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From the Minister


Thought for the Day Sunday 3rd May


I am following the “Cambridge Daily Reading Bible” (read the Bible in two years). Today’s reading is part of Matthew’s account of the crucifixion. A well-known passage, that I have read many times, and preached on on more than one occasion.

As I read it today I was particularly struck by the following verses:

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

As Jesus hung in the pain and agony of the cross, members of the public, the chief priests and even the criminals that were crucified with him mocked. They shouted at him: “save yourself”. The words of the priests, the scribes and the elders were really directed at the crowd rather than Jesus. They were saying that if this man was really who he claimed to be, then he would call out to God and he would rescue him. They even said that if Jesus were to descend from the cross they would believe.

As I read these verses, I was reminded of two other passages. The first comes from Luke’s gospel. Jesus is not welcomed in some Samaritan villages, and the disciples James and John ask Jesus: “Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” The second is a cry from the Psalms “vindicate me’ a cry that is recorded at least eight times.

When we are mocked, when we feel we are being treated unfairly, where there seems to be no justice, there is a human desire to call out to God. A desire that he would destroy our enemies, that he would show his face and vindicate us in front our oppressors.

How great must the temptation have been for Jesus as he hung in the agony of the cross. We are told that he could have called a legion of angels to set him free. Yet despite the unfairness and the injustice he remains silent. Despite the mocking, he says not a word. Even though some say they would believe if he came down from the cross, he says and does nothing.

For us when we are mocked because we are followers of Jesus, our best response is to follow the example of Jesus. It is best not to enter an argument, but to remain silent, and to pray “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do”.

When we are oppressed, treated unfairly, or without justice because of our faith, let us remain silent and prayerful, because we know that on the last day God will be our vindication.

Steve Wallis

Newbridge Baptist Church
Llanafan Road, Newbridge, Powys, LD1 6LY
Telephone The Minister: 01597 860185
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