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Mar 15 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Day Ninety-three – Matthew 27:32-44

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you

In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him.” Matthew 27:41-42

We read this narrative as if looking at photographs of people in the crowd around the cross, with Matthew identifying them for us.

  • “Here are the soldiers, doing what we disciples could not do, keeping watch over him (v. 36, cf. Mt. 26:38, 40-41).
  • And here the passersby repeat the Tempter’s words, ‘If You are the Son of God . . .’ (Mt. 4:3).
  • These, of course, are the robbers crucified next to him.
  • This group of men are the chief priests, scribes and elders, who from the beginning were the culprits behind this tragedy (Mt. 16:21; 26:3-4).”

It was this last group who were so confident that Jesus was not the Messiah–that their Messiah would never let himself be caught in this predicament–that they made a promise they knew they would not have to keep. If he would leap from the cross, they would believe in him.

Was Jesus wounded by these insults? Was he humiliated by their ridicule? Or did he feel a twinge of the old temptation? If, like us, he always felt the need to prove himself right, then he would have certainly given at least a moment’s thought to descending from the cross and either demand the mockers to become his disciples or else spit in their faces–if such a thought ever occurred to him.

O Jesus, had You left the cross and shut the mouths of those who taunted You, it would no longer matter who did or did not believe in You, because we would still be lost in our sins. Your Father has not called us to faith in a self-serving King, but a crucified Savior. You stayed on the cross not because You are not the Messiah, but because You are! So when You do not intervene in our hour of forsakenness, grant us a better understanding of Your ways and an unbreakable trust that is faithful to the end.

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