“He is worthy of death,” they answered.
Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”Matthew 26:66-68
When Jesus was arrested and on trial, they made all kinds of false accusations about Him. But noticed how they mock Him. In each case of mocking, the irony is the element of truth that they don’t understand and can’t see. Here they mocked Jesus as a prophet with the ability to prophesy, yet Jesus knew exactly what was going to happen. Jesus had already talked to the Father about it in the Garden of Gethsemane. But the mocking would continue.
They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.Matthew 27:28-31
At His trial, the Jewish leaders mocked Him as a prophet. Here soldiers mock Jesus as a king. They dress Him in mock royal garb as they abused Him and beat Him. Again, the irony is the truth that they can’t see. This was the King of Kings that they were mocking. And the mocking would continue.
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”Matthew 27:39-43
After Jesus is crucified and hanging on the cross, people walking by and the religious leaders mock Him. There are two things that are getting mocked here. The first is the claim that Jesus is the Son of God. The second is about His priestly role and His relationship with the Temple. As the Son of God He went around healing many people, but here He wasn’t willing to heal Himself. He is Savior of the world, but here He wasn’t willing to save Himself.
The mockers didn’t know the irony of what they were saying. By not coming down from the cross Jesus was proving Himself to be the Son of God who lives in perfect obedience to the Father. By not saving Himself, He was saving the world. Jesus did trust His Father and Father God would rescue Him, but not from the cross. Soon Jesus would be totally victorious over death and the grave.
They mocked Him for not destroying the temple, but they didn’t know they were watching the temple be destroyed (His body) right before their eyes. They mocked Him for not rebuilding the temple in three days, but that is exactly what was about to happen in three days when Jesus walked out of the tomb.
All of this exposes the irony of the mockery that Jesus endured. People only mocked because they couldn’t see the truth that was right in front of them. This is often the case with those who mock Christians and Christianity today. Mockery comes from the prideful assumption that a person has the full grasp of the truth. But we see here that those who were mocking were blind to the full truth of what was right in front of them.
Being mocked by those who only see a sliver of truth is and has always been a normal part of a life of following Jesus. If we are stepping out in faith to do what Jesus asks us to do, we will likely be mocked. We shouldn’t be surprised by this. If the world mocked Jesus, they will mock His followers. If we aren’t doing anything for Jesus that opens us up to mocking attacks, we likely are settling for a nominal kind of Christian life. Mocking is one of the languages of the enemy.