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Monday, November 22, 2010

11/22/10 Luke 23:32-38 The Answer to Ridicule

32 Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. 33 When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 35 The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar 37 and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
38 There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

Thoughts: It seems that the powerless feel they gain power when they are able to make fun of the powerful in a vulnerable position.  So some put others down in order to build themselves up.  The rulers, the soldiers, the robbers all made-fun of him.  He did not need to answer their mockeries, for He had answered them with his innocense, his healings, his teachings of love, and even now- the way He died, asking for forgiveness.  God always, without exception, vindicates righteousness and His own children. We can be thankful that the Lord triumphs over wrong.  As Paul says (speaking of death and sin), "Thanks be to God who gives us the victory in Jesus Christ!" (I Cor. 15:57).

Prayer:  Lord, when others deride me, help me to remember I am yours.  Help me to remember Christ's patient and forgiving example.

John Calvin abridged: Christ was placed in the center of the two robbers as if he were the Prince of Robbers. Thus Isaiah 53:12 is fulfilled that says he was "numbered with transgressors." We see Christ's love that in admitting us to the society of angels he was classed with the wicked.  The wine vinegar was not to torture Christ, but may have been a concoction to help speed up his death.  As for the gambling for his garment, which was a common action for criminals condemned to die, it is important to see the theological significance.  God determined that his own Son should be stripped of his garment, that we, clothed with righteousness and with abundance of good things, may appear with boldness in company with the angels, whereas formerly we were dressed in filthy and tattered rags and were kept back from approaching heaven.  Christ said, "Father forgive them" that we might see he was the mild and gentle Lamb.  He did not return curses for curses.  Christ saw his enemies rage against him with blind fury, and he had pity on them, even becoming their intercessor.  Believers should pray for those who persecute them, wanting their salvation, and leaving any revenge to God (1 Pt. 2:23). 

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