Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!”
In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself!
The end is drawing near. It is now between noon and 3:00 p.m. on Friday. Crucifixion being the public spectacle that it was, there was a crowd there to harass those bring tortured. You expect the crowd to be hurling insults because that’s what angry mobs do. But the chief priests? These are supposed to be men of God! Shouldn’t they know better? Shouldn’t they be an example to the rest of the crowd? Unfortunately, they are an example, leading the crowd more than they probably realize.
I’m reminded of the words of the second verse of the old German hymn, “Stricken, Smitten, and Afflicted”
Tell me, all who hear him groaning,
Was there ever grief like this?
Friends through fear his cause disowning,
Foes insulting his distress;
Many hands were raised to wound him,
None would intervene to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced him
Was the stroke that justice gave.