Maybe you’ve experienced or witnessed bullying yourself.
But you never saw a worse case of bullying than what our Lord Jesus subjected himself to before and on the cross.
1 Peter 1:10-11 says that Christ’s Spirit, in the prophets of ancient days, testified to them about the things He would suffer. In Psalm 22 we can read the expressions of anguish He voiced about His suffering through the psalmist David. Then, in the gospels we can recognize their fulfillment. Then, lining these both up with our government’s indicators of bullying, what a revealing picture we get of man bullying God’s own Son and the effects He endured: of not only excruciating physical pain, but also deep emotional suffering!
Christ Himself verified Psalm 22 as applying to His suffering when he cried out its first line on the cross: “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” What anguish! What sense of aloneness! The Father is allowing Him to experience the full sense of aloneness that a bullied person can feel…
Stopbullying.gov says bullying involves an imbalance of power. The bullied person is in a position where it’s hard for him to defend himself. Medline.gov defines it as a person or group repeatedly and purposely doing harm to someone they perceive as weaker. The bullies are misusing their power, to control or injure.
Psalm 22:12-13 says, “Many bulls have surrounded Me; Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me… like a raging and roaring lion.”
Psalm 22:16 says, “For dogs have surrounded Me; … enclosed Me…”
And Psalm 22:20-21 pleads deliverance from “the power of the dog…the lion’s mouth…and…the horns of the wild oxen.”
In all the gospels we see men of power surrounding Christ and mistreating Him—from the Jewish religious and political leaders to the strong soldiers of the Roman army.
Mark in particular tells how the Jewish leaders met and schemed (Mk 15:1-3,11), then how the soldiers led Him away to the Praetorium and called together the whole garrison to abuse him.
Bullying as defined can of course involve hitting, punching, shoving.
Psalm 22 expresses Christ’s physical pain that resulted from this kind of abuse: Psalm 22:14-17
And Mark relates some of the abuse that caused it: Mark 15:15,17,25.
But bullying can also take the emotionally destructive form of name-calling, mocking, teasing, and taking or abusing the victim’s property. And this can do damage that physical harm alone cannot. It can shatter the bullied person’s esteem, which indeed is its purpose.
In Psalm 22, we hear Christ crying out about the demeaning, mocking and taunting (Psalm 22:6-7,13). Verse 18 even mentions people taking his garments and casting lots for them (like modern dice tossing)–so demeaning.
And about this emotional bullying Mark gives detail: Mark 15:16-20,24,26,29-32.
It took me time to write this, not only because of the difficulty in lining up info, but because sometimes I had to stop and, well, grieve.
What a Savior, to submit to pain that we deserved, to deliver us from death. What a lover of our souls!