1998-06-18 - Mocking the Unknown
The Cross Series, Part 44
Luke 23:35-39 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, "He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One." 36 And the soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, "If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!" 38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, "THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS." 39 And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!"
An early 20th century philosopher was quoted as saying with regard to the automobile that it was surely impossible to travel much faster than 25 miles per hour since the wind flying in the face of the driver would choke him to death. Today we find that statement to be ridiculous. We have cars that are flirting with the sound barrier. The Apollo spacecraft on the way to and from the Moon have traveled beyond 25,000 miles per hour; liftoff faster than 5 miles per second. The next generation space probes will use an ion propulsion that should allow the spacecraft to travel at a measurable fraction of the speed of light. If you had asked this fellow what he might have thought of things like that, he would have thought you mad or deluded.
The gentleman who was in charge of building one of the first true electronic computers was asked if he saw a big future for these amazing devices. The machine was capable of completing one instruction every three seconds. He pronounced that he could only ever see a need for two or three of these machines in the entire nation. Whether you have received this document by electronic mail or our web site, the computer you used would stagger the imagination of the designer of that early computer.
We are often convinced of things, as a race of people, that turn out to be quite the opposite of reality. It is not hard for us to see how someone from the era of the 1900's might have believed that travel beyond 25 miles per hour might be hazardous. The uses we have conjured up for computers probably never would have occurred to men and women of the 1950's. And yet, today cars travel comfortably at 65 miles per hour and large scale computers are running a billion instructions per second. There is no end in sight to the acceleration.
The Jewish nation had waited millennia for their Messiah to come when Jesus arrived. But the Christ did not come as they expected Him to come. The people were looking and longing for a King to free them from the Romans and establish Israel as His throne. Even the Apostles could not see that gentiles could accept Jesus and receive the Holy Spirit. There was considerable debate. That man naked, bleeding and dying on the cross could hardly be the Messiah King. It was beyond their comprehension just as riding a bike is beyond a toddler. Some would allow the possibility to be considered. Mary's broken heart never wavered. John had the courage to come to the foot of the cross as well. The Roman Centurion would soon make a staggering statement of faith. These people would reach out beyond the accepted mode of thinking and into the unknown.
Isa 55:7-8 Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. 8 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways," declares the LORD.
It is easy to mock or nay-say what we don't understand or believe possible. But that will not stop someone from building a car that will soon officially break the sound barrier. It does not stop Jesus from being Messiah and Lord of Creation. "Save Yourself and us!", they taunted. The jeers, spitting and insults not withstanding, Jesus had indeed come to save them. And their sins and ours were paid for in spite of the fact that they could not see how it was being done.
Lord Jesus - It is hard for us to know that our ways and thoughts are so small and narrow that we can not understand Your ways and thoughts. It is a humbling moment when we consider this idea. Still Your pardon and mercy are also beyond our understanding. Help us to accept both and be open to the things You have to show us. Amen.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.