Devotion for the Week...
Happy Easter! I hope you had a beautiful Easter weekend, complete with chocolate 😊 Here in Newfoundland, our spring break is always the week following Easter, so it's great to be able to relax a bit this week. There will hopefully be an abundance of sewing happening too!
In the accounts of the crucifixion, I noticed that Jesus was mocked several times by people who said to Him, "Save yourself." Mark 15:29-32 says, "Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Then Luke 23:39 says, "One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”
It's obvious to me that none of these people actually expected Jesus to be able to get Himself down off the cross and avoid death. Instead, they all fully believed that He couldn't, and when He didn't save Himself it simply served as further proof to them that He wasn't anyone special. After all, why would the Son of God, the Messiah, allow Himself to be treated so cruelly? Why would the Son of God, the Messiah, allow Himself to be killed? Wouldn't that just destroy whatever plans He had for saving Israel?
They completely misunderstood what was happening that day, even those who had worked so hard to make it happen. Jesus didn't want to save Himself. Yes, He probably desperately wanted the pain to stop, but He had in fact chosen the cross. He had chosen to suffer and die. Everything was going according to plan and saving Himself would have defeated His purpose.
You see, He didn't want to save Himself because He was in the process of saving you and me and all of those who would ever believe in Him as Savior. He couldn't save us if He saved Himself.
The writer of the book of Hebrews wrote, "For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2). What was the joy set before Him that allowed Him to endure the cross? We were. Isn't that an amazing thought? Our salvation, an eternity with us, that was the joy that He anticipated that gave Him the strength to endure the pain of the cross.
Himself from the pain of the cross and the pain of death would have put
a stop to His suffering for a time. But saving us from the slavery of
sin put a stop to our separation from God for all eternity.
Jesus could have saved Himself. He chose to save us instead.