Day 141 – Matthew 27:35-44; Mark 15:24-32; Luke 23:33-43; John 19:18-27

It Was Love.

Matthew 27:35-44; Mark 15:24-32; Luke 23:33-43; John 19:18-27

A Sign was fastened above Jesus’ head announcing the charge against him. It read: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” – Matthew 27:37 NLT

Jesus was guilty. Yes, He was guilty of being the King of the Jews., and it was for that reason He was crucified. Over and over again in the Gospel accounts, that term is used to describe Jesus. It was the main point of questioning by Pilate. It was the one point of accusation to which He would respond when questioned. It was how Pilate presented Him to the people. It was why He was mocked by the Roman guards and what caused them to place a purple robe on His shoulders and a crown of thorns on His head. Pilate even went as far as to have it written on the piece of wood that was nailed to the cross above Jesus’ head, signifying His “crime.” Interestingly enough, the Jewish religious leaders tried to get Pilate to change the wording, asking him to have it changed to “He said, I am the King of the Jews.” But Pilate refused. As Jesus was being crucified, the leading priests and teachers of religious law stood at the foot of the cross, mocking Him. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself!” (Mark 15:31 NLT). They shouted, “Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” (Mark 15:32 NLT).  Even one of the criminals who was being crucified next to Him scoffed, saying, “So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself – and us, too, while you’re at it!” (Luke 23:39 NLT).

And here’s the amazing thing: Jesus could have saved Himself. He could have come down off the cross and put an end to His own suffering. He could have dealt with His enemies in righteous indignation, giving them exactly what they deserved – the full wrath of a holy God. But instead, Jesus responded, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34 NLT). And He continued to allow Himself to be ridiculed and mocked. He continued to allow His life to ebb away, so that the very ones who were hurling abuse at Him might one day believe in Him and find forgiveness for their sins and a restored relationship with the Father. Yes, Jesus had the full capacity and power to come down off that cross, because He really was the King of the Jews and He really was the Son of God. He was divine, and yet He suffered and died. Why? What would possess Jesus to go through what He did? Why would He allow His own creation to mock and murder Him? I think the answer is found in the words of a song that I haven’t heard in quite some time. It expresses the reality of what held Jesus to that cross that day, and caused Him to give His life for you and for me. Read them slowly and think about them. Consider the significance of what they say. And then express your gratitude to Jesus for what He has done.

He could’ve called ten thousand angels
To deliver Him that day.
But He hung there in all His anguish
To prepare for me a way.

It wasn’t nails that held Him to the tree
Nor the angry crowd that cried crucify
For when Jesus died upon Calvary
It was love that held Him there.

Oh what love beyond all measure
That He gave His life for me
And I’m so glad that one day in glory
His Blessed Face I’ll see.

It wasn’t nails that held Him to the tree
Nor the angry crowd that cried crucify
For when Jesus died upon Calvary
It was love that held Him there.

Every day I’ll tell the story
Of His precious love for me
How He bled and died on Calvary
There to prove His love for me.

Jesus, You literally could have called ten thousand angels. You could have stopped the whole affair and decided that enough was enough. You could have turned Your full divine power against those who were crucifying You, and You would have been completely justified in Your actions. But instead, You remained faithful to Your Father’s plan, and You willingly sacrificed Your life for ours. It wasn’t nails that held you there. It wasn’t Roman guards who kept you on the cross. It wasn’t man-made laws or trumped-up charges that caused Your death. It was love. You died because You loved us. You died because Your Father loved us. It was love that held You there and I am forever grateful. Amen.

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men