The Thirty-Second Sunday of Ordinary Time

Matthew 27:27-30; Mark 15:16-19

Mockery Is the Devil’s Sport

There is only one God and thus one Creator.  No one else can create anything.  Men and women take what God has made and form and shape it into wonderful uses (and ignoble uses as well), but no scientist will ever make anything out of nothing like our God can.  Creation is a mark of deity.  This truth (that only God can create) is as true for angels as it is for us, including the devil himself.  Some picture the devil as an anti-god, as if he were God’s equal, only in the realm of evil.  This is not the biblical picture at all.  In Job 1-2, the devil answers to God, as he does throughout Scripture.  Indeed, we may say that the devil is ever on God’s leash and even serves Him, though unwittingly (1 Corinthians 2:8).

So if the devil can’t create anything (which must surely cause him great consternation), then what can he do?  Put simply: he makes a mockery of the creation that God has made.  Or to put it another way, he copies what God does, or mimics what God does, but always with a touch of perversion.  The true God commands people to worship Him and enjoy Him forever, but Satan convinces them to cast a dumb idol instead; God gives food and drink to enjoy, but Satan intermingles obesity, anorexia, bulimia, and a host of other food-related illnesses and diseases; God gives us intimacy to enjoy with a husband or wife till death do us part, but Satan introduces fornication, adultery, divorce, homosexuality, gender confusion, and other boundless sensual passions.  Art, music, literature, technology, science, literally everything under the sun is game for Satan’s sport, which is to take God’s wonderful gifts of creation and somehow twist them in such a way that those beautiful gifts become ugly things.  To use an impolitic but suitable word, Satan is at heart a pervert.

Which brings us to our passage which is the terrible way the soldiers, no doubt hardened men, treat Jesus with contempt.  And how do they do it?  By mocking him: a scarlet robe (no doubt, torn), a crown of thorns, a reed for a scepter which they use for a weapon, kneeling before him and saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!”  And it is mockery in its purest form; after all, here is the King of the Jews, the King of kings and Lord of lords, to be exact.  And these men, behaving as brutes, fake a worship of him and treat him as if he were the lowest human being on the planet, hardly fit for a cross.  And in treating him as unfit to live, they mistake the Eternal One for a worm.  In this case, mockery produces the most profound irony. Yes, mockery is the devil’s sport.  But blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (Matthew 5:8).

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