Mark 15 29 Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking Him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself. 32 Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him.
When coming to the cross there is an easy persuasion to stay at its foot only momentarily. The pull of the flesh demands that you withdraw from the cross, treating Jesus’ death as a religious experience, like a visiting of a shrine. The gospel however has demands of its own; the demand to remain at the cross is highlighted in Jesus’ death. The King of Kings, the Messiah foretold by great prophets is nailed to a cross. The cross composed of two pieces of wood, and the Christ pierced with three nails, surely The King of the universe could save himself? The King could have called battalions of angels to his rescue yet He remained, suffering torment and pain, even separation from His own father.
How did he remain? The text tells us that people were mocking him saying ‘He saved others; He cannot even save Himself’. Jesus remained in the position of not saving himself. He removed not even a nail that through his omission of saving himself he might ‘save others’.
How do we respond? Our default position is to self. We try to save ourselves in our own efforts and justifications. We make pilgrimage to the cross as a religious experience on Sunday mornings and Wednesday night bible studies, confining it to a mere shrine. We save ourselves from the cross the moment we withdraw and tick our penance boxes. We feel justice has been accomplished once we’ve had a ’ good session’ at the cross. We come so easily to its foot, pay our respects, and then forgetfully leave Jesus, suffering at our expense. Yet the call of Christ to us is ‘take up your cross and follow Me’, ‘be crucified with Me, share in My scourging, take part in My piercing, die in My death that you may live in My life, be crucified and remain crucified’. God was most glorified when Jesus was on the cross; therefore He is most glorified in you when you become crucified with His son. In your strength you won’t remain, only because of His remaining can we remain in Him.
Will you remain by ceasing in saving yourself? Do you come to the cross in a state of pilgrimage? Take up your cross and be crucified with Christ. Are you persuaded to withdraw? Ask Jesus to help you remain.