Summary: Do you suppose they really would have believed Jesus if He had climbed down from the cross?
Matthew 27:38-44 We Will Believe Him 23/3/08Hd
“He saved others, but He cannot save himself. If He is the King of Israel, let Him come down now from the cross, and we will believe Him.” Mat 27:42
Do you suppose they really would have believed if Jesus had climbed down from the cross? Maybe? Then why didn’t He come down? First, He was obedient unto death. Obedient? To Whom? To his Dad. Since the third chapter of Genesis, God has been promising a Saviour who would crush Satan’s head:
And I will put enmity
between you [Satan] and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
Satan has struck Christ’s heel, but the heel wound has healed. It only took three days. Has Christ crushed Satan’s head yet—a mortal, incurable wound? Apparently not. I have seen results of his work even recently around here. But it will happen, and probably soon. God offered Jesus the opportunity to become human, to suffer, and to die, to pay for all humanity’s sins for all time. And Jesus accepted, because He loves His Dad and wanted to please Him.
Sin has become a bad word in our world. Nobody wants to admit to it, but God still holds us accountable. There are at least four branches of sin:
SIN, proper, means failing to do what God has commanded. The picture in Romans 3 is of a bull’s eye with two circles. The inner circle says “Love God.” The outer circle says “Love your neighbour.” Every day, we are given a fresh arrow to shoot at the target. And every day, we pull the bow back, take aim, and…miss; therefore, we’re all going to die.
As well, every human being is guilty of TRESPASS. Sin is negative; trespass is positive. In our lives, God gives each of us a small area that He says is forbidden. It is surrounded by a fence. God says that we can go anywhere, and do anything, but we are not to climb that fence. We’re not to cross the line. We’re not to enter the forbidden territory. It’s different for each of us, but we know what it is for us. Are you with me?
The trouble is that people look around them and say, “Wow! I can do this and this, and this, but not that. Why not?” So we step over the line. We climb the fence. We enter forbidden territory. Then we discover that the forbidden territory is like quicksand. It sucks us in, and holds us back so we can no longer enjoy all the other things God has given us to enjoy. We’re all guilty of trespass, so we’re all going to die. How are you feeling?
A guy went to court. The judge asked, “Are you guilty or innocent?” The guy said, “I’m innocent.” After four hours of trial, the guy finally yelled out, “I’m guilty. I’m guilty!” The judge asked, “Why didn’t you say so four hours ago?” The guy said, “I didn’t realize I was guilty until I heard all the evidence.”
Like it or not, we’re all guilty of sin and of trespass.
On top of that, we’re all guilty of INIQUITY. Iniquity is perverting the beautiful things of God, especially those connected with love, sex, and relationships. We’ve perverted them. We’ve polluted them. And we’re all guilty.
And one more we’re guilty of is GUILE. Guile is projecting what is false. We do it all the time. We rationalize—rational lies. We pretend to be something we’re not. Pilate tried to release Jesus to the Jews because he knew that Jesus had been set up. What happened? The priests stirred the people up. Pilate saw things were about to get ugly. He made a quick choice—a rationalization. Instead of making the right choice, and getting into the middle of an uprising, he gave up his leadership. He washed his hands of the whole thing. He let them do what they demanded. He could have stopped it, but he knew that meant bloodshed, and he was looking for the easy way out. And, of course, we know that God already had it planned that way.
We’re all guilty of sin, trespass, iniquity, and guile. All of that disconnects us from God.
P”s???? Here’s a clean, crisp, twenty dollar bill that’s worth $20. If I wrinkle it up, and scrunch it all into a ball, how much is it worth? $20. What about if I step on it, and grind it into the dirt—even tear it? Yes, it’s still worth $20. If that’s true for a piece of paper with numbers and pictures on it, can you see that it doesn’t matter how much sin, iniquity, trespass, and guile we have, we are still valuable to God? And HE wants to reconnect.