Tuesday, April 26, 2011
We should never go past the cross but deeper into it. For the past several years, I've made it a goal not to just think about the cross at Easter, but meditate on the cross daily. I've read Matthew 26-28 countless times, but what I love about Scripture is that God continues to teach us more and more as we pray and read. One of the aspects of the crucifixion that caught my eye this year is recorded in Matthew 27:39-44. Matthew records that those passing by the crucifixion "derided" Jesus, he records that the religious leaders "mocked" Jesus, and he records that the robbers crucified on either side of Jesus "also reviled him in the same way." As I said, I've read these verses too many times to count. What gripped my heart this year was how Jesus refused to let their comments tempt Him away from living in submission to the Father's plan. At any point, He could have come down and vindicated Himself, but we would have all perished in our sin. The religious leaders were trying to tempt Jesus with the same thing the Devil did: worship without a cross. Too often when I am wronged, my "fleshly" desire is to vindicate myself. When someone speaks disparagingly of me, there is a desire to prove them wrong. I'm so thankful that Christ understood His substitutionary atonement and resurrection would be vindication enough. His exaltation to the right hand of the Father is unquestionable vindication. As I meditate on these verses this year, I ponder anew how the Gospel sets me free from self vindication. Because of Christ in me, self can (and needs to) decrease. I'm so thankful for Christ's obedience and Christ is my only hope for obedience and denial of self.