As we remember the sacrifice of Jesus today, this is the right time to meditate on the sufferings and shame He encountered in order to fulfill God’s plan of Salvation. Apart from the physical sufferings He experienced, the mental agony was too severe which is already inherent from His prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane the previous day. Matthew 26:39 says, “He went a little farther and fell on His face, and prayed, saying, “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”” In addition to that, he was ridiculed by others who saw Him hanging on the cross.
Matthew 27:39-40 says, “And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “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.”” People who were passing by the place Jesus was crucified reviled Him. They didn’t know that Jesus was speaking about the temple of His own body when He said that. They would have realized it later when He proved the same having raised Himself up from the dead on the third day. From the second part of the verse, we see that they even challenged Jesus to come down from the cross. It was the same temptation offered by satan while Jesus was hungry after 40 days of fasting. But Jesus overcame the temptation on this occasion too.
It was not just those who passed by. Matthew 27:41-43 says, “Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’””. This time He was mocked by the Chief priests joined by the Scribes and the elders of the Sanhedrin. They tried to down play the saving power of Jesus. It’s sad that they weren’t aware of the fact that Jesus had to resist saving Himself physically so that He could save the world spiritually.
In a world where we do all kind of things to prove that we are whom we say we are, the Son of God just kept quiet. He had the power and authority to do anything. Matthew 28:18 says, “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” He didn’t exercise His authority but fulfilled the purpose for which He came down from Heaven to earth. How do we respond when people ridicule us for being Christians? Do we look to exercise our authority or do we persevere to fulfill God’s purpose?