Tuesday, July 31, 2018


As they went out, they came upon a man from Cyrene named Simon; they compelled this man to carry Jesus’ cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his clothes among themselves by casting lots; then they sat down there and kept watch over him. Over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”
Then two bandits were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he wants to; for he said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” The bandits who were crucified with him also taunted him in the same way. Matthew 27:32-44 
We humans love to taunt those who have fallen down, those who have been caught in a foolish position, and the one s who made false claims. Some bullies in school love to put the weak and vulnerable in compromised positions and invite their class mates to laugh and tease. It is part of our worst nature as humans, the need to call names from a safe place. We revel in others' pain and it is not a thing of beauty at all, but we continue to enjoy their downfalls, their crucifixions, even when they are innocent of any crime.
We find Jesus surrounded with the worst of human nature. Pilate has washed his hands of the situation, side stepping his duty and letting mob rule take over. The soldiers and citizens bands together as cruel abusers, while leadership looked away. They taunted Jesus and beat him bloody and finally nailed him to a cross. Much like the lynching of too recent history in our country, one was suffering for the hate and loathing of a  whole nation while leadership looked the other way. Yet from the cross only love is visible. Even there God shed light on our worst nature and brought love where there was only destruction and abuse.
Today, I ask God to help me never look away and to intervene whenever necessary. May we all take our responsibility seriously. May we be those who move beyond our basest human nature demonstrating the transforming power of the love of God.

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