We’re continuing through the Gospel of Luke. We’re now seeing Christ on the cross and all that means to us. Listen as the crowd mocks Him.
The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.”
The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
Luke 23:35-39 NIV
As emotionally charged as this scene is, there’s something for us to take note of. There’s an overall theme of what’s being said to the Lord. “Save yourself!”
I think that we lose sight of this truth sometimes. The will of God often goes against the natural tendencies of our humanity.
The world and even our own flesh will cry out for us to save ourselves. Surely there must be something we can do to get out of the mess we find ourselves in. However, that’s carnal thinking.
Jesus prepared the disciples for what His attitude would be on the cross.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.
Matthew 16:24-25 NIV
There was a work that needed to be done. The only possible way was by means of the cross. There was no accomplishing our salvation and at the same time saving Himself. Jesus totally surrendered to the will of the Father.
We are not called to anything less. The road that we walk, many times, requires us to deny ourselves for the sake of others. Our flesh may be insisting that we save ourselves. But that’s not the example that was laid down for us.
Even in His pain and suffering, there was a work that Christ needed to be doing for those around Him. There was one more act of compassion that had to be done before His death.
But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Luke 23:40-43 NIV
I can’t even fathom the love of the Lord at this point. My attitude would have been a lot different.
“Really, Father? I’m dying here. Do you really expect me to minister to this man in my condition?”
I’m so glad that Christ lived above our petty self-centeredness. His life was never about Himself, but always for the betterment of others.
That’s the key to a fulfilled life in Christ. We must accurately portray who He is through our daily lives.
But we’ll never be able to live up to this in our own strength and ability. The only way to accomplish such a lifestyle is through the power of the Holy Spirit within us.
That’s why we need to spend quality time in the Lord’s presence. It’s only as He imparts His love, boldness, and strength, that we can hope to minister as Jesus did. Let the Lord’s example motivate you to seek His face for the days ahead.
Question: How much of the Lord’s compassion do you see in your life?
© 2023 Nick Zaccardi