Walking in Truth Devotional Update, Then They Crucified Him
Then They Crucified Him
(Mat 27:35-56; Mk 15:24-41; Lk 23:33-49; Jn 19:18-30)
Paul wrote: “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (I Cor. 1:18). He continues a few verses later: “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. (I Cor. 1:22-24). The world cannot visualize the cross being or possessing power, it is weakness to the world. They ask often, “How could God die on a cross?” It is inconceivable to the world.
However, it was on the cross that Jesus magnified “the power of God and the wisdom of God (I Cor. 1:24).
One of the earliest Christian hymns to Christ sings of this strange disgrace: “He who hung the earth hangs there, he who fixed the heavens is fixed there, he who made all things fast is made fast upon the tree, the Master has been insulted, God has been murdered. … O strange murder, strange crime! The Master has been treated in unseemly fashion, his body naked, and not even deemed worthy of covering. [From Melito’s Homily on the Passion, quoted in Martin Hengel, Crucifixion in the Ancient World and the Folly of the Message of the Cross (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977), p. 21].
What a picture of powerlessness! How can the power of God be displayed in this way? While the world sees failure, we are to see fulfillment. This must be the powerless Son of David, who through sufferings gains power, as the Psalm says toward its end:
“All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations shall worship before you. For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations” (Psalm 22:27, 28). While the world mocks and laughs at Jesus hanging on the cross, it is “He who sits in the heavens [that] laughs.” Yahweh laughs “in derision” as through the cross he has set up his “King on Zion,” on his “holy hill” (Psalm 2:4, 6).
Jesus demonstrated His power by destroying the need for the earthly Temple in which the Jews took such pride. Matthew tells us “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” The Hebrew writer then summarized this by writing: “For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself” (Heb. 9:24-26).
Why do you think that God, the Son, stayed on that cruel cross? He had the power to come down and stop His terrible suffering. He didn’t have to experience the awful ridiculing, taunting, and blaspheming from those who were watching His death. There was Jesus’ last great temptation.” How would he use His power—for Himself or for others? Will He turn a stone into bread? Will he grasp for the kingdoms of the world? Will he worship Satan? Will he fly from the cross or stay on it?
No, He stayed on the cross because He loved us more than Himself. He stayed on the cross so His blood could be poured out and used to wash us from our sins (Eph. 1:7). Try to imagine what God, the Father, was experiencing at that very moment. Despite their heartache and heartbreak Jesus stayed on the cross for you and me. I cannot pen these words without shedding tears in appreciation for what they did for us.
It is almost inconceivable that believers who frequently meditate on Jesus’ suffering on their behalf could exalt themselves or quarrel with each other. Paul’s response to the problems of 1 Cor 1:10-17 is found in I Cor. 1:18-2:5. The power of the cross is also realized in the efforts of Jesus to bring people together in one body (Eph. 2:14-16). I do not want to stand before God in the day of judgment having caused division among Christians.
Yes, let the world ridicule the death of my Savior hanging on the cross, I will allow my tears to flow and to try to obey His divine will so I may live with Him in eternity in His Father’s house (John 14:1-3) by His Power.