The Thirty-Third Sunday of Ordinary Time

Matthew 27:39-44; Mark 15:29-32; Luke 23:35-37

He Will Not Save Himself

Twelve legions of angels at the ready, and he would not call them.  Nor was he even tempted to do so.  Jesus said, “I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me” (John 5:30).  And the will of Him who sent him was that “I should lose nothing of all that He has given me, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on that day” (John 6:39-40).  And the means whereby eternal life would be given to those whom the Father had given him was through this very horrifying event played out right before the eyes heaven and earth, for the Son of Man came “to give his life a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).

So here the people cruelly jeer and ridicule him.  And for what, pray tell?  Healing the blind, lame, deaf, and mute?  Raising the dead and returning them to weeping families?  Preaching the joys of the Kingdom of heaven and how living for that desire could change one so that he may become more caring, compassionate, and just?  Why exactly was it that they ridiculed him so?  As for the chief priests, we know that it was out of envy that they mocked him.  But why the ordinary people passing by?  I remember when I was a young boy seeing a poor dog run-over by a car, only to see another neighborhood dog come to viciously growl at it, and would no doubt have attacked the poor creature had we not been there to keep it from doing so.  It’s not a pleasant thought, but human beings can be just like that – piling on.  And they threw it up in his face that if he were the Son of God and King of Israel, then come down that they might believe in him – which was a lie; they had witnessed enough miracles to believe in him, and one more would have made no difference.

There’s something in me that wishes he had come down – and whipped them all.  But Jesus doesn’t think like I think (Psalm 50:21).  It didn’t matter what they said, they weren’t going to talk him down from there.  I hear people today say, “Love wins,” and apply it to who knows what.  But it is on the cross where love truly wins.  No need for angels to come to the rescue, no need to “save himself” as he saved others.  Although Jesus is not happy to be there, he is pleased to do the Father’s will – which is his will – which is to save sinful men.  Besides, he had already won.  Just a few more hours on the cross and a brief period of time in the tomb and the plan from the foundation of the world would be complete.  No, he’s not going anywhere, but back to the Father – and he couldn’t wait for that!  Neither should we.

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