Jesus’ Suffering Was Real
Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”
In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. (Matthew 27:38-44)
All who see me mock me; they hurl insults, shaking their heads: “He trusts in the LORD; let the LORD rescue him. Let him deliver him, since he delights in him.” (Psalm 22:7-8)
I am an object of scorn to my accusers; when they see me, they shake their heads. (Psalm 109:25)
It appears the crowds were caught up in the moment as well, allowing their tongues to unanimously pour contempt upon Him. Ridicule is always difficultly hard to bear, but when one is in intense pain it cuts to the quick. Indeed, this was the hour when darkness reigned.
It was a great reproach to Jesus that He was crucified with actual criminals. Indeed, it was an additional insult to be crucified in the middle of them as if He were the worst of the three. He was, at His death, numbered among the transgressors so that we at our death might be numbered among the saints. It appears every circumstance was thought of for His dishonor. Yet, if there had been no cross, then we could have no crown.
Those who reign with Him must also be willing to suffer with Him. Christ and His cross are nailed together in this world. Suffering for Jesus is not to be considered accidental or a divine punishment. Believing in Christ and suffering for Him are associated with God’s grace in Scripture.
Take It to Heart
“When I survey the wondrous cross On which the Prince of glory died, My richest gain I count but loss, And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet, Sorrow and love flow mingled down! Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine, That were a present far too small; Love so amazing, so divine, Demands my soul, my life, my all.” (Isaac Watts)