Matthew 27:26-44; Luke 23:39-43 (spring AD 30, Friday of Passion Week)
How did Jesus suffer in these verses? Let us count the ways:
- Whipped (Matt 27:26)
- Put a crown of thorns on his head (Matt 27:29)
- Spat on him (Matt 27:30)
- Beat him over the head with a large stick (Matt 27:30)
- Mocked him about who he claimed to be (Matt 27:31)
- Carried his cross out of the city towards the hill of his execution, until he couldn’t carry it any more (Matt 27:31-32)
- Nailed him to a cross while flat on the ground, then pulled the cross up to vertical, securing it in a hole in the ground so that his body weight was supported entirely by his nailed hands and feet (Matt 27:36)
- Mocked him about who he claimed to be (Matt 27:37)
- Crucified alongside common criminals (Matt 27:38)
- Sneered at by the religious leaders (Matt 27:41-43)
- Insulted by initially both, then just one of the criminals (Luke 23:39, Matt 27:44)
- Insulted by passers-by, and mocked about who he claimed to be (Matt 27:39-40)
Read the passage once, then re-read it with a careful to eye to these different ways in which Jesus suffered. Note the variety of people who were part of making that happen, even while he was on the cross.
Then consider that – at any time – Jesus could have come down and saved himself the torment, but he didn’t.
Somewhere between Matthew 27:44 and Luke 23:39-43, one of the criminals changed from a mocker to a repentant sinner begging Jesus for grace. Jesus, with overwhelming problems of his own, had compassion on him and promised him forgiveness and salvation.
What measure of man is it, who could be suffering as Jesus was suffering, and then show the compassion and mercy that Jesus showed?
That man is Jesus. And it takes the same volume of compassion and mercy to save you and me, as it took to save the criminal.
Think on what that means. Try to wrap your mind around the love it takes to respond the way Jesus did to that man. The way Jesus responds to you.