"They divide my clothes among them and cast lots for my garment." Psalm 22.18
It was the final humiliation (almost). As Jesus hung on the cross, the soldiers guarding him divided what meagre possessions he had left: his clothes. He had already placed his mother, Mary, in the care of the "beloved disciple", John. What more was there to do? Oh yes, the soldiers using his plight as an excuse to feed their gambling habit and the crowd hurling insults: how would he deal with them?
According to Luke's account, Jesus commended them to God: "Father forgive them..." Aside from pondering the eternal destiny of those presiding over Jesus' death, what should these examples of the amazing mercy and grace of Jesus, in comparison with the cruel indifference, even spiteful aggression, of his contemporaries demand of us?
We are not bystanders, innocent or otherwise. We have the benefit of hindsight, we have received the call. It's time to come off the fence, put our trust in the only leader worth following and get on with the business of discipleship and mission. As regards the instinct of God and the behaviour of human beings, nothing has changed - the evidence is all around us. And so the world needs Jesus as acutely as ever. Game on!