Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Power to Stay
As Jesus hung dying on the Cross, He experienced how those He had come to save could inflict undeserved shame on their fellow man, even on One who was sinless. Random passersby and local rabble taunted Him with verbal abuse (Matthew 27:39-40). Joining these disorganized hooligans was a group of educated and organized critics – the chief priests and scribes of the Jews. These religious leaders had come to dishonor Christ, but their efforts backfired and they proved themselves the ones worthy of mocking.
Unlike the common folk, the chief priests and scribes had no business on Calvary. They should have been in Jerusalem doing their devotions because it was the first day of Passover. Instead of allowing just the rabble to verbally abuse Christ, these men of position and responsibility joined the common men in reproaching our Savior as He suffered and died on the Cross. Instead performing their appointed jobs, they chose to be present at the place of execution, spitting their venom at the LORD Jesus. They were not only derelict in their duties to God, they intentionally mocked His Son. Woe to those who reject our Savior (Hebrews 10:29).
One might think such ugly public displays were below the grandeur and gravity of their positions. Shirking their appointed duties for such a miserable task should only lower their esteem in the eyes of the people, but apparently neither group cared. Common prudence should have taught them to lay low and keep out of sight considering their already sordid role in Christ’s death. Nevertheless, there they were, all of one accord and participating in the dishonor and shame of the LORD Jesus Christ.
In their minds, their mere presence was not enough of an insult to Him. To increase His pain, they started by shouting that Jesus could not save Himself (Matthew 27:42). This taunting only demonstrated the misguided wisdom of man (1 Corinthians 1:20). Making a huge incorrect assumption, they reckoned Jesus was unable to save Himself. This implied that, by staying on the Cross, Jesus lacked the power He claimed. How wrong they were! They should have argued that since He had the power to save others, He had the power to save Himself, a much more logical conclusion. The logical question to follow is “Why doesn’t He save Himself?” Of course, the answer is He would die to save us. They were looking for a scapegoat, however, not a sacrificial Lamb.
The chief priests and scribes insinuated that, because He did not save Himself, His pretense to save others was nothing more than a sham and a delusion. This accusation fell, unfortunately, on receptive ears. The Pharisees further implied He never really meant to save anyone, spiritually or physically. Again, this argument did not hold water as His many miracles had been proved beyond contradiction. Jesus had both the power to save us and the power to save Himself by coming down from the Cross. Staying on the Cross displayed one of His greatest powers.
Next they upbraided and mocked Jesus for claiming to be the King of Israel. In their minds, the Messiah would come with external pomp and power. The idea of a meek King who was hung on a tree completely repulsed them – it was inconsistent with the character they imputed to the King of Israel. Moreover, it was a curse (Deuteronomy 21:23). Jesus probably could have won over many of His critics had He come down from the Cross, thereby demonstrating His unlimited power. But the time was past to display His power and authority, it was time to save the world from sin. Luckily for us, He had the power not only to save us, but to stay on the Cross and die, later to be resurrected to new life.
The religious rulers even invited Jesus to come down from the Cross (Matthew 27:42). What would have become of us then, without His work of salvation and redemption? Where would we be if He had not died and been resurrected? If He had been provoked by these scoffers to come down and leave His Earthly undertaking unfinished, we would be without hope for our souls. Thankfully, His unchangeable love and resolution set Him above the temptation to prove Himself, so He did not fail nor become discouraged.
In a last, desperate attempt to divert our LORD from His mission, the chief priests and scribes promised that if He would come down from the Cross, they would believe Him. They wanted proof He was the Messiah, but they should have known better. When they had formerly demanded a sign, Jesus told them the sign He would give them was coming up from the grave, for which the priests had neither the patience nor desire. Yet within a few hours, they once again became concerned with His prediction (Matthew 27: 62-66). Three days later, they panicked (Matthew 28:11-15).
It is not normal to tempt Jesus or to mock Him, but it is normal for Him to have the power to withstand it. Jesus was tempted in the desert by a much more powerful foe, the devil Satan, and He did not succumb. Despite His physical and mental agony on the Cross, the temptations of the priests were dismissed handily. The wisdom and logic of the priesthood was demonstrated to be false, to the glory of God and His Son. Thank Jesus today for using His power to stay on the Cross for you.
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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