Power to the Negative
Verse 48 When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.
We have looked at the positive response to God revealing His power but as we finish this week’s study we need to look at the negative side of seeing the truth about God’s power.
Who are these people who have gathered to witness this crucifixion? We know that there were religious leaders, random Passover travelers and likely various other curiosity seekers. Since it says that they had gathered to witness the event, these weren’t just people who were traveling along the road on their way to Jerusalem. That means that many of these people were God followers. More than a few of them would have known, in words but not with understanding, what the prophets had said about the coming Messiah and how He would be beaten and killed.
While they may have known prophesies about the Messiah, they didn’t know Him. They had the opportunity of all time of learning from God in the flesh and they handed Him over to be killed because they just couldn’t bring themselves to believe that this Man could be the One they had been waiting for. He wasn’t what they wanted. They wanted someone that would fit their image and since He didn’t, they got rid of Him. But then they saw Him die.
While the soldier from yesterday saw Jesus in the positive light, this crowd begins mourning. Are they mourning Christ? Maybe or maybe they are mourning what they see as a loss. It doesn’t say they repented and we know that at least some of them start the charge against the early church so this was probably not a grief over what they have just done to the Messiah. But there was no way they could deny what they had just witnessed and that gave them something to wonder about if only for these few minutes of beating their chests. The power of God through these hours of Jesus’ crucifixion didn’t bring them to the positive declaration about who Jesus was. These people realized the significance of this being a great event but they don’t understand why it is.
The same is sometimes true of us. We know that Jesus’ death on the cross was an important moment in Christian history but we don’t always see it for all the positive reasons. It is more than just Jesus paying for our sins. This moment in history was God showing His power in the face of His own trial. It was showing that He is never out of full control. What may have looked like defeat was really just the beginning of victory.
Making It Personal
What does Jesus’ death mean to you? Has His death brought you to positively seeing God or viewing Him negatively? How does your life reflect your response?
Making It Personal Kids
Why did Jesus die on the cross? What does His death mean to you? Do you live like you know why He died?
Father, thank You for showing us Your power during those hours on the cross. May we never miss seeing Your power as a positive of who You really are. In Jesus’ name, amen.