And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at Him, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself, if He is the Christ of God, His Chosen One!" (Luke 23:35).
Read Luke 23:35.
Luke shows us two groups of Jews who have gathered around the cross-the people and the rulers. The Jewish people stand by curiously watching the gruesome spectacle. Luke lets them fade into the background as he turns our attention to the Jewish rulers.
The second group, the rulers, includes the entire Jewish court. During their trials they had thrown all honor, integrity, dignity and decorum to the wind as they called for false witnesses against Jesus (see Matthew 26:59), personally abused and tormented Him (see Matthew 26:66-68). Then they hounded Him to Pilate's court, over to Herod's court, and back to Pilate again. They had stirred up the crowds to demand Jesus' crucifixion, and when Pilate surrendered Him to their desires, they had gleefully followed His procession to this place to celebrate their victory.
Now at the place of execution they put on an air of superiority and scoff at Him. They play on His name, Jesus, which means "The Lord saves." Speaking of Jesus' many healing miracles, they mock, "He saved others, let Him save Himself, if He is the Christ of God, His Chosen One!"
They mistake Jesus' choice not to save Himself as proof that He cannot save Himself. But Jesus is not here to save Himself: He is here to save each of us-and these Jewish rulers as well. To do that He must remain on the cross until every last sin is paid and God's justice is completely satisfied. His death is their only hope of salvation-and ours.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You endured mockery and shame to save me and all people. Let me gladly bear mockery and shame for Your Name. Amen.
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