32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is jesus, the king of the jews.
38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 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 rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
Dear God, I wonder if Matthew was there, hiding in the wings, or is this what was told to him? We know that John followed Jesus all of the way through the trial and to the cross, so he has much better details for us than Matthew does. I guess what I notice here is how we revisit some of the things Jesus had been saying all week to gall the chief priests and Pharisees. But are they the things he actually said, or things they heard that he said? Did he ever call himself the King of the Jews or the King of Israel during that week, or did other people call him that? We know that he incited them to action during the week, but did he actually say what they think he said?
One thing I continue to learn with each passing year is that there are two sides to every story. It is rare that someone is just inherently evil or mean. Usually, if they do something that one would perceive to be mean It is because they are trying to simply do something to either protect their interest or trying to respond to a tricky situation. For example, I am working through a conflict right now between our organization and one of our support organizations. I think they have been frustrated with us and have ascribed negative intent to our actions. I think that they think we were being intentionally negligent when the truth is that we thought we were following the correct protocols and no one told us that something we were doing was a problem.
Father, I offer you my day. As I work through this issue with the other agency, I ask that you help me to not ascribe negative motives to them, but instead realize that there is a side to their story as well, and it is probably not nearly as sinister as I might think. Help me to lead my staff through this conflict as well. So far, a lot of the blame has fallen on them, and I want to somehow protect them while simultaneously ensuring that we all emerge from this process in a better place than we have ever been before.