“The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One’”.
Lk 23:35 NIV
Good Friday is the most holy day in the Christian calendar for most Christian believers. As they commemorate the events of the crucifixion in Jerusalem they know that it was all about the salvation of the human race.
And on that first Good Friday the bystanders watched as Jesus died. Crucifixions were a regular event and provided a strange form of entertainment – as well as being a deterrent to others who might be inclined to take up criminal pursuits. “He saved others”, they said, “Let him save himself”. It was a thoughtless thing to say. But in one sense it was right – he had saved others. He had “saved” the lepers he had healed, the woman with the haemorrhage, the “shorty” Zacchaeus, the paralysed man and a host of others. And of course he didn’t need to be saved himself, being the Saviour of the world.
What those saying these things were blissfully unaware of was that Jesus was doing what was needed to save many others, if not in the way that they understood being saved. Saving others was his whole mission on earth and even as they watched him writhe in agony and death his work of salvation was being accomplished. Paul later preached the cross as the wisdom of God, and many people came to believe in Jesus Christ through the proclamation of the gospel of the cross.
They still do. And it was by not saving himself that he saves others. The mission of preaching that gospel is the never-ending task of every believer.
Lord, let the message of the cross save many people today.