.

Many bulls encircle me, strong bulls of Bashan surround me; they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within my breast; my mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to my jaws; you lay me in the dust of death. For dogs are all around me; a company of evildoers encircles me. My hands and feet have shriveled; I can count all my bones. They stare and gloat over me; they divide my clothes among themselves, and for my clothing they cast lots.

But you, O Lord, do not be far away! O my help, come quickly to my aid!

The only aid that God would send were the words implanted in Jesus’ heart, the purpose for which he lost his life. Evil would win this battle – love will win the war.

Let us pray: Dear Lord, to the very end, despite such a horrendous cost, you were faithful. May we see in your death the path to life and may we see in the faces of those who humiliated you, our own humiliation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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