Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Mark 15:29-34: Holy Week and Christ's Amazing Love

Mark 15:29-34 (GNT): Holy Week
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).

Mark gives us this raw image of humiliation and mockery that Jesus undergoes. In Mark's gospel, we do not get the good thief and Jesus' offer of paradise. Instead, we get, "Those crucified with him also heap insults on him." Amazingly, Jesus was dying for them.  He was reconciling the mocking crowd in the midst of their mockery.  I don't like to think about my own sins. Who does?  But this passage reminds me that no matter how hard I try to be like Jesus, there are times when I, too, mock him on the cross. Whether it is internal irritation and resentment toward someone, arguing with with my family, or sometimes being indifferent, my shortcomings amount to insults hurled at the cross. Through the love of Christ, however, we need not despair.  On Calvary, Jesus offers himself to the Father because no matter how hard we try, we cannot reconcile ourselves; the Old Covenant proves that. In the hymn "And Can it be Said That I Should Gain," Charles Wesley reminds us about the amazing love of God embodied in Christ crucified:

Died He for me, who caused His pain-
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?