August 26, 2020 – Wednesday
Matthew 24:38-44 NIV
38 Two rebels were crucified with Him, one on his right and one on his left.
39 Those who passed by hurled insults at Him, shaking their heads
40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”
41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked Him.
42 “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.
43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue Him now if he wants Him, for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”
44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him.
Jesus has been crucified, nailed to a cross by Roman soldiers. It has been done at the behest of the Chief priest, the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. Many of them are in attendance at His crucifixion according to verse 41.
They are the ones who are so angry about Jesus saying the temple would be destroyed and rebuilt in three days. Much of their anger was the result of their worship of the temple itself. Pharisees and many others often made declarations or made promises ‘on the temple’ or ‘by the temple.’ It had become an idol for them.
As a result, they could not – yet – understand the temple Jesus spoke of was His own body and that it would rise on the third day. They refused to acknowledge Him for who He was. Yet here at the cross, they did so inadvertently, effectively condemning themselves when they said, He saved others. They were bearing witness to the truth even as they added, 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. Their final statement was a lie, they would not have believed in Him even if He had somehow come down from the cross as they had no faith. Oh, they might have been frightened and confused, even panicky, but they would not have believed. They would have found some rationale, no matter how weak, to deny His deity.
In the past He had confounded them every time they sought to trap Him in a verbal debate or ruse. Every time they failed. They had no explanation for His healing of the blind and crippled, but only complained when He did so on the Sabbath. When He cast out demons, they accused Him of being in league with Satan.
When He raised the dead, they denied that as well. It must have been trickery of some sort, even the raising of Lazarus who had been in the tomb for four days. They planned on killing Lazarus as well so great was their lack of faith.
Knowing all He had done; they did not believe. Instead they had Him crucified. No, they would not have believed if He had come down off the cross. However, one commentator noted that We [Christians] believe on Him for that very reason, that He did not immediately descend from the Cross, but on the contrary consummated His work. We know He continued His teaching on forgiveness on the cross as well when He said, Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. (Luke 23:34).
He would fulfil the prophecies of Isaiah 53:10. Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes His life an offering for sin and Daniel 9:26. After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing, among many others,
Because of our faith, we believe. Because of their lack of faith, they could not believe. Because of our faith and belief, we are blessed through the Grace offered by His payment for our sins on the cross. We have much to be thankful for.
Riley D. Driver – Pastor
Calvary Chapel of Dayton