Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican Since 1850

Jesus Mocked
Treatises on Christology emphasize the titles of glory that characterize the figure of Jesus: Son of God, Christ, Savior of the World. Less visible are the insulting terms his opponents employed to describe him. Indeed, wanting to collect them all, we find that Jesus was accused of being an impostor, an evildoer, a glutton and a drunkard, possessed by demons, a madman, a blasphemer, a troublemaker, son of an unknown father, a Samaritan. This, too, is part of that “emptying” to which Christ subjected himself, “becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross” (Phil 2:8).

So as not to remain at the level of abuse in general, let us look in detail at the insults Jesus received, and how his early disciples imitated him in this abasement of himself.

In the Gospels, Jesus almost always introduces his teaching with the expression, “Truly, I say to you,” to highlight its importance and truthfulness. This expression appears about 30 times in Matthew, 9 times in Mark, 10 in Luke. In the Gospel of John the word is doubled 25 times: “Truly, truly I say to you.” It is the very concept of truth (alētheia) that is central to the Fourth Gospel. Jesus is presented as “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), for “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). Jesus calls for “doing the truth” (John 3:21), because God, the Father, is to be worshiped “in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24). Knowing the truth sets one free (cf. John 8:32). Jesus presents himself as “a man who has told you the truth,” and for this they seek to kill him (John 8:40). He solemnly states, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6) and promises to send “the Spirit of truth” (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13).
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