Recently there was a fictional movie about an assassination. In the film, the story kept starting over from the beginning. Each time it was from a different person’s perspective…interesting thought. Oddly enough, we see the same thing with the crucifixion of Jesus. Consider the scene:
“39And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads 40and 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.” 41Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, 42“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. 43He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” – Matthew 27:39-50 NKJV
The First View: “The Mockers”
There are always those who know enough to ridicule, but not enough to understand. The comment in verse 43 is a reference to Psalm 22:8
“He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue him.”
However, they ignored the later verses of the same Psalm (16-18),
“They pierced my hands and my feet; I can count all my bones. They look and stare at me. They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”
Amazing isn’t it. The truth was right in front of them, but mocking attitudes completely hid the obvious.
The Second View: “The Confused”
These folks were watching, but couldn’t figure out what they were witnessing.
“47Some of those who stood there…said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” 48Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink.”
Often there are people just trying to figure it out. The ones mentioned in verse 47 probably didn’t understand Hebrew and hearing “Eli” jumped to conclusions that Jesus was calling for Elijah. They had heard all about Elijah in the old stories, so maybe they thought, “He’s delirious and calling on Elijah for help.” Of course that wasn’t the case. Their reaction was to Jesus quoting a Psalm…verse 1 of the same Psalm just mentioned (22),
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
I like to think some of this group eventually “got it”; becoming followers and part of the early church.
The Third View: “The Redeemed”
Since we can look at events surrounding the Cross through the lens of scripture, we have help understanding how it fits together. II Corinthians 5:21 says Jesus became sin for us. For generations, the Hebrew people had symbolically placed their sins on sacrificial animals, but now a worthy sacrifice was positioned to literally bare the sins of the entire world…leading to a crushing transaction:
45Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.”
- The Transfer – Like a file being downloaded, sin was poured out on the perfect Son of God. For three hours creation grieved in darkness and broke under the strain (earthquakes and stone breaking v.51). Just as Romans 5:8 says, “…while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
- Becoming the Curse – Galatians 3:13 tells us that Christ became cursed in our stead, meaning the hopelessness from trying to keep the Law is gone forever. He satisfied the perfect standard of the Law on our behalf!
- Open Access – Verse 51 of Matthew 27 describes the temple veil surrounding the Most Holy Place being torn in two. As redeemed children of God we can now enter His presence through Jesus our High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16).
So what’s your view? I sincerely hope you have trusted Christ, and know His peace. If you do, thankfully share it!
Series: “The Questions of Jesus” – Lesson X