16.01.13 Mt. 27:39-44; Lk. 23:35-37 (See also Mk. 15:29-32)
CROWD MOCKS JESUS
Mt. 39 Those who passed by were yelling insults at Him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “The One who would demolish the sanctuary and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross!”
41 In the same way the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked Him and said, 42 “He saved others, but He cannot save Himself! He is the King of Israel! Let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in Him. 43 He has put His trust in God; let God rescue Him now — if He wants Him! For He said, ‘I am God’s Son.’” 44 In the same way even the criminals who were crucified with Him kept taunting Him.
Lk. 35 The people stood watching, and even the leaders kept scoffing: “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is God’s Messiah, the Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him. They came offering Him sour wine 37 and said, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!”
Since crucifixions were public events, many of those who saw Jesus dying mocked Him and His messianic claims. The Sadducees challenged Him to come down from the cross. The imagery of Him in wrenching pain was recorded nearly a thousand years earlier by King David, as he eluded his enemies. Little did the king know that his words were prophetic.
12 Many bulls surround me;
strong ones of Bashan encircle me.
13 They open their mouths against me
Lions, mauling and roaring.
14 I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are disjointed.
My heart is like wax,
Melting within me.
15 My strength is dried up like baked clay;
My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
You put me into the dust of death.
16 For dogs have surrounded me;
a gang of evildoers has closed in on me;
they pierced my hands and my feet.
17 I can count all my bones;
people look and stare at me.
18 They divided my garments among themselves,
and they cast lots for my clothing.
“The One who would demolish the sanctuary.” This statement is attributed to the Sadducees, as they claimed the temple to be their source of authority. The ordinary Jews would never have spoken these words and the Pharisees did not have the strong affiliation to the temple, as they had many decades earlier. This phrase, concerning the temple destruction and raising it in three days, suggests that it was the powerful, motivating factor in His crucifixion.
“If You are the Son of God.” These same words were spoken by Satan when he tempted Jesus in the wilderness. Evil spirits will function through any willing vessel. These words by the chief priests, scribes, and elders – essentially the Sadducees – were radically different from the soldier who stood at the cross and realized the Jesus really was the Son of God.
“They came offering Him sour wine.” They offered Jesus a wine-vinegar mixture that included myrrh, a spice, and medicine that functioned as a painkiller. This shows that even the war-hardened Roman soldiers had compassion for the criminals.
By now Jesus was deprived of all human dignities of life; His honor and respect were lost, His disciples deserted Him, His clothes were gone, and the agony of physical and spiritual of death began to overwhelm Him. Yet in this most wretched state of existence, He offered eternal life to the two who were dying beside Him. One accepted, but the other refused. How can anyone refuse so great a salvation offered by the One with so great a compassion? Jesus became absolutely poor and destitute that believers might be made rich in and through Him forever.
. The Sadducees had control of the temple because that authority was given to them by the Romans.
. See 16.01.10; See also Ex. 30:23-24; Mt. 2:11; Mk. 15:23; Jn. 19:39-40.