So taunted the persecutors of the Lord Jesus Christ as he hung on the cross, surrounded by Roman soldiers, Jewish leaders, onlookers and a few of his followers from a distance. They flung in his face, His helplessness. He had healed many of sicknesses, made the lame walk and the blind see. He had even raised the dead. But He could not, He would not, come down from the cross.
Why not? Certainly, being God, He had the power to do so. Was He just trying for sympathy? No, He needs not our sympathy. Was He engaged in symbolism? No, Christ was not a showman. Why then did He endure such agony and humiliation?
He had to. The scribes were right. Their taunt was more true than they realized. He could not save Himself and still save us.
For indeed, if Christ saved himself from the penalty of their sin, they nor we could not be saved.
For you see, they and we are under a curse. The sin which we inherited and practice in our lives brings us under the curse of death. No amount of effort on our part; no good works are enough to satisfy the penalty for our waywardness. Our God’s standard is so high that only death will pay for its violation. The apostle Paul said it well in his letter to the church at Rome, “…the wages of sin is death.”
Jesus Christ endured the same temptation we all face everyday but lived a life without sin. Being the Son of God, He was able to die for the sins of the world because He had none of His own to die for. This is the substitutionary death that makes it possible for us to be justified before God. Without this substitutionary death of Christ, we must pay for our sin with our own death. Christ made the choice to give up His life in order that we might live. What great love! What an incomprehensible thing He did. And we are free from the penalty of our sin merely by counting upon His death for us.
By His resurrection from the grave, He proved that He is indeed who He claimed to be, the Son of God. What great assurance we can have of eternal life knowing that His death paid for every sin we ever committed.