As Jesus hung dying on the cross Scripture tells us that He was mocked and ridiculed. Even after praying for God to forgive those who had done these horrible things to Him, we read these words in Luke’s gospel, “The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen one”. The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself,”(Luke 23:35-37 NIV). I can’t imagine that the folks who mocked and ridiculed Jesus on the cross realized they were fulfilling prophecy by their very statements, but that’s exactly what they were doing. Predictive prophecy is one of the strongest proofs of the legitimacy of the Christian faith. The victim on the cross described by David a thousand years before the events stated, “But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by men and despised by the people. 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 NIV). We again see this fulfilled in Matthew’s gospel where we read the chief priest's statement, “He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, “I am the Son of God”, (Matthew 27:43 NIV).
As Jesus hung on the cross the crowds were mocking His faith since the Lord was not rescuing Him. Down through the ages many have been despised and have had scorn heaped upon them because of their witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. It’s possible for us, like David or Jesus, to begin to feel like a worm. When we are treated by others with contempt because of our faith we need to keep our eyes focused on the Lord Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:1-3). When we feel the sting of rejection because of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ we must keep in mind that the whole victory belongs to God. At this moment on the cross Jesus seems to lose all hope and views Himself as a complete reproach. In biblical times it’s important to consider what they did with worms. They put them in a large vat and squeezed the blood out of them and then used the worm’s blood as a special dye for royal robes for kings and queens. Think of what the shed blood of Jesus has done for each of us in making us children of the King. He was “crushed for our iniquities” so that we may dwell forever in His kingdom.
Another important aspect of Jesus' suffering on our behalf is found in the book of Hebrews. In Hebrews 4 we read these amazing words, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV). Most ancient rulers and in modern-day powerful people in government are unapproachable by anyone but their highest advisors. Yet the Word of God tells us that we can approach the throne of God’s grace with confidence. We can do so because we have a High Priest who has experienced the full range of temptations and struggles in His humanity so that He can sympathize with us in our struggles and temptations. His struggle and suffering then gives us free and bold access to Jesus as our friend and counselor. Because of what Jesus has done on our behalf we can bring our deepest needs and struggles to him. Let’s make sure that we are utilizing the resource of prayer and coming with reverence before our King, who is also our High Priest, who intercedes on our behalf before the Father’s throne. We should especially come to Him “in our time of need” as the writer of Hebrews suggests. Do you have any needs that you need to bring to your High Priest? I sure do!
Your Fellow Servant in Christ,
Pastor Rich Sivo