Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff, and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it. When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. – Matthew 27:45-54
His enemies continue to shout, however, crying, ‘He saved others, but cannot save himself!’ Again we see how reprobate in mind they had become. Was not the fact that He had saved others a sure, unerring mark of His divine power? They were not unmindful that he had brought the dead to life. He had restored sight to the blind and had healed paralytics, the lame and even the demon possessed. In every miracle that He had done He had displayed the great treasures of His goodness and power. Yet these things are still held against Him. We see, therefore, how these poor madmen, with no one to coerce them, are their own judges and rob themselves of every excuse, so that when they come before the great judgment seat of Jesus Christ they will have nothing to plead in their defense: their own mouths will condemn them.
If our Lord Jesus Christ saved others, He could most certainly save Himself, unless He preferred to put them before Himself. What is it we witness here, if not a marvelous act of kindness by which He chose to be destroyed in the sight of men, that He might rescue us from destruction? He chose to suffer what we ourselves deserved, in order to discharge our debt. In a word, He surrendered all temporal salvation by not placing His own life first or by sparing Himself, in order that we might be certain of our eternal salvation, and might have a guarantee and proof of payment. Our faith, then, should be all the stronger. And whatever the devil does to upset and to hinder our coming to Jesus Christ, should serve to fortify us even more. Let us make the most of what we are shown here.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 21
Q. 21. Who is the redeemer of God’s elect?
A. The only redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ, who, being the eternal Son of God, became man, and so was, and continueth to be, God and man in two distinct natures, and one person, forever.