Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Set Us Free

“The chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him in the same way. ‘He saved others; they said ‘he cannot save himself. He is the king of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He puts his trust in God, now let God rescue him if he wants him. For he did say, ‘I am the Son of God.” (Matthew 27: 41 – 44)

Even on the cross, the hatred for Jesus by his enemies was unabated. The enemies of Jesus did not seem to believe that with Christ on the cross, their victory was complete and final. They continued the attack. It is interesting to note that they challenged God to vindicate the trust that Jesus had in him. Scripture is filled with the assertion that those who trust in God can never be put to shame. It is impossible that the chief priests, scribes and elders were unaware of this scripture. For them to say to Jesus, ‘You put your trust in God. God cannot save you in this situation,’ seems to be a contradiction of the truth. The passion of the Christ was the reign of darkness when the father of lies was in control.

The next thing to note in the above incident is that the chief priests, the scribes and the elders did not consider it above their dignity to come to witness the execution of their enemy. It reminds one of the small crowd that witnesses the execution of criminals in death chambers. The crowd is made up of the aggrieved family members, the press, a minister, some family members of the criminal and some representative of the government. Some people in the group may be motivated by revenge. The chief priests, scribes and elders on Calvary were certainly there to gloat over Jesus.

But Christ was not a common criminal. The insults and taunts and the lifting up on the cross had the foreknowledge of God. God permitted this as an essential condition for our salvation. Everything written in the Bible with regard to the suffering Messiah must be fulfilled.

The follower of Christ is called to be a type of Christ. God is training us to be like his Son by presenting us the opportunities to suffer insults, taunts and persecutions for the sake of Christ. The persecutors who provide us the opportunity are unaware of God’s plan. We become empowered to suffer like Christ as we make our home in his word. We perceive this truth and this truth sets us free from the fear of suffering.

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Jesus is Lord.