Mocking the Truth
A. The Crucifixion
1. Have you ever noticed that the Bible does not focus on the physical aspects of Christ’s suffering on the Cross?
a) You can be sure that it is there every time the Bible says, “they crucified Him”!
b) “excruciating” = “out of the cross”
c) The Bible also does not focus on the details of His scourging.
d) It gives us no description whatsoever.
e) There are no adjectives, no descriptive phrases, and there is no discussion as to what crucifixion was.
2. But what is carefully described, especially here in Mark’s Gospel, is the blasphemous mockery that was launched at the mock trial in the courtyard and the hall of Caiaphas’ house and followed all the way to the Cross.
a) This issue of mocking God’s Truth is a very serious issue.
b) And it continues in the world today.
I. The Irony of Mockery
A. What is mockery?
1. Mocking God is to deny His Truth, His Law, His Word – His Son
2. The great irony is that the One they are all mocking is the only One who can save them!
3. The same is true today for all those who mock the Truth of Jesus Christ and who He is and what He has done for them in taking away their sin!
B. The Mockers
a) Pilate gets his petty revenge against the Jewish leaders, and he drags it out in three languages, “This is Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.”
(1) John tells us in John 19, Pilate wrote an inscription, put it on the cross, “Jesus of Nazareth. The king of the Jews.”
(2) Verse 20, “Therefore, many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.”
(3) So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The king of the Jews’ but that He said, “I am king of the Jews.”
(4) Then Pilate said his famous words – “What I have written, I have written.”
b) The irony here is that Pilate wrote what may be the first Christian sermon by a Gentile and published it in three languages!
(1) What he wrote in Latin, and in Hebrew, and in Koine Greek (the common language of the whole civilized western world) confessed to the world the truth that Jesus of Nazareth is King of the Jews.
(2) Pilate in mocking the truth actually told the truth!
2. The Soldiers
a) By the soldiers Jesus is being treated with scorn and mockery and as much cruel disdain as can possibly be imagined.
(1) He has been punched in the face, slapped in the face, spit on, mocked as a king by having a crown of thorns crushed into His brow.
(2) They treat Him with such dishonor and shame and hatred, that it never ceases to shock me.
b) The great irony is that these Roman soldiers who bowed before Jesus in mockery and scorn will one day bow their knee before Him and confess with their tongues that Jesus is Lord!
3. Chief Priests and Scribes
a) But the greatest irony of mockery is from Jesus’ bitterest enemies – the High Priests and Scribes.
(1) Verse 31. “In the same way also the high priests with the scribes are mocking to one another and were saying, “He saved others, He is not able to save Himself.”
(2) The irony is that in saying this they were speaking the truth of the gospel.
(3) To them that was the greatest contempt, but to us it means eternal life!
b) Then in verse32, “Let this Christ, the King of Israel come down now from the Cross, so that we may see and believe.”
(1) To the very end they wanted yet another sign that would compel them, force them, constrain them, and to the end, Jesus would not give it to them.
(2) To the High Priests and Scribes, nothing happened.
(3) To me it was eternal life.
(4) Jesus’ very throne and Kingdom are because He didn’t.
(5) He could not save Himself, if He was to save us.
a) Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, ‘Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross.’
(1) John tells us that Jesus was crucified outside the city walls yet near to them.
(2) This hostile mob that was passing by seized on what Jesu had said that caught everyone’s attention: He said “destroy this Temple and I’ll raise it up again in three days.”
(3) They had forgotten His beatitude and parables, but they remembered part of what He said except what they said is not what Jesus said!
b) Derided him, hurled abuse at Him, railed at Him.
(1) The word translated “hurled abuse”, or “derided him” is actually the Greek word blasphemeo, the verbal form of the noun blasphemy (14:64).
(2) It is the Greek word blasphēmṓ = blasphemed = To smite with reports or words, speak evil of, slander, rail
(3) It is ironic that the One who spoke the Truth and was falsely accused of blasphemy became the object of blasphemy.
(4) In John 2:19 Jesus actually said: “You destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
(5) They said “You are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days.”
(6) The truth that they mocked in blasphemy was that they would destroy the temple of His body – and God will raise it up in three days.
5. The thieves on the crosses
a) “Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him.”
(1) The thieves also reviled Jesus.
(2) Luke says one of the thieves said, echoing the Sanhedrin, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us.”
(3) It’s all mockery and they joined in on it.
(4) They were caught up in the ridicule, even in the midst of imminent death.
(5) Without thinking they repeated the things that they heard others saying.
b) So many people mock the truth of Jesus in the same way today.
c) They simply repeat what they hear others saying.
II. Some See the Truth
A. The Thief on the Cross
1. The great irony here is that Jesus did save one of the thieves – the one who turned to Jesus and believed!
a) But then something very dramatic happened.
b) One of those thieves was literally taken captive by the power of God.
c) And in a moment, that thief said to the other thief, “Why are you doing that? We’re getting what we deserve. But this righteous man has done nothing.”
d) And he says to Jesus, “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
e) And he affirms a belief in Christ and in a belief in Christ’s future life on the other side of death where He is the King, and the thief’s conversion takes place.
f) In that very moment we see the conversion of a blasphemer!
2. How powerful is the cross?
a) So powerful that those who were there at the time, blaspheming Jesus in His face, were redeemed.
b) In Acts 6:7 many of the priests came to faith in Christ.
c) They were forgiven.
d) What had happened that caused them to turn away from their mocking and blasphemy to be saved by Jesus Christ?
e) It was the Resurrection! And we need to turn mockers today toward the resurrection! They have no answer for it because it clearly tells the Truth about who Jesus is!
