Many sermons and articles have been provided which deal with the statements from the cross of Jesus, focusing on the final words of our Lord prior to His death. While these constitute an important study, what about the statements offered by the people who were witnessing the death of the Savior on the cross? Some important lessons concerning the mind-set of the people at Calvary can be gained, as those lessons remain important in this modern time.
WHAT NOW, TEMPLE BUILDER? In Matthew 27:40, the people were passing by the scene of the crucifixion, wagging their heads, "And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross" (also see Mark 15:29-30, Luke 23:35). They were calling for proof that He was the Son of God. The problem was, He had already proved the fact through the miraculous signs which He had performed, "that believing ye might have life through his name" (John 20:31). With the overwhelming evidence already provided, the people gazed upon the dying Son of God in rejection. Even among His disciples, "When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them" (John 2:22), referring to the fact that He would raise the temple of his body in three days. Today, there remain some who call for miracles and signs yet reject the confirmed foundation for faith in the inspired Word! Their focus is on the physical, not the spiritual.
WHAT KIND OF SAVIOR IS THIS? The religious leaders among the people called out, "He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him" (Matthew 27:42; also see Mark 15:31-32, Luke 23:37). Jesus had already claimed to be the Savior (John 5:39; Matthew 18:11; Luke 5:31-32), yet He was not the kind of savior that the people wanted! He was not a financial savior, nor an earthly governmental savior, but a spiritually eternal Savior! Today, many people want the Savior, but they want an earthly, material, and even a military savior. This is not what Jesus is about.
HE IS NO BETTER THAN WE ARE! "The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth" (Matthew 27:44; also see Luke 23:39). Truly, Jesus took on a fleshly form (John 1:14), He lived as a man (Hebrews 4:15), and He died (Hebrews 9:27-28); yet He was God in the flesh! "Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am" (John 8:58). He said, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30). Because of such statements, some sought to stone Him for blasphemy! Today, some say He was a good man, maybe even a prophet, but no more.
FOR WHOM IS HE CALLING FOR HELP? Maybe in delirium he was calling for Elijah (Matthew 27:46-49; see also Mark 15:35-36)! Jesus said that He could pray and God would give him more than twelve legions of angels (Matthew 26:53-54); yet this was not a movie where, right at the end, the hero is saved from danger. He was not calling for a way out. He was dying for the sins of mankind; yet, many deny the fact that Jesus willingly died on a cross, which is too demeaning.
One final statement was made: "LORD, REMEMBER ME WHEN THOU COMEST INTO THY KINGDOM" (Luke 23:42). A statement based on repentance, glimmering with hope, which was promised, in turn, with a reward of paradise. This is the only statement at the cross which was blessed, because there is no other name whereby one may be saved (Acts 4:12). After the passing of our Lord, the Roman centurion wisely concluded, "Truly this was the Son of God" (Matthew 27:54).
As you drift back through some twenty centuries and consider what happened just outside the city of Jerusalem, putting yourself at the scene of the crucifixion, what is your statement at the cross? -P. O. Box 176, Belington, WV 26250. P.O. Box 176, Belington, WV 26250.
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