Thursday's Reading: Luke 22:47-23:16
Have you ever been ridiculed, made fun of, or humiliated? I've certainly embarrassed myself on more than one occasion, but it's quite a different experience to be the object of ridicule.
I remember being in a Doctor's office when I was a little boy and on that particular day, I wasn't wearing shoes. I owned shoes but chose not to wear them; it was summertime! But an older girl sitting in the waiting room, directly across from me, giggled and whispered to her mother while pointing at my dirty feet. I felt uneasy, knowing I was being mocked. It's interesting that I still remember that scene some fifty years later; I think most of us remember times when we’ve felt embarrassed or ashamed.
In the passages we read today for our devotional, on Thursday of the Passion Week, we find Jesus being tried before His accusers. He knew since the prior evening in Gethsemane that there would be no escape from this terrible journey to the Cross. Since being arrested, He has been ridiculed, mocked, reproached unjustly, and prodded to admit to crimes He did not commit. Pilate marveled that Jesus made no reply to their charges.
I find it ironic that the Jewish leaders were so determined to see Jesus murdered that they had no self-awareness of their own sin. John writes of this in chapter 18, verse 28 of his Gospel account: Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. They are unjustly accusing a man of murder and handing him over to their arch enemy, the Romans, but do not consider themselves “unclean!” It’s often that way for those who comfortably sit in the seat of mockers. They see the faults and pitiful condition of others while being blind to their own shortcomings.
If things weren’t already bad enough, Pilate attempted to “pawn off” the problem of Jesus to Herod Antipas, who only wanted to see Jesus perform tricks for him, like a circus monkey. As the religious leaders continued to accuse and mock Jesus, Herod joined the ridicule, dressing Jesus in a pompous robe and sending Him back to Pilate. Luke records that this shameful spectacle served to forge a friendship between Pilate and Herod that day… how weird is that!
Imagine the shouts of accusation, the spitting, the hitting, the scowls, the chants of hatred, then remember… this was God. He became one of us and endured the humiliation and shame on our behalf. There was no other who could take our place. By His own testimony, Jesus could have asked the Father to send legions of angels to rescue Him, but He didn’t. The Scriptures had to be fulfilled… for us.
The old hymn sings loudly what our hearts feel when we realize the depth of His disgrace: “Man of sorrows, what a name… Hallelujah! What a Savior!”
This week we invite you and your family to take a trip with us. Place a suitcase/bag where it can be seen all week and each day we will add a new item to it. For parent introduction and a list of items to be gathered before you begin, visit Journey with Jesus.
Day 5: Journey with Jesus
Add to the suitcase: a rope or handcuffs
Read: Mark 14:43–46
Process and discuss together:
- What does this tell us about Jesus?
- What does it tell us about ourselves?
- How should we follow Jesus today because of this scripture?
- Who could you tell this story to?
- Pray together.