Bible Reading: Matthew 27
Matthew 27:54, “When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, ‘Truly this was the Son of God!’”
The eternally praised Son of God stepped way down from Heaven’s glory when He became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). He who had heard nothing but angelic praise was subjected to a dissonant song in His earthly ministry. In response to His mission of mercy, praise and thanksgiving were the exception, not the rule.
We were created to glorify God. He is altogether worthy of our praise and adoration (Isaiah 6:1-4). But sin has worked to bedeviled our hearts and mouths. We are by nature a “people of unclean lips” (Isaiah 6:5). Lips made to praise are prone instead to sing a disharmonious tune.
The gravity and extent of man’s sin problem were vividly demonstrated at Calvary. Given the choice between freeing Barabbas, a notorious prisoner (Matthew 27:16-21), or Jesus—the multitudes chose Barabbas. Having been thus persuaded by the chief priests and elders, they called for His death. “Let Him be crucified!” they all said (Matthew 26:22). Pilate asked, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” (Matthew 27:23). In a cataclysmic act of injustice, the jury of rebels demanded that their Maker die.
A growing chorus of voices joined in the malignant and abusive song. The soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorian, where He was surrounded by an entire Roman battalion. They stripped Him, put a scarlet robe and crown of thorns on Him, and placed a reed in His right hand. “They kneeled down before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ (Matthew 27:29). “And they spat on Him and took the reed and began to beat Him on the head. And after they mocked Him, they took His robe off and put His garments on Him, and led Him away to be crucified” (Matthew 27:31).
As He hung there on that cross, “those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, ‘You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross” (Matthew 27:39-40). “In the same way, the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking Him, and saying, ‘He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we shall believe in Him’” (Matthew 27:41). “And the robbers also who had been crucified with Him were casting the same insult at Him” (Matthew 27:44).
At Calvary, the full measure of the man’s alienation in sin was made evident in that cacophony of rebellious scorn. In response, Jesus spoke as He had walked. And through His willing sacrifice, the glory of God was likewise vividly displayed. He who never sinned did not sin in His words (1 Peter 2:22-23). Instead, He expressed both concern and forgiveness for others (Luke 23:34; John 19:26-27). His final words, “It is finished,” being the most precious of them all. For in His work “He Himself bore our sins in His body… that we should die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Because of His work, by faith in Him, rebellious hearts are changed and mocking tongues are Spirit-led to sing a better song.
Rebel sinners still sing that mocking tune. It is His name they curse (1 Corinthians 12:3), His cross they count as foolish (1 Corinthians 1:23), and His return they mock (2 Peter 3:3). But a marvelous transformation takes place when a person is born-again—rebel sinners are transformed into worshippers (1 Corinthians 12:3).
There will come a day when “every tongue (will) confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:11). A multitudinous choir of the redeemed will sing a song of heart-felt adoration: “To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever” (Revelation 5:8-14). In Heaven, no mocking voices will be heard, only praise.
Man’s desperate need and God’s glorious provision were both vividly demonstrated in Jesus’ death on the cross!
Man of sorrows what a name
for the Son of God, who came
ruined sinners to reclaim:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
in my place condemned he stood,
sealed my pardon with his blood:
Hallelujah, what a Savior!