"Mockers: He Saved Others; Himself He Cannot Save!" Matthew 27:42-43

April 06, 2022
Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

"He saved others; Himself he cannot save" the priests mocked the sacrifice for their sins. Jesus gave Himself over to suffering and death to win for us salvation by His cross. Midweek Lenten Vespers 5 6-Apirl-22 Theme: “Christ’s Passion: Revealing the Thoughts Of Many Hearts!” Sermon Text: Matthew 27:39-43 Sermon Theme: “Mockers: He Saved Others; Himself He Cannot Save!” Preached at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, Tell City, Indiana By Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

Episode Notes

Midweek Lenten Vespers 5                    6-Apirl-22
Theme: “Christ’s Passion: Revealing the Thoughts Of Many Hearts!”
Sermon Text: Matthew 27:39-43
Sermon Theme: “Mockers: He Saved Others; Himself He Cannot Save!”
               By Rev. Nathan J. Rusert

I.N.R.I. Psalms 22:1 “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?” A millennia before Good Friday David revealed the thoughts of Jesus’ heart as He was crucified for our sins. David’s Son, yet David’s Lord - testified through the David’s song: “Psalms 22:6-8 But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. (7) All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, (8) "He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!" Jesus’ pours out His heart suffering for our salvation. Ridiculed by all for trusting in the Lord God His Father.
    Thirty three years before that first Good Friday, aged Simeon warned Jesus’ mother, “Luke 2:34-35 ....”Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (35) (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." Raised up on the tree of the cross outside of the walls of Jerusalem - Jesus is a sign. A sign of one cursed by God - Over 1400 years before Good Friday - Moses instructed the children of Israel, “Deuteronomy 21:22-23 “And if a man has committed a crime punishable by death and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, (23) his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God.....”.   Mary’s heart breaks to see her sinless Son become the Cursed One before God’s judgment seat. Her heart is pierced as the murderous mob, isn’t content to let Jesus die in peace, they mock His innocent suffering with insult upon insult.
      Tonight we see the heart of the mockers revealed as they cry out: “He Saved Others; Himself He Cannot Save!”
      Two years ago cities would soon be set ablaze by insurrectionists demanding justice for George Floyd. Video of his unjust treatment by a Minneapolis policeman resulting in George’s death was released. Instead of trusting the legal system to prosecute and punish the guilty, insurrectionists burned businesses and destroyed property of those who had nothing to do with the guilty party. They cried out “No justice! No peace!” The mob on Good Friday didn’t want justice for Jesus. They demand that this truly innocent Man die. Not just any death, but the most horrific death of crucifixion. Death through shame as you were staked naked to the cross. Death through suffering immense pain as nails were driven through nerve bundles in your hands and feet. A slow death of increasing thirst as your body went into shock. Death by suffocation as your lungs drown in your own bodily fluid and each breath came only with great effort to pull up on the nails in your wrists and push down on the nail through your feet. The mob on Good Friday demanded no justice for Jesus as the price for peace. Pilate not wanting a riot breaking out gave into their demands.
      Jesus is led away and crucified on Golgotha - the Place of the Skull - with one criminal crucified left of His cross and another crucified to His right. Jesus is in the middle - the place reserved for the chief criminal being executed. Isaiah’s prophesy of God’s Suffering Servant are fulfilled eight centuries after he preached, Isaiah 53:12 ..... He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.” Pilate orders that the charge against Jesus be posted over His head: “This is Jesus The King of the Jews.” Not to mock Jesus, whom he had judged innocent, but to goad the high priest who demanded His death with this false charge.     Now history records, Matthew 27:39-40 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads (40) and saying, "You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross." News travels fast even without social media. These passing crowds had heard of the hurried trial before the high priest and the charges made against Jesus. Perhaps some were still hurting from Jesus driving the money changers out of the temple courts for a second time in three years. They mock Jesus’ Word and promise of victory over death. If they wouldn’t believe Jesus’ Word they wouldn’t believe even if He came down off the cross. The High Priest knew exactly what Jesus was speaking of, for after our Lord died and was buried he goes to Pilate, Matthew 27:63-64 saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, 'After three days I will rise.' (64) Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, 'He has risen from the dead.' So the last deception will be worse than the first."
      It is the devil who speaks this word through these mockers as they walk showing no pity. After Jesus was baptized as the Scapegoat for the sins of the world, Satan tempted Him to fall down and worship him. He promised Jesus the world without the cross. It was and it is a lie. Beware of allowing Satan deceiving you to trust your feelings above Christ’s clear Word and Promise. We don’t need signs from our deceased loved ones - we only need to cling to Jesus who promises, John 11:25-26 ...., "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. (26) And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?" Then by the power of Holy Spirit breathed faith we need to reply with Martha, John 11:27"Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."
    Now another group draws near to mock Jesus: Matthew 27:41-43 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, (42) "He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. (43) He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, 'I am the Son of God.' " Blasphemy is speaking evil against God. The high priest and ruling counsel had accused Jesus of blasphemy for saying that He was the Son of God. He spoke truth, they are the blasphemers - speaking evil of God and His plan to save sinners.
    The ruling elite testify against themselves - “He save others.” The evidence was clear - the blind saw - the lame walk - the lepers were restored - the dead lived - the deaf heard - the demons were cast out - just as the prophets had preached would happen when the Messiah came. They refused to believe Jesus’ works, instead they accuse Him of being in league with the Beelzebub - with Satan. Now Satan has their tongue as they blaspheme their Savior and tempt Him to leave the cross.
      It is true what they say, “"He saved others; Himself He cannot save.” He will not save Himself, for He has come to give His life as a ransom for many - for me and for you - for all sinners. He must take my place under God’s just judgement that He might save all by His suffering and shedding of His innocent holy blood.
      Dear Christian, beware of Satan’s lies - the lie that you can save yourself -square things with God by your own self chosen good works. You can’t - without Jesus’ cleansing blood all of your good works are sin which damn you to hell. Without faith in Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for your sins it is impossible to please God.
      Jesus is the King - His throne is the cross - His crown the thorns of Adam’s rebellion - His robe our naked shame. He comes to undo what our first father Adam did on the day of the rebellion! He has! Thanks be to God! You are free! Amen.

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