Prayer Focus: St Bathelemy, St. Helna, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia

Bible Reading: Matthew 27:32-66; Mark 15:21-47; Luke 23:26-56; John 19:17-42; Psalm 22

Scripture

39The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. 40“Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, if you are the Son of God, save yourself and come down from the cross!”41The leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders also mocked Jesus. 42“He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! So he is the King of Israel, is he? Let him come down from the cross right now, and we will believe in him!  Matthew 27:39-42 NLT

29The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. 30Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”31The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! 32Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him. Mark 15:29-32 NLT

Observation

Jesus made people angry enough to kill him, but not by being cruel, or evil.  Jesus wanted the people to repent and turn to God.  He wanted them to know God’s love and mercy and stop turning faith into religion.  He didn’t back down and he never backed off from the truth.  He would speak to anyone willing to listen.  He begged them to listen.    In the end when they put him on the cross we can see that people who loved him when he fed them and healed them now turned on him as if he were the most cursed of evil doers.

They mocked his claim about rebuilding the temple.

They mocked his claim to be king.

They mocked his ability to save God’s people from their sin.

And they refused to believe in him.

Application

A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.  Proverbs 18:2 ESV

There’s another tragedy here among the people beyond simply missing the point.  Yes, we know the people missed the point about the temple because he was talking about his body (John 2:19-22).  Yes, we know the leaders missed the point about his kingdom because he wasn’t talking about an earthly kingdom (John 18:36), although one day it will include the earth (Revelation 11:15).

Instead of trying to understand what Jesus, they twisted his words into something he didn’t say and they hated him for what they claimed he said.

Why? Because, like every human to walk the planet, they wanted God to do their will instead of His.  The cry of humanity, not just the skeptic, has always been, “If God would do what I want Him to do, then I will believe in Him.”

We see this among the Jews where Jesus had done miracle after miracle among the people and still the people asked for one more sign.  Jesus rebuked them for it.  It’s in Matthew 12:29-42.

Low and behold a simple leper asks Jesus, “if you are willing, you can heal me.”  Then a Roman officer who despised the Jews, but Jesus had gotten through to his heart, respected Jesus authority and came asked if he would heal his daughter.  In both cases Jesus was overjoyed to offer healing and he healed them. It’s all in Matthew 8:1-13.

We have a choice.  We can make up our own opinions about what Jesus said, making Jesus into what he is not, and hate him over a lie we’ve invented.  Although, even if we “loved” God through a lie we invented, we’d still be wrong.  Or we can hear what God has said through His Word, pray for understanding and believe in Him and seek His will based on what He has said about himself.

Frankly, we owe that courtesy to every one (family, friends, enemies, even politicians); to hear them out and try to understand what they have said instead of twisting it into what we think they’ve said.  It’s just that it’s especially important when it comes to God.

Prayer

Dear Lord, during election season it’s especially difficult to get to the truth and it’s so easy to demonize the other side.  Bring our nation together, Lord, so that we can glorify you.  I pray that I will set myself aside in order to hear what You have said, to understand what You mean, in order to do what You will.  Make me less, so You can be more.  Amen.

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