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.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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