Friday, September 2, 2011
Undeserving . . .
Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shading 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!"
The verses from Mark's scripture today are horrendously heart-rending. As Jesus hangs on the cross, enduring unimaginable suffering, those gathered at the morbid scene offer no utterance of sympathy or sorrow. Instead, they mock Him, taunt Him, and seem to derive sadistic satisfaction from kicking at one already down. I find it unbearably sorrowful knowing that the last words our Lord heard from those on earth He unresistingly died to save were replete with hate, scornful and malicious. I wonder if, for one fleeting moment, Jesus regretted in His agony His obedience to the Father's will; who, after all, were these wretched, ungrateful creatures and why would God demand His Son's sacrifice to return them into right relationship with Him?
The jeering, malevolent crowd was undeserving; the Pharisees and Saducees, demanding a sign even at this late juncture, were undeserving; the criminals hanging on either side of the Lord were undeserving, and we, too, are undeserving. Yet, as Paul tells us, "God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) We could never raise ourselves from the quagmire of sin and death on our own; God had to do it for us. As hard and overwhelming as it is for us to believe, He loves us that much.
Take some time today to reflect upon the greatest story ever told and the greatest gift freely given for our salvation in the selfless sacrifice of Christ Jesus. With a humble and contrite spirit, thank Him for this wondrous gift, knowing that neither you nor I , nor any in this world, deserve it.
Psalms 31 or 35
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