He was bruised for our iniquities and upon him was the chastisement of the world, yet by his stripes we are healed.
There are two perspectives from the cross that are stirring in my spirit as I write this: the view from below the cross and the view from above. The view from below involves the crowd standing there taunting Jesus.
It was the view of mob action.
I don’t assume that everyone who is a part of mob action is necessarily in favor of an outcome of violence but once the momentum gets going they get caught in the flow.
That may have been the case with those standing at the foot of Jesus’ cross demanding that he be crucified and hurling insults. I suspect that this was the case in the vicious beating that took place in the neighborhood of our parish a couple of days ago.
Malcolm is his name. He was attacked by several people. At this point no one knows who they are.
Not only was he severely beaten, but after he was beaten, he was placed in a garbage can and the garbage can set afire. He now is in intensive care holding to life, barely.
I will see him today. I’m wondering what he will look like. I’m wondering if I will be able to look at him and not be repulsed by what I see.
I think of his brother, Jimmy, a sweet man who is a regular participant in our Wednesday ministry, and I wonder where his heart is as he visits his brother each day and stares into the face of someone that he no longer recognizes.
The words of Isaiah 53 are on my heart today as I think of Malcolm in particular but as I think of the many who are bruised and wounded and who are the objects of somebody’s hatred.
“He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with (our grief).”
The subject of these words is the one who suffered the ridicule of the mob, the bruises, the taunts and ultimately death — but before he died he looked down below and across the expanse of time, and he uttered words that would shatter the power of death and the deeds of hatred and even hatred itself.
“Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” This is the view from above the cross. As I stand at Malcolm’s bedside staring into his face, it is that view that I will remember.