January 27, 2023


The religious leaders of Jesus’ day were driven by a tragic miscalculation of their own abilities. In their arrogance, they thought they didn’t need a Savior because they could be justified before God by their own “supposed” good works. And so, they rejected Christ. If you think you’re the savior, you’ll violently resist anyone who threatens your control.

Typical of the religious humanist, every word the Pharisees used to condemn Jesus was 100% wrong. This is the sign of a reprobate mind that has become so calloused by unbelief that it has lost the ability to make moral judgments. Jesus continually reminded us that they were spiritually blind and warned the humble to beware of their teaching.

They thought they were extraordinarily wise, but their mocking words at the foot of the cross showed their foolishness in bold relief, a lasting example of what happens when we harden our hearts toward Christ by continual rejection. Their scornful words shock us at the grotesque misrepresentation of One so pure, right at the scene of God's greatest love.

“He saved others; He cannot save Himself. He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him. He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now, if He Delights in Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’ ”  (Matthew 27:42-43)

LIE: He is incapable of saving Himself.

TRUTH: He could have called for millions of angels, and they would have delivered Him. His perseverance was undeniable evidence of perfect love.

LIE: If He’d come down from the cross, they would believe Him.

TRUTH: They would have never believed Him. They’d watched Him do countless miracles and give God-breathed words, and they continually resisted. They were established in their unbelief.

LIE: God doesn’t delight in Jesus or He’d rescue Him.

TRUTH: Jesus was the Father’s greatest delight precisely because of His Son’s choice to die on the cross. He spoke openly from heaven to remind us that this was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased.

We should never listen to self-righteous Pharisees (and they are still among us). They are always blinded by pride and driven by rebellion against God and hatred of Jesus. And they never get it right. Instead, we should gaze with humble wonder at the One who voluntarily hung between heaven and earth for our sins. Every glance at Him should take us to our knees.

We should be awed by His unwavering choice, stunned by His sacrifice, and appalled by the weight of our sin that placed Him there. We should proclaim Him as our Savior and serve Him as our King. Instead of the foolish dribble of pipsqueak Pharisees, we should use every waking moment to point others to the Lamb who was slain so that we might be free.

We should never laugh at the Pharisees but weep at the grace of God that has shown us our own grievous sin and delivered us from our own self-righteousness.

And we should forever sing the song of heaven …


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died;
My richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, save in the death of Christ my God.
All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet, or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine, that were a present far too small.
Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all!
(Isaac Watts, 1707)


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