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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: We are shocked at the actions of everyone involved in this story.
Author: Fraser Trevor
Rating 5 of 5 Des:
Matthew paints a vivid scene of the activity going on around the cross of Jesus. The actions of the soldiers are given in great detail. In ...
Matthew paints a vivid scene of the activity going on around the cross of Jesus. The actions of the soldiers are given in great detail. In their one act of mercy, they offered Jesus wine drugged with gall, which would ease the pain of the crucifixion. Jesus refused the drink. The soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ clothing. They then sat down to keep watch over the three men who were dying. They placed a sign over his head which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”
Matthew goes into great detail telling us about the insults and taunts that came from those gathered and from those passing by. The chief priests, scribes and elders derided him. They made fun of the miraculous deeds Jesus had performed, noting that he apparently could not pull off one miracle for himself. They told Jesus that if he would come down from the cross and save himself, then they would believe in him! People taunted him with the words of his teachings. They poked fun at the idea that he could have even considered himself the Son of God. Adding insult to injury, those being crucified with him also joined in with their own verbal abuse.
At this pivotal moment in human history Matthew gives us a vivid snapshot of the events on Golgotha. Yet, the core and the center of the story takes only six words in an introductory clause of one sentence. Matthew sums up the crucifixion of Jesus by saying, “After they had crucified him…” He offers no description of the nails being driven through Jesus’ hands and feet. There is no description of the raising of the cross. There is no physical description of the crucifixion offered for us at all.
In a story filled with such detail, why is such a pivotal moment in the history of humanity’s relationship with God barely mentioned? There are several possible answers, but let us take a look at one that has a lot of bearing on our relationship with Jesus. In the scene that Matthew lays before us, the pain inflicted on Jesus by the scourging and crucifixion is secondary to the pain inflicted by what is going on around him. Far worse than the physical pain of the crucifixion, was the pain of the rejection and denunciation of almost every aspect of Jesus’ ministry.
The crowd and those passing by are not just insulting Jesus. They are rejecting every aspect of his earthly ministry among them. They twist his words and his teachings. They belittle the amazing miracles and signs he performed among them. They utterly reject any claims that Jesus has made of having a unique relationship with God the Father. They are absolutely rejecting the love of God that has been revealed to them in the life, ministry and now death of Jesus. It is not the nails that are holding Jesus to the cross! It is the love that God in Jesus Christ holds in his heart for the unlovable people gathered around his cross!
When we read this passage from Matthew, we are shocked at the actions of everyone involved in the story: the soldiers, the chief priests, scribes elders, the passersby and the thieves. They are all in some way rejecting Jesus, causing him untold anguish and pain. Yet if we read it closely and with honesty, we will see ourselves standing amongst them. While we perhaps have not done it as overtly and openly as those gathered around his cross, we too have belittled and rejected much of the ministry of Jesus in our lives. Yet, the good news today is the same as it was that day on Golgotha. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
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