Tag Archive | revile

Why the need for Jesus to UPBRAID people if God’s will always happens?

Matt 11.jpgWhy UPBRAID someone who possesses no ability to disobey you?

”Upbraid” is a translation from the Greek verb ὀνειδίζω (oneidizō Strong’s 3579) and apart from upbraid it could hold the meaning of reproach, suffer reproach and revile. The verb occurs 11 times in the KJV, and it derives from the noun ὄνειδος (G3681). Examples of usage:

Matt. 11:19 The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.20 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:21 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.22 But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.24 But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

Above we can see a clear example of people and entire cities acting contrary to God’s will. Jesus upbraided people due to their refusal to repent! Jesus wanted them to repent and provided them ample opportunities to do so (showed them many miracles) and yet they chose not to. Sinning IS breaking the law, which means that sinning is acting against God’s will. This should be self-evident, but when it comes to our reformed friends, this is not always so. Calvinists normally have a problem with a God who is not sovereign in such a way that he predestines ALL things and ALL actions of men. Or else, they say, he is not sovereign. (”Sovereign” is not even a Biblical word in the KJV, so of course the term must be interpreted.) These verses suggest that things would have (and could have) turned out differently, if the people involved acted in a different way. This is evidence of that things do not take place because they are predestined by God. We can affect our future depending on our choices and actions, but why even pray if we can affect nothing?

Mark. 16:9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.10 And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.11 And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.12 After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.13 And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Above we can yet again see Jesus upbraiding people, and this time due to their refusal to believe the message about him and due to their hardened hearts. This means it certainly was not Jesus (as God) who hardened their hearts so that they could not believe, because then Jesus would not need to upbraid them. They had the choice to believe in the testimonies of those who had seen Jesus risen (as he told them he would), and they also had the chance to believe that Jesus was the one the Scriptures were telling them about, but they choice to harden their hearts.

A few more examples:

Mark 15:32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

Matt. 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Matt. 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. 

Rom. 15:3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

James 1:4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. (the NIV translates ”without finding fault”)

Did one or both crucified thieves mock and reproach Jesus on the cross?

thieves cross

How many crucified thieves reproached Jesus?

Here is what the four gospels tell us about the thieves who were crucified together with Jesus.

Mark 15:27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days,30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross.31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

Luke 23:32 And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.33 And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.—3And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.

John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.32 Then came the soldiers, and brake the legs of the first, and of the other which was crucified with him.33 But when they came to Jesus, and saw that he was dead already, they brake not his legs:

Matt. 27:38 Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.39 And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,40 And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.41 Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

Matt. 27:44 with the same also the robbers, who were crucified with him, were reproaching him. (Young’s Literal)

”Cast” in Matt. 27:44 (KJV) is a translation from the Greek word oneidizō (Strong’s 3679) and could also have the meaning of reproach, revile and upbraid. 

So is it a contradiction that Matthew and Mark claim that the thieves (plural) reproached Jesus when Luke tells us another story in 23:39 – about one thief rebuking the other for his behavior and for not fearing God? Not necessarily. The easiest explanation is of course that the ”good thief” REPENTED after that he joined the crowd (soldiers, priests, people who passed by and the other thief) by making at least one negative comment which would include him among those who reproached him. The bad thief might have been much more condescending and active in his railing on Jesus, and when the good thief finally repented he rebuked the other thief by saying Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.” Some suggest that there may have been further thieves crucified in the same area, apart from those mentioned on each of his sides. Maybe this cannot be completely ruled out, but the text does not seem to suggest there were any more.

It is not uncommon to use the story with the good thief on the cross, to support the ideas that neither works nor water baptism are necessary for salvation – with the argument that the thief accomplished neither. When it comes to works (good fruit) he did confess his sins and showed evidence of true repentance (which was also the view of Jesus who promised him a place in paradise), which means that all his sins were rightly removed. On top of this he also defended Jesus (a good deed) before the other thief. As a totally cleansed person he would qualify for salvation, and apparently he did not sin again for the remaining of his brief life. It is sin that separates us from God. When it comes to water baptism of course the thief had no possibility to go through with one, and most importantly he died before Jesus so therefore still ”in the old testament”. We are indeed asked to get water baptized based on the Bible, but I do not believe a man will end up in hell if he happens to get killed on his way to do just that.