Matthew 27:40 – And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.
Jerusalem was in an uproar. Jesus was officially rejected by the Jews and condemned by the Romans in scandalous scenes of strife and sorrow. Three crosses stood at the place called Golgotha, with Jesus crucified in the midst of two thieves. Disgusted passersby mocked him. “If thou be the Son of God,” they chastised, “come down from the cross.” Yet Jesus would not. He had long ago heard the voice of another who signified that Jesus was the divine Son and the Suffering Servant (Matthew 3:13-17; Psalm 2:7, Isaiah 42). Despite the jeers and the sneers, Jesus was determined to live and die in the way befitting the Son of God.
The mocking of Jesus follows the same pattern of temptation by the devil (Matthew 4:1-11). The shocking difference is that these words now came from people, not Satan. The humbling insight is that the temptation came during desperate times of weakness (4:1; 27:35). Just as he did in the wilderness, Jesus demonstrated faithfulness despite temptation. By remaining on the cross, Jesus chose to:
-Depend fully upon God’s power – rather than using his power or privilege for selfish appeasement (27:42a; 4:3).
-Hope confidently in God’s timing – rather than demanding the immediate fulfillment of his kingdom (27:42b; 4:8).
-Trust readily in God’s will – rather than demand action contrary to God’s plan (27:43; 4:6).
In our weakest moments, we may find ourselves tempted in similar ways. We may be tempted to use power, influence, experience, or privilege to achieve selfish ambition. You may sense an immediate need that needs divine intervention. You may think that God owes it to you to fulfill your requests or demands. There is only one path to Christlikeness, and that is the way of the cross.
Choose the way of the cross. It is the way of dependence, hope, and trust. You will need endurance (Hebrews 12:1-2). You will have to learn to hope and quietly wait on the Lord (Lamentations 3:26). In the end, you will have learned this transformational truth: that trust in God destroys the fear of anything you can face in this world.