Words of Faith 2-5-19
Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2019
Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL
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The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him.  They blindfolded him and demanded, "Prophesy! Who hit you?"  And they said many other insulting things to him.
Ridicule. Mocking. Beating. Insults. Luke now begins sharing with us the suffering of Jesus on our behalf. It is not a pretty picture, and yet it is the most beautiful act in all of history.
While we think of Jesus' death on the cross as the primary suffering of Jesus for our salvation, His suffering on our behalf began even before He was arrested. The first drop of His blood shed for us was actually in the Garden when during prayer "his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground."
The Gospels record that long before charges were even filed, Jesus was abused by His captors. As Jesus was awaiting an initial hearing before the Sanhedrin, he was abused by the men guarding Him. They mocked Jesus and beat Him.
Jewish law permitted public flogging of a condemned person but did not authorize the treatment described here. Taunting and beating before a person had been proved guilty in a trial was strictly prohibited. Jewish law meticulously guarded the rights of the accused and erred on the side of mercy in official decisions. The behavior described here would have revolted the Pharisees and other religious people.
The word translated "mock" means to jeer or deride. Blindfolding Jesus, they struck him demanded that He prophesy who had delivered the blow. The sad truth is that Jesus knew precisely the name of each person who persecuted Him. He knew their families. He knew their hurts and deepest sorrows. He knew the names of their children. He had known them before they were born. He could have easily called their names, but instead, He lifted their names in silent prayer.
You see, the point here is not that Jesus was helpless before these sinful men. He had delivered Himself into their hands, in His timing, and for His purpose. Jesus could have easily deflected the blows. He could have struck them all mute. Jesus clarified this in the Garden: "Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?" (Matthew 26:53). The remarkable thing here is that Jesus did not give in to the way of the world and fight back. He did not give in and mock back. From everything we know, Jesus simply prayed for those who persecuted Him (Matt. 5:44; Luke 23:34).
The world continues to mock Jesus and those who worship Him. The famous pop star Madonna traveled the world mocking the crucifixion of Jesus. Late night comedy and satire mocks the person and work of Christ on a regular basis. So-called artwork ridicules the person of Jesus. Christians are mocked and ridiculed on a regular basis on network television and in movies in ways that would never be tolerated by any other religion. But this should be no surprise. Jesus said: "Remember the words I spoke to you: 'No servant is greater than his master.' If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also..." (John 15:20).
So what do we get from this?
At the very foundation of this text is the truth that Jesus took upon Himself something that we deserved. He took on the mockery and ridicule that we would deserve for our sin. The Prophet Isaiah predicted these events. "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not" ( 53:3).
What about mockery in the arts? Speaking up is valuable. We certainly should not tune in or pay to hear our Lord ridiculed. But the primary response of Jesus was to pray for those who persecuted Him. Our most significant concern should be for the souls of those who mock the person and work of Jesus. When we are easily offended, we fall into the same trap as the religious people of Jesus' day.
We also should recognize the plight of those who go through a similar circumstance. Every day people around the world are arrested without cause or warrant. Many are beaten and mocked before they ever have a hearing. This should deeply offend us for many reasons but mostly because this is the way that Jesus was treated. This is not an expression of Christian values.
Lord Jesus, thank You for what You did for me. Thank you for taking the mocking and ridicule I deserved. Thank You for taking the blows and insults that were mine. Thank You for praying for those who persecuted You. Give me the grace to do the same. Help me to see the eternal value of each soul, even those who disparage Your name. I lift these to You for Your intervention and salvation. Help me to speak up at the right times on behalf of those who unjustly accused and abused. In Jesus' name.