“Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who were 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 priest, 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 him. . . .’” (Matthew 27:39-42)
Jesus was always misunderstood by people. Mocked and discredited.
“Come down and save yourself, if you can!” They did not believe He was really God. They did not think He could save anyone because it didn’t even seem like He could save Himself. What kind of God couldn’t even save Himself from a humiliating death sentence? If He was God, surely He would come down off the cross and prove it, right?
The thing is, He did come down from the cross. He rose three days later. The grave held no power over Him. (Not only that but when he died, according to Matthew 27:51-54, the curtain in the temple was torn in two, tombs were opened and dead people came to life again, and the earth quaked. There was no mistaking it: He was not some ordinary man. He was supernatural. Even the guards recognized it.) And yet people still don’t believe. He defied death, healed people, cast out demons, and has lived down through the ages in the best-selling book of all time. And people are still saying, “Prove You are God. You can’t save anyone!”
When will we just believe?
Even when He was on earth and speaking truth and performing miracles, people missed it. The Pharisees witnessed miracles and heard the truth firsthand, and what did they do?
“Another time [Jesus] went into a synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Some of [the Pharisees] were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched him closely to see if he would heal him on the Sabbath. . . . [Jesus] said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand.’ He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.” (Mark 3:1-6)
“When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard Jesus’ parables, they knew he was talking about them. They looked for a way to arrest him, . . .” (Matthew 21:45-46)
“While they were going out, a man who was demon-possessed and could not talk was brought to Jesus. And when the demon was driven out, the man who had been mute spoke. The crowd was amazed and said, ‘Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.’
But the Pharisees said, ‘It is by the prince of demons that he drives out demons.’” (Matthew 9:32-34)
The Pharisees completely overlooked the truths Jesus shared and the fact that miracles happened, being blinded instead by the fact that Jesus broke their rules, offended them, and stole the spotlight. They couldn’t see God standing before them because their own wisdom, pride, and power-hungry selves got in the way.
This is why Jesus didn’t give them a miracle when they asked for it. (Matthew 12:38) They didn’t really want a miracle. They were wicked people who just wanted to make a bull’s-eye out of Jesus and anything He gave them. They didn’t want to know Him. They had their guns loaded and wanted to shoot to pieces anything Jesus threw their way. They didn’t want the truth; they wanted a target. (This is also why Jesus spoke in parables. So that those with a heart to understand would hear the truth, while those who didn’t want to understand wouldn’t.)
Jesus warns, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6)
Pigs don’t care about pearls. They don’t appreciate them or understand their value. All they see is something to trample on. They are on the attack and will even attack the one who threw the pearls, completing ignorant of the value and truth of what they just trampled on. This is how it was with the Pharisees and teachers of the law back in Jesus’ day.
And times haven’t changed. The Pharisees were more concerned with trapping and discrediting Jesus than with really understanding Him. They were too offended by Him to believe in Him. And today, too many people don’t want to really understand Jesus either. They don’t really want to know if Jesus is God or not. They don’t want Him to prove it; they just want to mock Him and to discredit Him because He offends them.
They taunt God and say, “If He is real, He has to prove it to me. If He is real, why doesn’t He just do this or that? Then I will believe Him.” But they won’t. Because they don’t want to believe. They just want to shred to pieces any truth put before them. They are like swine who don’t know the value of the pearls they are trampling on. And they don’t want to know the value. They just want to trample. (This is why godly wisdom is important when sharing biblical truth. Don’t become a target for those who just want to be antagonistic and attack and trample. It’s not worth it, throwing your pearls to pigs.)
People mock and deny Jesus in movies, in music, in their condescending attitudes, in their flagrant-sinning lifestyles, and in kicking Him out of their lives. They don’t want to find out who He really is. They don’t want to acknowledge a Lord over their lives. They just want to keep living the way they want to live. They don’t want to find out that Jesus is God because that would mean they have to seriously consider their lifestyles, their choices, and who gets control of their hearts and lives and eternity. They don’t want to bend a knee to Him.
But someday, they will! We all will! Whether we want to or not! Because the truth that Jesus is Lord and Savior will be evident to all.
“For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:
‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.’
So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10-12, I love this passage!)
Someday, there will be no more denying or discrediting. It will be clear to all. And it will be too late for many. Don’t miss Him while you still have time to find Him. Don’t let your own desires, “wisdom,” pride, or power-hunger get in the way. Don’t be a mocking pig. Don’t trample on the pearls. Believe while you still have the chance. You are going to bend a knee someday anyway. So bend a knee voluntarily today and enjoy the salvation and forgiveness and grace that He offers to you, before you are forced to bend a knee involuntarily, when the opportunity to make Him Lord of your life has passed you by.
“Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near.” (Isaiah 55:6)