Read: Mark 15:1-47
Centering Verse: Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” (Mark 15:29-30)
- Why does Jesus not defend himself against Pilate and the religious leaders?
- What teachings of Jesus do you see lived out in Jesus’s response to the way he is treated in this chapter?
- What do you think Jesus was feeling when he cried out to God, “Why have you forsaken me?”
- What does Jesus’s death mean to you?
I am glad that Jesus is not vengeful like me. If someone had taunted me the way Jesus was taunted on the cross, my first reaction would be to prove them wrong. Had Jesus done that – had he removed himself from the cross and displayed his divine might – he would have justified himself to his accusers. Yet, he also would have derailed the good plan of God that led to our freedom from sin and death. In many ways, this was the last temptation Jesus faced. It is a temptation we all face as well. In his book, Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster challenges his readers to allow God alone to be our justifier. Do not engage those who taunt you and do not work at proving yourself right. This is also agrees with Jesus’s own teaching in the Sermon on the Mount, when he advises his followers to speak truthfully and let their actions follow: “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5:37). It is difficult to live this way. It goes against every fiber of my being. But if I allow God to be my defender and justifier, then I am really admitting my lack of control and confessing my trust in God alone. The one who taught his disciples such radical trust in the Father could not take things into his own hands now; neither should we. God will not let down those who place their trust in him.
LORD God, who knows better than we do how to act and react, give us wisdom and patient endurance when we suffer. May we show kindness and holy love even to those who would do us harm. Amen.