We are gifted today with a portion of Mark's version of Jesus' crucifixion. The passing crowd taunts the near-naked Jesus with "Come down!" The chief priests not only jibe Jesus with "Come down" but begin their bullying by saying "He saved others, but cannot save himself." They knew he was saving people and yet still sought to kill him.
The terrible irony of the chief priests' taunts is that Jesus was continuing to save people by choosing to be crucified. He could have gotten out of this situation had he wanted to, but he did not. The people passing by, and the chief priests saw a powerless individual who they had been afraid of, caught and humiliated and dying. They believed they had won.
We know that Jesus did come down, did save himself, and the world, in the process. We have the literal and expected juxtaposed against the surprising and unexpected. And the latter is how God operates in the world: then and now. One of the things we are meant to contemplate and consider today is how, when we are confronted with an impossible situation, can we be that unexpected and surprising catalyst that changes everything. For that is what we are called to: upend the status quo and make the Kingdom Jesus opens for all of us, more of a reality than it currently is in our lives. We are called to be vulnerable and naked; and from a place of seeming powerlessness, alter the course of the world. Where can we begin that work today?
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Art: Station #7, 2006, jfd+