Matthew 27:32-44 – The High Road

Read Matthew 27:32-44

Oh the bullying that went on that day! From the over the top arrest, to the laughable trial, to the mockery and treacherous abuse. Now we see people down right bullying Jesus. What does he do? He takes the ‘high road’ and avoids the confrontation. God knows the truth. But oh for the disillusioned people!

Reading about Jesus’ crucifixion always elicits extreme emotion for me. Whether I see it enacted on the screen or simply read the words, I am moved. Many times, I’m moved to weeping. The “ugly cry” you might say. “God love me that much,” I think to myself. How do we respond to a text such as this?

Each sentence is a scene in and of itself. Imagine Jesus carrying the heavy burden of the cross after he had just been beaten. And then we meet Simon, an angel to be sure. “After they nailed him to the cross,” is another sentence that just takes my breath away. We know the death sentence, and yet imagining the nails piercing his hands and feet, the sound of metal on metal for each blow of the hammer. Frightening. Oh the pain!

Such a cruel way to die. While waiting for his life to be over, Jesus had to endure the bullying. We all know that God was more than capable of doing all the things the people were saying. Yet, it was not God’s plan to do those things. God wasn’t about to satisfy men’s desires for a little showmanship at the expense of their very soul.

Jesus had to die.

But then would we have seen it as such a sacrifice. Our sins had to be smashed. It was all for us. Every last blow. But don’t you just think that Jesus wanted to tell them all to just “shut up!” It had to be excruciating to hang there and hear those words. I’m sure he wanted to defend his Father in heaven as well.

Lots of people are bullied every day. It’s painful. It’s wrong. If people could just mind their own business and speak only words of affirmation or positivity. Why do our brains go to the negative? Why do we tear each other down instead of build them up? I don’t have the answer, do you?

Take some time today to reflect on Jesus’ final hours. What was he thinking? How did he overcome the mockery and keep his mouth shut? Revel in the truth that he loved YOU that much. In the same manner, think about your encounters with other people. Are you compassionate, positive, encouraging, and affirming? Can you do a better job of being in relationship with other people?

Let’s pray. Lord, this is a hard passage to read. It really strikes a chord in me to be more loving to others. I don’t want to sound like those people who were mocking and totally unappreciative. I want the words that come out of my mouth to always be uplifting and positive. This includes how I treat myself. I tend to be hardest on myself, Lord. Help me with that. Above all, I am so grateful for what you endured for me. The agony had a purpose. I am forgiven and free – thanks be to God! In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

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