This morning as I read and meditated on Matthew 27:40, I began to cry.
You know the scene. Jesus is on the cross:
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. (Matthew 27:39-44).
Re-read verse 40:
“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.”
Incredible gratitude overwhelmed me at the thought of Jesus’ selflessness. The crowd said, “save yourself.” The chief priests, scribes and elders said, “he cannot save himself.”
Oh, but He could have. Jesus could have. Easily. The angels must have been standing by the cross and others watching in heaven, ready for their Almighty God on His throne to give the order to save Majestic Prince Jesus from His agony. Did they understand the Father’s plan? If not, they must be in distress seeing their Prince suffering for those puny humans who didn’t deserve such love and sacrifice. Certainly, any moment the loving Father would wave His hand commanding legions of angels to take Jesus down from the cross and decimate those standing around gloating and mocking the pain of a sinless man.
But Jesus was too loving. Too caring. Too selfless. Too obedient to climb down from the cross. He remained on the cross “for the joy set before him” of saving the world, sinful humanity, even though they reviled him and had no understanding of His willing sacrifice.
Talk about being misunderstood by His own creation. Such selfless Love who was willing to be misunderstood so that He would please His Father. Jesus’ only thought was pleasing His Father.
As I fight tears even now, I pray, “Lord Jesus, who died on the cross for me, thank you. I’m so grateful for your selfless love, enduring agony to save me from my pitiful state. Forgive me for the ways I continue to distrust your selfless love. Yet you took care of my every sin on the cross and guarantee my salvation. Thank you. A thousand times thank you. I worship you. In Your holy name I pray, Amen.”