This was the last and possibly the most insidious temptation of Christ: “If you are the Son of God, come off the cross.’ — prove it. Jesus’ response was to emote Psalm 22. I imagine racing through his mind was his response the last time the Devil threatened him into abdicating his mission: “Get behind me Satan…you’re a stumbling block to me; For you do not have in mind the things of God but the things of men.” (Mt.16:23)
I’m so grateful Jesus understands the bigger picture, even at his greatest point of suffering. He intended to go through the absolute most horrific torture humanly possible: the extent which causes one to feel abandoned by God. And when it was accomplished, THEN he gave up his spirit, entrusting to our Heavenly Father and his, the ultimate outcome of his ministry. That outcome (which will be celebrated in three days…) outshines any heroic attempts to wrest off the nails, commandeer legions of angels, and wreak vengeance on the local authorities. That outcome demonstrated our reconciliation. AND it gave us an empathizing advocate in the spiritual realms forevermore. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Lord, today I bow before you and you alone, my Savior and my High Priest. The lengths you went to for me, in both suffering and identifying completely with all of human suffering; love this amazing compels me to embrace you, to join you, to live because of and for you with all I am and have. Amen.
Scriptural links courtesy of Bible Gateway (www.biblegateway.com)