A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.) And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it.
Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece. It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. A sign announced the charge against him. It read, “The King of the Jews.” Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.
The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”
The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.
The charge against Him is the one question He answered directly. THE KING OF THE JEWS The mockers were people passing by including the religious leaders of the day. They are calling for Him to save Himself. Self. Hmmmm… He spent His life serving others. Where were the lame and blind He healed? Where were the ones He fed and taught? They are not mentioned here. He faces conflict alone. He does not retaliate, does not turn from it. He has a single-mindedness that takes Him through the conflict. He knows who He is and what He must do. He is the Son of God and must suffer and die. He does not respond to the challenges that question who He is. His ‘self’ is rooted in the Godhead. He does not need the affirmation of His creation. He has purpose and meaning and that carries Him through the conflict.
The model we can draw from and follow is given to us here. We are who He says we are; the children of God. In that place we can stand as He stood, without a need to respond to our accusers. We can face conflict as He did with the single-mindedness of the purpose and meaning He has given in the Word. We do not need the affirmation of others, we need only to serve others as He did. God says we are the Sons of God; that is enough. We do not need the opinions of others for our sense of self, for self-affirmation. Our sense of self is rooted in Christ. God said it; that makes it so. When we believe God, rather than believe in God, we take Him at His Word. He says He is with us, we are not alone. He said it, we believe it. He says we are His children, He said it we believe it. This can remove much of the stress from the conflict we face. Searching the Scriptures reveals to us who we are. It tells us what He says about Himself, who He is and what He says about us, who we are. We must be in the Word daily, drawing from His strength. Then, like Him, we too can withstand the conflicts and adversity that come our way. We are not alone and we can use the Scripture we are given.
Let’s use the scripture from 2 Chronicles 7:14 to stand against, face the giants in our world today. Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.