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!Matthew 27:40
If we are to understand Jesus, then we must understand the cross. While Jesus was suffering and dying on the cross, he was faced with insults. If you are the Son of God, save yourself. If you are the Son of God. This phrase should sound familiar to us because it is the same phrase the devil used while tempting Jesus in the wilderness. ‘If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread’ (Matthew 4:3)
It seems that throughout Jesus life he was being asked to do things for himself to prove who he was. Ironic when we consider the whole purpose of Jesus life. ‘…and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’ (Matthew 1:21) If Jesus had of proven his credentials by coming of that cross, he would not have been saviour. Jesus willingness to remain on the cross, to suffer and die is the proof that he is saviour.
Understanding Jesus is to understand he died to save us from our sin. We need to come to terms with the fact that we need to be saved from sin and Jesus death on the cross is the only way in which we can be saved. This leaves us with one question, how? In Acts 2:37 after Peter had preached his sermon at Pentecost the crowds asked, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ The answer Peter gave was, ‘Repent and be baptised, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.’ (Acts 2:38)
Repentance is quite simply the turning away from a life of obedience to sin. By that we mean a life where our desires and wants take central stage to a life where God is central. We seek to be obedient to him. Of course, this does not undo the fact that we have been and are sinful. Trying to change how we live going forward in no-way makes up for what has already happened.
Something more then is required. Trusting in the finished work of Christ on the cross. To understand Jesus is to understand that it is only his sacrifice on the cross atones for sin, it is only his sacrifice on the cross that proves he alone is saviour.
The question then is how we will react to Jesus crucifixion. Will we mock totally misunderstanding why Jesus came to earth, or will we accept the wonderful gift of a saviour dying to deal with our sin?
Prayer Lord Jesus Christ, you are my crucified Saviour. Thank you. I confess that I am a sinner in need of your sacrifice. I confess it is only because of you that I can be forgiven. Forgive me please. I repent, I turn away from a life of selfishness and self-centredness. Lord Jesus be at the centre of my life and help me to live for you. Amen