There is a difference in not having the ability to do something and making a choice not to do it because of a conviction or end that you have in mind. For example, if you and I were sitting at an all-you-can-eat dessert buffet (I know! It sounds like a little piece of Heaven!) that was filled with brownies and ice cream (completely irresistible!) and you asked, “Why aren’t you eating?” (Did I mention this was a completely hypothetical situation?! No way I’m turning that down) My response, assuming I actually had this kind of will power, might be, “I am on a diet, I cannot eat.”
The truth is that I have the ability to eat, but because of an end goal I have in mind I cannot eat. What I am trying to get you to see is the difference in not having the ability to do something and choosing to not do something because the end result is so important that you are willing to sacrifice for it!
All of this rambling started to stir this morning as I was reading through the Gospel of Mark. In Mark chapter 15 we read about the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus is mocked, beaten, spit upon, cut with the crown of thorns, and finally crucified. Once on the cross the mocking and ridicule continued. In verse 31 one of the onlookers made the statement, “He saved others, but he can’t save himself.” It was this verse that caught my attention.
The truth is that Jesus did have the ability to save himself! It was completely within his ability to call down angels from Heaven to save him, or perform some miraculous feat that would have dazzled the crowd and once again given them reason to believe that He was indeed the Messiah, the Christ. Yet, because of an end goal that He had in mind that could only be fulfilled by staying on the cross He chose to suffer through the agonizing death that is death by crucifixion.
What is ironic is that the statement made by the onlooker actually contained some truth. Although the statement he was making was false in the way he intended it the formation of the words spoken were accurate. Jesus COULD NOT save himself. Not because it was out of the realm of His ability, but because He knew that if He did His end goal and purpose could not be fulfilled!
What was His end goal? What was it that kept Him on the cross? What did He place before His pride that didn’t allow him to respond to the mockers? YOU! Jesus stayed on the cross to pay your penalty for sin! He stayed on the cross to be your substitute! In other words, He took the punishment you deserved. He stayed on the cross to satisfy God’s anger toward sin so that you could live in peace with God! He stayed on the cross so that you and I could be reconciled back to God! This is why He COULD NOT save himself!
While He did this for us, it is ultimately for His glory! The fullness of God’s glory is seen in the display of His amazing grace poured out on the cross. It is seen in the fact that now, by faith, we can attain the righteousness of God through Him.
I’ll leave you with two challenges.
- Are you taking advantage of the opportunity Jesus has given you to KNOW God? I’m not talking about participating in religious activity! I’m talking about having a personal relationship with the God of the universe! If not here’s a great way to start…go to our website www.connection-church.com and click on the first image you see that says “Two A Days: Bible Reading Plan” and take the 31 day reading challenge you find there. Each day you are led through readings from the Gospel of John, Proverbs, 1 John, and James. Don’t do it out of obligation! Read with the intent of hearing the heart of God for you! I would also encourage you to journal through the 31 days by writing the things God teaches you in a notebook. You will be amazed at how much He shows you!
- The second challenge is to let Jesus be your example! Our culture tells us that our lives are all about preserving ourselves! The Bible tells us we are the “salt of the earth” and have been given the greatest message ever heard so that we can play a part in preserving others for eternity! If we are to do this we, like Jesus, have to realize we CANNOT save ourselves and at the same time save others! Are you willing to sacrifice so others are able to come to the knowledge of Jesus?! If you are going to follow Jesus you had better be!
Let’s Get After Them Aggressively! There are lost and hurting people all around you who need the hope of Jesus!
Heart and Soul,