“Scenes from the passion” Lent devotion for Saturday, March 27, 2021.
And those who passed by derided [Jesus], wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. (Mark 15:29-32)
So now everyone gets to take one last shot at Jesus. Passersby, chief priests and scribes and even robbers being crucified demand, “Save yourself, Jesus! Come down off the cross. Let’s see what you can do!”
Jesus has spent over three years proving himself. He has shown crowds of people his authority to heal, command demons and even bring the dead to life. And yet, here he is, in the last moments of his life, still auditioning for the role of Messiah.
Ever catch yourself wondering if Jesus really has what it takes? “If Jesus really has a plan for my life, why am I so unhappy.” “If Jesus really cared, he would have helped me get that job.” “If Jesus really has the power to heal, why did my mother get sick and die?” After all these years, Jesus still has to prove himself!
So Jesus will do exactly what all these folks demand. He will indeed come down off the cross. He’ll be dead. They’ll bring his corpse down from the cross, wrap it in cloths and lay it in a tomb. Many witnessed it. Now will you believe?
A recent carnival game involved hanging from a horizontal bar. If you can hang there for two minutes without flexing or swaying, you win a prize. They make it even harder by using a bar that is bigger than usual and rotates. Few people can hang there for two whole minutes.
The real test of Jesus is not whether he can come down off the cross. That would be easy. The challenge is to stay there until you die. That is the proof of both his love and his ability to save us. When you begin with the truth that Jesus is the Christ, the King of Israel, you aren’t heckling, “Come down, Jesus,” but are praying, “Hang on, Jesus. You’re the only hope I have.”
Heavenly Father, thank you for your son Jesus, who has what it takes to hang on and save me. Amen.