God Is Not Mocked

Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him. [Luke 22:63-65 ESV]

People mock that which they do not know or care to understand. People who mock think they have the upper hand over someone they consider inferior, undeserving of respect or compassion and mercy. It is the guilty who mock the innocent, the strong who mock the weak, those who have control who mock those who have no control.

It is the Jewish Temple guards and authorities who mock Jesus. Soon, the Roman guard will mock Him and put Him to death. Their mockery shows they are aware of what others have claimed about Him and what He has claimed of Himself.

Like His cousin John, Jesus was deemed a Prophet similar to those of the Hebrew Scriptures. In Hebrew history it was God’s prophets who came to the rulers and peoples of Israel and Judah telling them to stop sinning and return to worshipping only God. They stood before kings and priests, before the thrones and inside the city gates, telling all that if they did not return to worshipping only God they would die or be taken into exile to die away from their land. These who spoke for God were held in contempt because God is held in contempt. They were treated shamefully because the people did not believe their words. They did not believe God. Those who speak for God will encounter those who would silence them because of the hatred they have toward God.

Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. [Hebrews 11:36-38 ESV]

Writing through David 900 years earlier Jesus told what would happen to Him. “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; ‘He trusts in the LORD; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!’” [Psalm 22:7-8 ESV]. Pilate examined Jesus and found no guilt in Him. Pilate’s solution is to “punish and release Him” [Luke 23:22 ESV]. Pilate’s punishment is physical abuse. If Jesus is not guilty of anything why punish Him? Pilate’s punishment is a mockery.

Herod examined Jesus because he wanted to see Jesus perform a sign, a token miracle, as if Jesus were a performer sent to entertain. Jesus would not perform for Herod. “Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him” [Luke 23:11 ESV]. Pilate and Herod were enemies until they stood before the condemned Jesus. Afterward they became friends.

When Jesus was delivered over for crucifixion the Roman guard treated Him with their fullest contempt. These men were experienced at dehumanizing their prisoners and making sure they died in excruciating agony.

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him. [Matthew 27:27-31 ESV]

A sign was made and placed over Jesus as He died on the cross. “This is the King of the Jews” [Luke 23:38 ESV]. Pilate ordered the sign inscribed and placed above the condemned man. While Jesus hung on the cross many of the people there challenged Him to take Himself off the cross miraculously. Even those crucified with Him (at least one of them) suggested He save them when He saved Himself.

Jesus did not come to save Himself. Everything which happened to Jesus was predicted in the Hebrew Scriptures.

Perhaps the most insidious and disturbing evidence of hatred for God is the motives and actions of the religious leaders tasked with upholding the Law of God. In their zeal for looking superior before the people they violated the Law they were responsible for knowing and enforcing. Jesus taught against the hypocrisy of the Jewish religious leaders, quoting Isaiah written 700 years earlier, to show He knew their hearts from eternity.

So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'” [Matthew 15:6-9 ESV; quoting Isaiah 29:13]

Jesus’ life, His motives and actions, His teaching and healing, His miracles culminating in His resurrection from the dead, show He is God, the Author of the Law and the Prophets come to fulfill them. God will not be mocked.

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