“Those who passed by derided Jesus, 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!’... Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.”
~Mark 15:29-30, 32b (NRSV).
A few short days... from scum to Saviour.
This suffering servant — prophesied seven centuries previous by Isaiah — was connecting the prophetic dots to become the unconventional Messiah.
Biblical hindsight’s a wonderful thing. It explains why prophesy and fulfilment line up in our thinking, yet didn’t for those First Century Jews. We’re not so smart. We’d have made the same simple errors of logic.
Yes, we too would have taunted Jesus.
Amazing to think, Jesus dying for the taunters!
An Object Lesson
Taunting is a thing we find occurs to us also — for a variety of reasons and in a volley of circumstances.
Do we have faith that God will eventually step in and vindicate us, making fools of the taunters, like he did with Jesus?
It’s an important question.
Jesus response in the extremeness of eternity’s most cosmically pivotal event — whilst predictable in hindsight, given he’s the Messiah — was also a human response. This means it’s possible we, too, could respond like this.
Indeed, it may actually characterise us as mature in the faith, or not (if we’re incapable of it).
Isaiah 50:4-11 – Humiliation + Obedience = Vindication
This section of Isaiah is commonly attributed as prophetic of the Messiah, Jesus.
As we imagine Jesus set in the midst of these eight verses, we learn more about both the cost and consequences of obedience.
The cost, here, is humiliation. The consequence — per the Gospel narrative, and verses 8-9 here — is vindication. The Lord is seen to help.
There is a great deal to learn in reflecting over Jesus’ restraint.
Yes, we too are capable of it.
This very restraint is reminiscent of the resurrection power of God as we step out of the way of Divine justice, so justice would be meted out in accord with the Lord’s will.
As we walk in the darkness and have no light, as we’re badgered and broached, in our obedience, we’re trusting the Lord, and we will be vindicated as our Saviour was.
This is the faith of the ancients, so resplendently modelled by the Messiah. Let us follow in these ways, until our resurrection Sundays arrive.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.
Graphic Credit: Mel Gibson’s, The Passion of the Christ, 2004.