The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. Mark 15, verses 16-20.
When was the last time you mocked Jesus?
My grandfather was one of the most faithful Lutheran men I have ever known. He was a big farmer businessman from Minnesota, and (especially towards the end of his life) he took his faith seriously. I looked up to him (literally); you could say he was one of my heroes. He was also one of the most profane men ever. The name of Christ sometimes rolled off his tongue seemingly without thought or effort. Was he careless or was he mocking Jesus?
And then there are the Sopranos. My wife and I watched almost every episode of the show back when it was still in first release. For awhile, we kept an episode-by-episode running total of how many F-bombs were dropped. The name of the Lord was also extensively misused (very often in the same sentence as those F-bombs). Were they mocking Jesus or was it just graphic television?
During this political season, it seems to be open season on ‘evangelicals.’ Not that evangelicals are being physically targeted (except for their votes). No, it seems like every political pundit is talking about how X candidate can get the ‘evangelical vote.’ It’s as if this bloc of voters is monolithic, without individuality, and will only vote for someone who is perfectly suited to how they worship Jesus. All too often, the pundits and commentators seem to deride evangelicals in trying to depict and predict them. Are they deliberately mocking or are they just being journalists?
But let’s not get too wrapped around the axle. You don’t need to be a Harold Stassen Republican farmer, James Gandolfini, or someone paid by MSNBC to mock Jesus. And you don’t need to act like one of the guards who flogged, tortured, and humiliated Him in the hours before He died on the cross. It’s true, they mocked Jesus intensely. I never dragged anyone who’s just been beaten half to death. I never spit on someone, or rammed a crown of thick thorns into their scalp. I’ve never beaten anyone with a long stick, or pretended to worship someone. They did and I didn’t have to.
This isn’t a guilt trip for you; it’s simply a statement of the truth. When I’ve judged my brother or sister who cut me off in traffic, was overweight, or was simply different from me, I’ve mocked Jesus. When you brag endlessly about how great you are and all the things you’ve done here on the Third Rock, you’re mocking Jesus. When Trump and Obama are just being themselves, they’re mocking Jesus. Look at porn, scream at the neighbors, don’t trust Him, “yeah I know but:” they’re all small ways we mock Jesus just as realistically as if we had been there in the Praetorium.
Lord Jesus, I’m truly sorry for the times I have mocked You. Forgive me and renew me to do better.
Read Mark 15, verses 16-47.