B. The Centurion – v. 39
39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
1. The centurion was bound to be a thoughtful and honest man.
a) He was in charge of the crucifixion and was responsible for overseeing all that took place.
b) As all these events unfolded at the cross, he was standing there watching and listening.
c) He was striken more and more with the claim of Jesus and the way in which the events were happening.
2. When Jesus shouted from the Cross that His purpose was finished, that His death was the climax of His purpose upon earth, the centurion was convinced.
a) The Holy Spirit showed him clearly that Jesus’ death was purposeful and that sealed his conviction.
b) God quickened the soldier’s heart to the glorious truth: “Truly this man was the Son of God.”
3. The Centurion said, “Truly this man was the Son of God.”
4. And you and I will meet this Centurion and the thief from the cross in heaven.
III. Why Does God Allow Mockery?
A. Mockers Today
1. 2 Peter 3:3-4 American Standard Version (ASV) knowing this first, that in the last days mockers shall come with mockery, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for, from the day that the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
a) Jude 1:18 that they were saying to you, “In the last time there will be mockers, following after their own ungodly lusts.”
b) Just think of all the mockery of the truth of Jesus Christ that is going on in the world today!
2. Why doesn’t God come down and kill these blaspheming sinners?
a) Answer: Because God was pleased to kill His Son for those sinners.
(1) Isaiah 53:10 “It pleased God to crush Him.”
(2) God was pleased to crush Him- Why?
(3) Because the whole purpose of redemption was for God to give to Christ a redeemed humanity.
(4) People saved out of every generation of history.
(5) That was to be God’s gift of love to His Son, a redeemed people who would spend forever with Him, loving Him, serving Him, praising Him, honoring Him, reflecting His glory throughout all eternity.
(6) That’s the Father’s love gift to the Son.
b) In order for the Father to be able to give that gift to the Son, the Son had to bear the punishment for those who make up that gift on the cross.
(1) So it pleased the Father to crush the One who pleased Him so that He could forgive the ones who displeased Him.
(2) Not just for their sake but for the Son’s sake, so that He could give them to the son as His eternal inheritance.
(3) Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
(4) Peter says, “He bore in His own body our sins on the tree.”
(5) Paul says, “He took the curse for us.”
c) God punishes Jesus so that the blasphemers can be forgiven and He shows us that with one thief and a Centurion, and with priests and three thousand more.
B. God is not mocked! – Galatians 6:7
1. Galatians 6:7, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
a) Mocking God means disrespecting, dishonoring, denying or ignoring His existence.
b) It is a serious offense committed by those who do not accept God’s truth of who they are.
c) David describes them as wicked because there is “no fear of God before [their] eyes” (Psalm 36:1).
d) But God is not mocked for long and eventually there will be consequences for such behavior
2. Even though we have the ability to mock God, we need to be aware that it will have eternal repercussions.
a) Galatians 6:7 says: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
b) People may be able to mock God now, but we will reap the consequences later.
c) You should never mock God!
d) God has given us the incredible opportunity to have a personal relationship with Him through His Son, Jesus Christ, who died on the Cross, was buried, and on the third day arose from the dead!
3. A person mocks God when they think they can live apart from his laws.
a) When they deny the truth of who God says they are, they mock God.
b) When they deny the truth of God’s Word, they mock God.
c) They mock God if they think they can jump out of a tree and defy the law of gravity.
d) They mock God if they think they can fool God because they can fool others.
e) They mock God if they think they are more intelligent, more progressive, or more advanced than God’s Word.
f) They mock God’s word if they try to change it.
4. Every farmer understands the laws of nature and works accordingly.
a) God can forgive a sin, and remove our punishment, but the consequences of our choices remain.
b) We can choose not to love a person and God can forgive our sin, but there is still a broken heart and a damaged witness.
c) God can forgive sexual sin, but there are still people who have been hurt, disease that has spread, and even children born, or aborted.
5. God loves all of us and wants us to spend our days on earth led by His Holy Spirit.
a) He gave us Scripture so we can understand how to live our earthly lives and how to live one day in heaven.
b) God’s word, like God, cannot be mocked.
c) You cannot mock God’s Truth without consequences.
C. The Mercy of God
1. “How does God hold back – how does God restrain Himself?”
a) This is His beloved Son, in whom He is well pleased.
b) Shouldn’t the blasphemy of mocking God’s Truth be instantly responded to by God?
c) Shouldn’t those who carry out this scorn at the expense of the blessed Son of God would be instantly annihilated and sent straight into hell?
d) Shouldn’t fire fall from heaven and burn them up or the ground open and swallow them into Sheol?
2. What is God doing?
a) It looks like He is doing nothing.
b) Why isn’t God acting?
c) But God is at work, even in the hearts of mocking blasphemers!
d) He is the God of mercy and He is waiting for people to turn to Him.
e) But He will not wait forever!
f) “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.”
D. Facing the Truth
1. Just think about what will happen at the Day of Judgment
a) Everyone will come face to face with the Truth – Jesus Christ.
b) He is indeed King of Kings and Lord of Lords – just like Pilate wrote on the sign
c) The soldiers along with everyone else will bow their knee and confess with their tongue that Jesus Christ is Lord.
d) The temple of His body was destroyed and rebuilt with a glorified body on the third day, just like He said.
e) The Chief Priests and Scribes did not understand, but they were right when they said “He saved others and cannot save Himself”
f) The thief on the cross who turned to Jesus will be there with Him in Paradise.
g) We will all see that what the Centurion said was indeed true