December 30

Text: Matthew 27:33-42

And when they had come to a place called Golgotha, which means Place of a Skull, they gave Him wine to drink mingled with gall; and after tasting it, He was unwilling to drink.  And when they had crucified Him, they divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots; and sitting down, they began to keep watch over Him there.  And they put up above His head the charge against Him which read, "THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS."  At that time two robbers *were crucified with Him, one on the right and one on the left.  And 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."  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.”  (NASB)

Matthew saw a man devoted to God even though he was in Satan’s clutches.  Throughout his ministry, Jesus opposed Satan as the aggressor who was victorious over every expression of evil.  He was the “can do” man who made Satan miserable.  He taught the people what they needed to understand.  He healed the sick.  He cast out demons.  He revealed the flaws of religious leaders.  He gave the distressed hope.  He taught people to repent—even the most rejected person could reverse his or her life.  Every way that Satan could control people was shattered by Jesus.  He in his ministry was Satan’s nightmare!

Then, suddenly, Jesus was Satan’s victim.  Jesus could do nothing and fulfill God’s purposes—no more teaching, no more healing, no more interacting, no more confronting, no more explaining.  Now the active man who was the doer became the recipient only.  The one who had been vocal said almost nothing and did nothing but surrender himself to God’s will.

Satan hit Jesus with everything—loneliness, pain, betrayal, desertion, mockery, reviling, contempt, insults, seeming ineffectiveness, injustice, and accusations of powerlessness.  In this horrendous onslaught of evil, Jesus never once wavered in his commitment to God, never once became selfish.

Though he could have ended the ordeal, he surrendered to God.  He endured when he could not do.

Suggestion for reflection: Define for yourself enduring.  (Read Hebrews 12:1-8.)

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