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As Jesus was led to Golgotha for crucifixion a large crowd followed, full of His enemies who from hatred wanted to see Him dead; cf. 1Jo 3:15.  They hated His light, and wanted to snuff out that which shone on their darkness, but could not see the much greater light that His broken vessel would reveal; see Joh 3:19-21, Jdg 7:16-21, 2Co 4:6-12.  In addition to the chief priests, scribes and elders from the Sanhedrin who had earlier that morning condemned Him to death, there were others who had been put off by Jesus’ teaching, such as those who had borne the false testimony against Him during His inquisition in the night.  And so, as Jesus hung dying upon the cross, these who were full of the spirit of their father the devil were there to add to His affliction by hurling abuse at Him.  In this way these slaves to sin entered further into their master’s service to tempt Jesus one last time to save Himself, if He really was the Christ, the Son of God.  We ought from their example to give heed, lest we too be conscripted into the devil’s service through our own abusive language; Eph 4:26-27.

How does Luke describe the verbal abuse of those at His crucifixion?  See Luk 23:35; cf. Psa 22:7-8.  Was this the first time that the religious leaders had sneered at Jesus?  See Luk 16:14 where the same word is translated as scoffing, and note that the word used means literally to turn one’s nose up in derision.  Are we guilty of acting similarly against those with whom we disagree?  What does the example of these demonstrate about the danger of doing so?  Contrast Eph 4:29, and see Psa 2:4 for the same word in the LXX; cf. Mat 7:2, Gal 6:7, Jam 2:13.  Considering that these were religious leaders, that it was the day of preparation for their Passover, and that common sense would have told them to lay low and retire to the shadows having already obtained their desire against Jesus, in how many ways might that day have been better spent by them?  What does the fact that they began that day in condemning Jesus to death and then followed Him to His execution further testify about their hatred towards Him to want to personally witness His suffering and death and ensure the sentence was carried out?  Are there days in our own lives that might be better spent in doing good that are spent in evil?

What two positive things did the religious leaders acknowledge about Jesus, but then derisively turn around as evidence to themselves against Him?  See Mat 27:42,43, and note that trusts in Mat 27:43 means to be convinced, have confidence, and in another tense is often translated as obey, indicating the depth of trust.  What does this reveal about the envy that motivated their hatred for Jesus, that Pilate also recognized (Mat 27:18)?  Whereas saving others and demonstrating confidence in God ought to have been a sign that would especially have turned the religious leaders toward Jesus, what does the fact that it turned them away from Him remind us about the terrible sinfulness of sin?  See especially their words in Mat 27:43 and compare them with those of David’s enemies in Psa 22:8, and then consider: whether consciously referring to the scripture with which they were surely familiar in order to mock Jesus, or simply gloating from the malice of their heart, in what way did their words become a prophetic fulfillment to which they were completely blind, and that identified Jesus all the more as the promised Messiah who was both the Son of God and the Son of David?  Cf. Mat 22:41-45.  What does their deception by sin also teach us about the great danger of envy or jealousy, that earns it a place among the seven deadly sins (along with pride, greed, lust, wrath, sloth, and gluttony)?  Cf. Eze 35:3-5,11, Mar 7:22, Rom 1:29, 1Ti 6:4, Tit 3:3, 1Pe 2:1, 1Jo 3:11-13.  In what way was their offer to believe in Him if He came down from the cross and their call for God to save Jesus if He really delighted in Him a further demonstration of whose seed they were truly born of?  See Mat 4:3,6-7, 16:4.  Are we guilty of demanding signs from God before we will believe?  In what way is a Jesus that comes down from the cross the only Jesus that this world will accept and follow?  See 1Co 1:23 and note[1].

Why were the words of the religious leaders to believe in Jesus if He just gave them the sign they wanted a hollow offer?  See Luk 16:31.  Is the God of the Universe under any obligation to prove Himself to scoffers whose intent is not to know the truth but to justify their own rebellion?  See Psa 18:25-26; cf. Mat 16:4.  In what danger do those who scoff and seek signs with an impure heart put themselves?  See Isa 28:22.  Is it possible that as a decisive destruction was decreed upon the Jewish nation as its religious leaders mocked Jesus and persecuted Him to death, which then came to pass 40 years later, that a similar decisive judgment could already have been decreed against our own, and / or other nations, for their mocking and persecution of God’s servants?  Cf. 2Ch 36:16.  Should we imagine that because judgment has not already fallen upon a nation that it has therefore also not already been decreed and its inhabitants are therefore safe to continue in their sins as before?  See 2Pe 3:3-7,9; cf. Gen 6:3, Jon 3:4-10.  How should such an understanding motivate believers within those nations all the more towards true and sincere repentance?

[1] Many people would like the King of Israel well enough, if he would but come down from the cross, if they could have his kingdom without the tribulation through which they must enter into it. But the matter is settled; if no cross, then no Christ, no crown. Those that would reign with him, must be willing to suffer with him, for Christ and his cross are nailed together in this world.  Matthew Henry.

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