“Scenes from the passion” devotion for Saturday, March 20, 2021. Original art by Susan Zendt (c) 2001.
And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. 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. (Mark 15:16-20)
Jesus has been handed over to the soldiers who will crucify him. But before they do, they get their whole battalion together to dress him up like a king, hit him, spit on him, and mock him.
Why would they do that? Why would hundreds of soldiers shout and humiliate an already beaten and bloody man? Just for fun? Because they could? Because it gave them some sense of satisfaction?
Why do any of us make fun of someone else? Ooh, ooh, I know (raising hand enthusiastically). Because it makes me feel better about myself. If I can put someone else down, I can boost my own self-esteem. I hate admitting that, but I know it’s true. So do you. You and I know how to tear anyone down, no matter how successful, popular, or pathetic they may be.
The second commandment supposedly protects the name of God. Yet his name is still mocked, used in jokes and misused in all sorts of creative ways. And we laugh. The jokes are funny. But at the end of the day, when everyone has had their fun, Jesus still ends up on the cross. He is still crucified for those who make fun of him, pretend to worship him, and laugh at jokes about him.
These verses make me seriously think about those times when I tease, make fun of, or tease someone. What is really going on there? Am I investing in my self-esteem at the expense of someone else’s? Isn’t the source of my worth God’s love for me? Do I really need to cut someone down in order to lift myself up?
Or can I humble myself and let him exalt me?
Heavenly Father, I am so sorry that I am so willing to make fun of those whom you treasure. Forgive me and help me see the worth of others. And thank your for loving me. Amen.