Summary: Should we put God to the test?
LUKE 23:32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. 34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”And they divided His garments and cast lots. 35 And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” 38 And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
I want to talk to you today about faith. You may think that this is not a very good example.....Jesus was being crucified and taunted as He hung upon that cross. It would seem that the faith of the disciples had disappeared...as they had. Scattered like bugs when you turn on the light. This had to be the lowest of lows for the followers of Jesus. It looked as if He had been defeated...along with all of their beliefs in Him and in God.
What I want to draw your attention to though, is the actions of all the people involved here. First, in vs 35, the rulers that stood looking on with the people. They sneered....mocked Him...“He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” These were His people, the Jews. Then look in vs 36...the Roman soldiers also began to mock Him...“If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” They mocked Him so much that they even made a sign in three different languages to put over His head. THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. They didn’t do that because they really believed He was the King of the Jews...they did it out of malice and spite! As a matter of fact, it got so bad that even the doomed thief hanging beside Him chimed in...“If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
People making fun of Jesus. Jesus, the gentlest, kindest, most perfect being that ever walked this earth. Bringing a new covenant, a new life, a new hope for mankind. The saviour of all mankind, humiliated and mocked. They dared Him to show them that He was who He said He was....the Son of God.
Turn with me to MAT 4 this is right after Jesus had been baptized by John the Baptist and was about ready to begin His ministry here on earth. 3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘ He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and,
‘ In their hands they shall bear you up,Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’”
We see here twice that Satan challenged Jesus. If you are the Son of God, do something! Have you ever felt like that with Jesus? You get into a situation that is hopeless, frantic....you just don’t know what you’re going to do..and then you say "Hey Jesus..you are the Son of God, the Alpha and Omega, the first and last, the beginning and the end. Show me something!" After all, what good is it to be the Son of God if you won’t show your might and power for us here when we find ourselves in trouble. Show me!
Jesus’ response to Satan was this...You shall not tempt the LORD your God.’”He was quoteing the Old Testament, DEUT 6:16 Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah. So what did they do at Massah? We have to go to EXODUS 17:1 The whole Israelite community set out from the Desert of Sin, traveling from place to place as the LORD commanded. They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. 2 So they quarreled with Moses and said, "Give us water to drink." Moses replied, "Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the LORD to the test?" 3 But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?" Then skip on to vs 7 And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the LORD saying, "Is the LORD among us or not?"