>“He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ “
God doesn’t prove Himself on demand. He just isn’t manipulated that way. Sure Jesus could have commanded angels to come and rescue Him. God could have rescued His Son and wiped out the entire world (again). But, the most powerful, God-like thing that Jesus could do was to hang on the cross.
The people who heard Jesus proclaim, “I am the Son of God” saw many proofs: the hurting healed (John 5), the hungry fed (John 6:1-14), the possessed delivered (Matthew 8:16), the dead raised (John 11), and the sinners forgiven (Matthew 9). They were skeptical anyway. If Jesus had called the legion of angels to rescue him, no doubt someone would have complained, “Well, obviously he wasn’t attached to the cross very well. They sure don’t crucify like they used to.” You get the picture.
Jesus did absolutely nothing to warrant this cruelty. He was completely innocent of all sin and wrongdoing. Sure Jesus offended the religious leaders, but He just told them the Truth. He didn’t love them any less.
Why do we love babies? Well, sure they are cute and cuddly, soft and round. They have that new baby smell. Think about this: it’s easy to love a baby because a baby has never done anything wrong. A baby hasn’t sinned. They’re completely innocent. Who wouldn’t love a baby?
Jesus was as innocent as a newborn baby. He never sinned. He was never unkind. When He said, “Bless your heart,” it was to actually bless people.
There were really only two choices of what to think about Jesus that day. Either to exclaim with the centurion, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:39) or shout and jeer with the crowd. If they couldn’t embrace who He was, then they had to deflect who He claimed to be.
Jesus stayed on the cross. His mission was nearly complete. One day, He will return with a legion of angels. In the meantime, Jesus is patient with us, even those who would mock and ridicule Him.
Are we as patient with others as Jesus is? Can we see things from their point of view? Do we say, “Shame on you for being so disrespectful” or do we say, “If you knew Jesus, like I know Jesus, you would feel very different?”