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King of the Jews: Lenten Devotions

Monday, April 11

Crown of thorns We continue following the story of Jesus’ final hours, as recorded in the Gospel of Mark, with Mark 15:25-32 (NRSV).

It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left.

Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!”

In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him.

So many witnesses to the crucifixion devised their own test for Jesus to prove his deity. What tests do we ourselves design for God?

To the chief priests observing the crucifixion, Jesus’ inability to save himself was a sign of his failure. Why is so much importance attached to self-preservation? Do we make similar judgments?

Jesus was crucified alongside common criminals. How much do we allow association to color our image of Jesus? Others?

This passage ends by telling us that those who were crucified with Jesus also taunted him. When we are hurt or wronged, what is our attitude toward others who are wronged?

David Maus is Upper Midwest and Plains field organizer for Bread for the World.

Photo credit: snow41


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