And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, "Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!" So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, "He saved others; he cannot save himself.”
When I read the crucifixion accounts, this is the part of the story that tears at me the most. Human nature resorts to cruel treatment of others as a matter of course. But to have the very Son of God treated with such contempt. scorn, and mockery is the ultimate human insult to God.
I am by nature a selfish person. And when that meets my sarcastic sense of humor, watch out. I can say some pretty mean stuff. I suppose that is why reading this part of the story impacts me. Outside the grace of God, I would probably react similarly. I am a wicked man in need of the salvation that Jesus brings at the cross. In a sense, many objectors to the Christian faith do the same kind of mocking today. Jesus is mocked by secularists, the faith is maligned as anemic and a psychological crutch by the intellectual guardians of our humanist culture. The mocking continues at every level when Christians themselves are maligned for the sake of the gospel.
The real power of the gospel accounts of Jesus’ death is that Jesus was taking upon Himself the guilt of the very mockery that was happening to Him at the moment. He was dying for the sarcastic ridicule heaped upon Him. He was suffering in order to offer forgiveness for the very acts they were doing as He way dying. No wonder we call it “amazing grace”! This is why He could graciously pray, “Father, forgive them…”