“And those who passed by derided Him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!’” (Mark 15:29-30)
When Jesus was on earth, He ministered to the people for three years. During that time, He healed the sick, performed miracles, and taught the way of salvation. At the end of those three years, He died. The Jewish religious leaders, the Pharisees, hated Him so much that they wanted Him dead. One of Jesus’ own disciples betrayed Him to them, and the next day, He was crucified.
People mocked Jesus as He was dying. They flung His teachings in His face, reminding Him that He had told them He was the Son of God. If this was so, they insisted, surely He could save Himself. He had saved others from death; what was preventing Him from doing the same now?
Anyone would have expected Jesus to retaliate in some way, if only by shouting similar insults back at them. But He didn’t. Instead, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34) Not only did He not return their mockery with some of His own, He asked God to forgive them.
This was why He had come to earth. He came to die for those who mocked Him. He came to die for those who hated Him. He came to die for those who killed Him. He came to die so that these same people might live. And not just them; when He died, He died for everyone in the entire world. We are all sinners. We all owe God a horrible debt of sin, one we can never pay no matter how good we are. But now, we don’t have to. When Jesus died, He took the sins of everyone in the world on Himself, paying for them with His death. He didn’t come to condemn the world, but to save it. He didn’t come to destroy those who mocked Him, but to forgive them. What a God!
And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?