Luke 23 verse 35. “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.””
Christ hung on the Cross suspended between Heaven and earth. He was a spectacle to a callous and mocking world. It was an era of public execution and cruelty and thus we read: “The people stood watching….. “ (verse 35). If there was any doubt about how culpable the rulers were, who orchestrated his crucifixion, all doubt is removed by the words: “….. and the rulers even sneered at him” (verse 35). Let us never doubt the depths to which human nature can sink, nor should we be surprised at the hardness of the human heart.
At this point the leaders uttered what was meant to be a jibe without realising the profound truth of what they were saying: “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” (verse 35). The soldiers who crucified him said the same thing in v 36. These people, all admit that he had indeed brought deliverance to others, but now he seems physically unable to free himself. What kind of Messiah is he? How would he as the King of the Jews ever overcome his enemies? They could conceive of Kingship in no other terms than that of power, force and conquest. The Jewish leaders taunted him with the words: “the Christ of God the Chosen One” (verse 35), because to them Christ was a theological issue. The soldiers mocked him as King of the Jews (verse 36), because to them Jesus was a political issue. So, rejected by both church and state, Jesus hung on the cross, dying for us. He looked powerless, defeated and laughable – and their derision of Christ will be reflected in all generations till He comes back again in person with great glory and establishes his Kingdom once and for all. Christ is neither a political Saviour, nor a religious Saviour, for all the institutions of society are corrupt and fallen. Instead He is God’s Saviour to all who believe, who will then become part of a new society ruled by His love and who would then be given a great hope for the future. Christians have always rejected the notion that Christianity is a “religion” in the institutional sense of the word.
How interesting to note that even at this moment in the narrative we can detect in the mocking words of the leaders and the soldiers, the subtle temptation of the evil one, to get Jesus off the Cross. Christ cannot save us without the Cross. He must die for our sins, or all is lost. So he stayed on the Cross absorbing the wrath of God for the very people who rejected him, and indeed for all of us. He was held there on the Cross, not by Roman nails, but by cords that cannot be seen with the human eye. The cord of love and obedience to His Father’s will and the cord of love to us, lost and undeserving sinners.
Dear friend, this is love beyond compare! Have you seen it, embraced it? Do you live by His love for you? This is the pathway of comfort and joy.