This week in our L3 journal, we read through the end of the Gospel of Matthew. In this portion of Matthew's Gospel, we find what is often called, the "Passion Week," where Jesus experiences the difficult journey to the cross for our redemption. In chapter 27:27-44, we see the focal point of the entire gospel message - the crucifixion of Jesus.
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor’s headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. And they stripped him and puta scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.
As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way. (Mt. 27:27-44 ESV)
The phrase that I highlighted here is what sticks out to me most from this passage today, and this is why: what the chief priests, scribes, and elders were saying in their mocking of Jesus was more true than they knew. Jesus could not both save us and save himself at the same time. In order for any of us to be rescued from our sin and from death, Jesus had to die. There was no other way for us to be rescued. The penalty for our sin could only be removed by the death of the perfect Man (aka "The Spotless Lamb"). Any other sacrifice would have been insufficient. God's righteous wrath against sin was poured out completely on Jesus in our place. He was condemned for our sin, despite His perfect innocence. If He came down from that cross and saved Himself the suffering, He could not have saved us. He stayed on the cross because of His great love for us, and His perfect obedience to the Father. This was the only way, and He would see it through, so that we could be redeemed.
When we choose to place our faith and trust in Jesus' finished work on the cross, where He took the penalty for our sin, we receive His gift of salvation. We can either choose to depend on our own goodness to attempt to earn heaven, but in so doing we also choose to bear the wrath for sin on our own. Or we can trust that Jesus paid it all, recognizing that we have nothing to offer God, and are completely dependent on His gracious gift of salvation through the cross. Truly, "there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).
Praise the mighty name of Jesus Christ, because He endured the cross and the wrath for sin in our place, and did not save Himself. May we each examine ourselves and know how truly desperate we were/are for His saving work on the cross. There was no other way for us to be saved. "He saved others; he cannot save himself."
In the Son,
FBC Worship & Arts Pastor
Thu, July 28, 2011
by Bill Horn filed under
- L3 Journal,
- Jesus Christ,
- Bill Horn,