“…You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”…“He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross… ”
- Matthew 27:39-42
Question: If you are the son of God? If you are King of Israel?
Destroying the temple and building it in 3 days requires some sort of special power, ability, authority. Jesus calimed this power as the son of God, He had the access to the divine powers being the son of God, through the relationship.
Here the relationship is questioned: if you are the son of God; do you still have such relationship with God.
Jesus came to this earth to save Israel and the rest of the world. He is the appointed King of Israel. God gave His one and only son to save this world, his appointment, this assignment comes from God.
Here the assignment is questioned: if you are the King of Israel, do you still hold the assignment from God.
Challenge: Save yourself/Himself, He cannot save. Come down from the cross.
Himself, He cannot save - This is tricky; it's so true and so not true. This is what it means, It's NOT true as Jesus had the ability to save Himself and come down from the cross; It's SO true as Jesus will NOT save Himself and will NOT come down from the cross.
David faced such situation when... “The men said, “This is the day the Lord spoke of when he said to you, ‘I will give your enemy into your hands for you to deal with as you wish…” - I Samuel 24:4. But He chose not to use his power and ability to protect himself by taking Saul's life, rather He trusted God and waited for God's plan to fulfill.
“Come down from the cross” is the voice of…
- the inner man within us resisting the narrow gate. (He says it's difficult, it's impossible)
- the flesh that rebels against the spirit. (it says you are weak, tired, not enough)
- the ego that seeks to be freed of the yoke of the commandment. (it calls for pride, to prove)
- the world that calls us to the wide gate. (it displays so many options to distract)
- the enemy's invitation to escape the struggle, pain, hardships. (invites to shortcuts, easy routes)
- the invitation from those closest to you to forsake Christian perfection which pleases the Lord. (invites to question our faith, our purpose, our call and to compromise our walk with God)
God's marvelous plan in hidden sight
“Sitting down, they (the soldiers) kept watch over Him there...” - Matthew 27:36
These soldiers were appointed by the people who decided to hang Jesus on the cross and these soldiers are to make sure Jesus is on the cross until He dies.
Likewise, God uses enemy's opposition, hurdles, plan to fulfill His plan in our lives. In David's life, Saul was persistently pursuing to end Davi's life. Running away from Saul, David has to go thru so many challenges and battles through which God prepares David as a warrior, as a leader, and eventually as a King. God had to prepare David to be a King and Saul perfectly plays the role to make sure David is put to training.
Sometimes, we face opposition, rejection, closed doors, accusation, being left alone in so many ways. Though it's painful and difficult, God turns these things to make sure we are on the track, that we don't come down from our cross. Joseph had to go thru a pit fall, slavery, false accusation, ending up in prison, being forgotten, all to take him to the place where God wanted him to be, the fulfillment of Joseph's dream.
Jesus answered to Pilate, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above...". Pilate was the King, He had power, authority; but even Pilate's earthly powers cannot stop unless God approves it. Things may seem like promising, like an easy path, less painful, quick results; but none would work unless it is given from above.
We will always have to face questions on our relationship with God and on our role/assignment from God. We may be intimidated so much that we may want to quit, give up and come down from our daily cross that we are called to bear. But like Jesus did "who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross", let us also continue to trust God's plan and stay on the track to finish the race as one who called us is Faithful.