April 9, 2017 – Jesus’ Final Hours: Mocked
Preacher: Rev. Scott Strickman
Sermon Series: Lent/Easter
Mark 15:16-32 (ESV)
16 And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.
21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. 22 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25 And it was the third hour when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.
The mocking of Jesus is an important element in the Gospel story and mockery is a human problem that God uniquely addresses.
- mocking Jesus manifests a serious problem that is still passed around in an endless cycle
- v29, 31 those mocked by Rome (v26) have contempt instead of compassion
- mocking Jesus signals one of the chief ways we try to deal with deep human problems, but mockery is a desperate, ineffective and unjust approach
- those with power (v16, the battalion), and even those without (v32, those crucified), participating in putting Jesus down
- our ignorance keeps us from the very solution we need, and yet God provides that solution
- Jesus’ suffering is according to God’s plan (Psalm 22), but everyone completely misunderstands (v30, 32), calling for Jesus to save himself rather than recognizing how he might save them
Questions for Reflection
- Have you ever been ridiculed, made fun of, mocked? How did it make you feel, and what impression did it have on you? How has that experience shaped you (did it make you better as a person, or create problems)?
- Marriage expert John Gottman says contempt is one of the most serious signs of a deep problem in a relationship. Where do you see attitudes of contempt in your own heart? In what ways have you felt or experienced contempt towards God? Towards people in the church? What teachings of Jesus train us in an attitude that is very different from that of contempt?
- Putting other people down (insulting them, gossiping about them, grumbling, etc.) is a misguided way of dealing with our own struggles. How can you think wisely when you are inclined to put others down? How can you change your actions? How can you tend to your heart (deal with your own shame, rather than letting it fuel your actions)?
- The Gospels emphasize Jesus being mocked as an important part of his suffering. How does his humiliation and shame fulfill the words of Psalm 22? What does it mean that Jesus bares our shame and humiliation, taking it from us and suffering it for us? How can the gospel set you free from specific struggles?
Prayer of Confession
Our Father, while we may be tempted to distance ourselves from the generation who rejected Jesus, we recognize that we aren’t very different from those who mocked and ridiculed him. Our self confidence often outweighs our faith in you, our longing to magnify ourselves is greater than our instinct to magnify you, and we are those who test you, demanding you prove yourself to us. Forgive our lack of respect and reverence for you. Thank you for your mercy, as you show grace even to those who mock you, and for inviting us to put aside our foolish and confused hostility and to follow Jesus in the way of love and life. Amen.