Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March 23, 2016

"Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 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!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “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. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him." Matthew 27:38-44

No doubt you have heard the expression you can't keep a good man down! I like that sentiment and have found it generally to be true. But occasionally it doesn't work. Life can become so cruel and chaotic that even a good man can crumble under the crush of opposition.

I prefer the truth that arises from the Easter Story because it captures the essence of Easter! It goes like this - "You can't keep a God man down!".

Jesus was a good man for sure! Never has there been a better man than Him! But face it, the cross got him down! After a sadistic beating that would have killed most of us Jesus was savagely flung to the ground and suffered the unimaginable agony of having spikes driven through His wrists and his feet. When the roughly-hewed cross was lifted and dropped into a hole to hold it upright the movement caused the spikes to tear against his flesh and restricted His breathing.

If the agony of the crucifixion wasn't enough, He had to endure the vicious mockery of those who had crucify him. They disparaged Him and degraded Him and demanded that He prove His divinity by coming off the cross.

Make no mistake he could have! It wasn't seven-inched spikes that held Him on the cross it was love! Jesus' love for God and His commitment to the redemptive plan to save humanity from its sin and deliver it from sinfulness kept Him on the cross!

Ironically, it was Jesus' commitment to the salvation of His accusers that prevented Him from climbing off the cross.

Jesus showed us that we shouldn't attempt to silence scoffers by capitulating to their accusations. Simply stick with God's plan and surrender to His will vindication will come. Three days later when Jesus arose from the grave He mocked the mockery of the mockers!

But the bigger blessing I want to extract from this story is that suffering is sometimes necessary for those who follow God. But because of Christ's suffering on the cross suffering in the will of God is never done in vain. Thanks to Calvary suffering makes sense! No more will Christ-followers ever have to endure senseless suffering. Because of the cross suffering leads to VICTORY and to VINDICATION every time!

Blessed be the Name of the Lord!