Christmas for my family was always marked by a desire for fairness. My parents were careful not to express any kind of favouritism towards myself or any of my three siblings through the gifts they gave. Gifts are supposed to be fun, not a reason to make anyone feel less-than.
2 Kings 2:23-25 tells a story that feels unfair at a surface reading. Elisha was a prophet God sent to Israel. In this passage Elisha is mocked by a bunch of youths, calling him “baldhead.” Elisha responds by calling a curse upon them, and two bears appear and maul the mockers.
Now this seems unfair given how brutal the response was, but when we consider the way it relates to the rest of the Old Testament, we see this was a fair response. In Leviticus 26:21-22 God gives a warning that says if you do not listen to and obey God, He would “let loose the wild beasts against you, which shall bereave you of your children.” When Elisha spoke, he spoke from God. Those who mocked him were mocking God, and that is a serious offense.
How in the world does this help us see and savour Jesus? Part of Jesus’ suffering included enduring mocking of the highest order. As He hung on the cross, He was mocked by those walking by (Mark 15:29-30), the Jewish leaders (Mark 15:32), the soldiers (Luke 23:36-37), and even by one who was being crucified beside Him (Luke 23:39). 1 Peter 2:23 tells us how Jesus responded: “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten.”
If Elisha, as God’s representative to Israel, was rightful under the Law of God to curse those who insulted him, how much more was Jesus, the Son of God, entitled to do to those who unfairly mocked Him? Why did He stay silent?
1 Peter 2:24 says that He did this for us. He suffered and died to take the curse our sin deserved. He died to save the type of people who mocked him. This Christmas, as we consider the beginning of Jesus’ life on Earth, think of how He endured through unfair suffering because of His love for you. Jesus is the true and better Elisha, who answered mocking with silence as He died to save us.