A Good Friday message – A mocking spirit

Based on Mark chapter 15, verses 16-32

Over the time of Jesus’ arrest, trial and crucifixion, a mocking spirit prevailed.

Have you noticed how flocks of crows/rooks/seagulls circle around looking for somewhere to land?  It is as if they are waiting for one bird to take the lead, and as soon as one does, the rest fly in to land.  The mocking of Jesus started in private (v16-20).  There we read how soldiers led Jesus away to the palace, where they mocked Him privately.  In the 16 verses from v16-32 Jesus is mocked again, again and again!

First by passers-by:

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!’

Then by the chief priests and the teachers of the law

31In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can’t save himself!  32Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.’

Finally, those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.”

This was public humiliation of the highest order!  All could hear the words of the passers-by.  That was their aim, for all to hear. 

Did you notice how the chief priests and the teachers of the law “mocked Jesus among themselves.”  I expect they did so in order for others to hear.

Finally, Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.”  All very public. 

To me, “hurling insults” means you want it to stick on the person you are insulting.  Heaping insults implies an excessive amount of insults were aimed at Jesus.  This was a prolonged attack!  The mocking spirit was having a field day, believing that the victory belonged to their boss, the devil, satan.

What were they mocking?  They were mocking God’s greatest gift to us, His Son Jesus Christ.

Have you hurled and heaped insults on others? 

Have you circled around like a flock of crows/rooks/seagulls waiting to get in there with an insult? 

Perhaps you’re the first one to land a punch, and as soon as you do, those with you soon join in and the insults come flying in from all directions!

But how did this make you feel?  Did you feel justified, and proud; thinking, “They deserved that”!  A little while later, how did you feel?  Regret at what you said?  Ashamed, remorseful?  Words spoken in haste and judgement are very hard to undo.

Perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end of insults and mocking.  How did it make you feel?  Belittled?  Insignificant?  Of no value?  Worthless?

An insult can be interpreted as an attempt to reduce the status of the recipient and raise the relative status of the insulter.  The insults from the chief priests and the teachers of the law were no doubt motivated by anger surrounding issues of their sense of insecurity – Jesus was more popular than them.

The truth is this: mocking others is a sin.

Thankfully Jesus could take it.  Yet, we had a part to play in the drama of that afternoon because our sins were on the cross too.  Jesus bore all our sin on the cross, all our mocking of who He is, so that we can enjoy and experience the Father’s love for us personally.  The penalty of our sin was paid for by His horrible, tortuous and painful death.  But as with all sin to be free from it means that we first have to recognise and acknowledge when we’ve sinned through insulting others, then repent of this sin with a sincere and contrite heart.  Anything else is folly.

Finally, we are to replace the insulting, mocking spirit, with its opposite – praise!  The enemy hates praise of God.  He can’t stand it at all.  It’s so bad to him that his only option is to flee.

When we commend someone, acclaim them, endorse them, honour them, hail them, we are praising them, and the mocking spirit has to go.  When we do this God sees from heaven and praises and blesses us for such an attitude and effective strategy against a mocking spirit.