In the same way the chief priests, with the teachers of the Law, said to one another in mockery, “He saved others, but he cannot save himself!
cronies love to laugh together
particularly at the expense
of them there over there
getting what they deserve
always too late to recognize
the wisdom of their taunt
he saved others but lost
himself in the process
still unable to hear
no one can be saved
without everyone being saved
they keep guilt working overtime
The exaggeration so useful in making fun of another has truth in it, but when looked at from a bit more distance the target is different than first expected.
“He saved others.” Yes. We can hear echoes of those healings when the forced laughter becomes background noise rather than a demand to join in.
There is an implicit understanding that the funsters have no need of healing, of saving, of wholeness. Their point is to get to their punch line that Jesus’ goose is well and truly cooked.
When we read slowly enough to raise a cloud of witnesses to the good that has been done, this light-hearted mockery becomes both a light of how we might yet live together and a bone-deep sadness that there once was “a place called Camelot”—but no more. We are at a point of recognition that this is a growing gap we seem incapable of bridging.
In concluding Jesus cannot “save” himself, to be for himself alone, there is also an admission by the mockers of not needing to be healed, of being all too sufficient unto themselves.
The fun has brought us back to an earlier point about a Living Spirit. Where healing and restoration are the basis of community a Living Spirit flourishes. Where there is an absence of “The Substance of We Feeling” (SOWF, in Doris Lessing’s, Shikasta), that which dissipates it is blasphemous (3:28–30).
The case against Jesus in the Sanhedrin finally came down to “blasphemy”. Now a Reader must decide whether unauthorized healing or expected order is blasphemous. What was seen as a win by the proponents of order-at-all-costs is upset by a non-violent response.