(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
Matthew 27:38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “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!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
I’ll show them!
I’ll get down from this cross, destroy the temple building and have it rebuilt in 3 hours let alone three days.
I’ll show them!
I trust God. I am the Son of God. I’ll just step down and I’ll show them!
Jesus didn’t say or even think the things above, but the taunts and the jeers and the challenges had to be a temptation against self-control.
Self-control is challenged when others challenge us to prove our point or prove our abilities or prove our claims.
Dares…double dares…challenges to my person challenge me to lose self-control.
A taco eating challenge leads to a day of sickness afterwards – dumb move.
A drinking challenge leads to a drunken driving arrest – dumb move.
A challenge to prove your fastball leads to a torn rotator cuff – dumb move.
A mean insult leads you to take a swing at the person – dumb move.
When people challenge our ego, our claims, our person our natural response is to prove them wrong.
It takes self-control to be confident that you don’t have to do something against your person or purpose to prove yourself to people who don’t care about you or would change their mind even if you did.
The insults were brutal. The challenges were real. The temptation was strong.
But power isn’t shown in one’s ability to do something, power is proved by choosing not to do something, even if you have the power to do it.
Jesus practiced perfect self-control on the cross in the face of intense challenge to do otherwise.
Self-control knew destroying and rebuilding the physical temple in Jerusalem would have no converts if his rising from the dead didn’t change minds in three days.
Self-control knew getting down from the cross was less significant than triumphing over the cross as he did.
Self-control knew that coming down from the cross would save no one…staying there would.
Self-control knew that if the many miracles he had already performed hadn’t convinced the religious leaders of his authenticity…coming down from the cross wouldn’t either.
Self-control led Jesus to be consistent with his person and purpose as he hung on the cross. He came to bear the sins of the world…including those that mocked him. Self-control led him to forgive instead of insult back. Self-control led him to pronounce salvation to the thief who recognized his position on the cross paled in comparison to his position before his Holy God. Self-control led him to suffer separation from his Father so you and I would never have to.
He could have come down.
But he didn’t.
To show us.
How much he loves us.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for staying on the cross…for me. AMEN.