Author: Eugene Chu, Pastor, Coffee Talk at Chinese Church in Christ, Milpitas
39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 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!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “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. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ” 44 In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. (Matthew 27:39-44, NIV)
This passage leaves me in a state of disbelief every time I read it. If they only knew who Jesus really was — the Son of God, the Messiah! Jesus should be worshiped and adored, the mightiest super hero who came to save the world. Instead, the leaders of that day — priests, teachers, and elders — hurled insults and ridiculed Jesus. How did that make Jesus feel?
In recent years, I have learned about human trafficking of young girls in Thailand. Ruthless slave traders seek out poor, rural villages to offer families money and promise a better future for their young daughters. They deceitfully offer girls work in restaurants but instead send them to brothels to work for low wages, if any. When they become HIV positive, they are thrown into the street, unwanted because they are worthless to the brothel owners. What is the worth of a young girl? Doesn’t she also bear the image of God? I am saddened and enraged knowing this still happens everyday.
When I read this passage, I am reminded that Jesus understands. He not only understands because he is God, but he understands because he was humiliated and tortured and treated less than a human. One day, there will be justice for those young women. In the meantime, we are reminded that we worship a God who understands what it is like to be treated as worthless. We worship a God who experienced suffering as a human being. Thank you, Jesus, for knowing what it’s like to hurt.
The ISAAC 2009 Lenten Devotional, edited by Rev. Dr. Johnson Chiu. This devotional was written by Asian American English ministry leaders and pastors in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. To purchase, click here: Road of Suffering, Road to Glory: A Lenten Adventure with the Savior