Saturday 30 December, 2017

Mark 15:21-32

21 A man named Simon was passing by. He was from Cyrene. He was the father of Alexander and Rufus. Simon was on his way in from the country. The soldiers forced him to carry the cross. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha. The word Golgotha means the Place of the Skull. 23 Then they gave him wine mixed with spices. But he did not take it. 24 They nailed him to the cross. Then they divided up his clothes. They cast lots to see what each of them would get. 25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 They wrote out the charge against him. It read, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27-28 They crucified with him two rebels against Rome. One was on his right and one was on his left. 29 Those who passed by shouted at Jesus and made fun of him. They shook their heads and said, “So you are going to destroy the temple and build it again in three days? 30 Then come down from the cross! Save yourself!” 31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law made fun of him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said. “But he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross! When we see that, we will believe.” Those who were being crucified with Jesus also made fun of him.

What humiliation Jesus faced. Every action happening around Him was shouting that Jesus was absolutely nothing, a complete and utter joke. A waste. The soldiers were gambling for His clothes beneath Him, and the onlookers were busy mocking Him… Here Jesus was making the greatest sacrifice the world will ever see, demonstrating God’s unconditional love, and we treated it like garbage. In our eyes it was humorous entertainment.

In that moment (if not many times before) I would have given up on humanity and said stuff it, you’re not worth it, I’m walking away and you can live in the hell of your own making. You’re on your own. I cannot conceive of God’s incredible love, His patience (long-suffering) and His willingness to give up His beloved Son (blameless, worthy) for a people (sin-stained, unworthy) who did not value Him and to this day make fun of Him. How could God be so generous to a people so undeserving? How foreign a love so selfless and freely given… no resentment from God… just open arms…

God, my mind cannot make sense of your extravagant love. That you consider us worthy is mind-boggling. Thank you for loving me and for not giving up on humanity. Help me to receive your extravagant love for myself and to give it away. Amen.

Written by Bethany Waugh

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