Summary: Their conclusion was this: "He saved others, but He can’t save himself!" That was their conclusion, a logical conclusion, but a false conclusion. (Powerpoints available - #273)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request #273.)
A. Next Sunday is Palm Sunday, but since so much happened during His last week, we're going to look at Palm Sunday today. Then next week we'll consider the Garden at Gethsemane.
So with that in mind, travel back with me to that day nearly 1,986 years ago. The Sabbath is over; a new week has begun, & Jesus is on His way to Jerusalem. Matthew tells us about it in Matthew 21:1 11.
"As they approached Jerusalem & came to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, 'Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her.
'Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, tell him that the Lord needs them, & he will send them right away.'
"This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet: 'Say to the Daughter of Zion, 'See, your king comes to you, gentle & riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'
"The disciples went & did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt, placed their cloaks on them, and Jesus sat on them.
“A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees & spread them on the road.
"The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, 'Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!'
"When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred & asked, 'Who is this?' The crowds answered, 'This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.'"
Luke 19:39 40 describes this same scene & adds: "Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, 'Teacher, rebuke your disciples!' 'I tell you,' He replied, 'if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.'"
And John 12:19 tells us: "So the Pharisees said to one another, 'See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after Him!'"
What an exciting day it was! Jesus could have proclaimed the start of His kingdom right then & there, & thousands would have flocked to His side to proclaim Him their King.
But as you know, that was not God's plan. His kingdom was not to be an earthly one, but heavenly, not temporary, but eternal. So when He refused the crown, the people began to turn against Him.
And just a few days later some who had shouted "Hosanna!" were crying "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!" Oh how fickle people can be!
B. Now listen to these familiar words found in Mark 15:25 32. You'll recognize the scene. "It was the third hour when they crucified Him. The written notice of the charge against Him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS. They crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left.
"Those who passed by hurled insults at Him, shaking their heads and saying, `So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!'
"In the same way the chief priests & the teachers of the law mocked Him among themselves. 'He saved others,' they said, 'but He can't save Himself!
'Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.' Those crucified with Him also heaped insults on Him."
C. Scientists tell us that self preservation is a very basic instinct, that whenever we encounter danger, we automatically seek to protect ourselves.
ILL. If we stumble we put our hands out to break the fall. If we're riding in an automobile, & suddenly it appears that we're going to crash, we automatically brace ourselves. And even though experts say that is not the wisest thing to do, we automatically do it because self preservation is a basic instinct in man.
So it is quite natural for the enemies of Jesus to stand around the cross & reason logically that Jesus would want to save His own life.
They reasoned this way: "If He really is the Son of God, then He has the power to come down from the cross. And if He has the power to come down, then He will come down because that's the natural thing to do."
Therefore, when Jesus did not come down from the cross, they assumed that He did not have the power, & therefore He was not the Son of God.