He Could Have Come Down

38 Two rebels were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are 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!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “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 in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him. (Matt. 27:38-44, NIV)

 

Jesus stayed on the cross despite indescribable physical agony, excruciating psychological torture and supernatural temptation.  He stayed despite the jests of His mockers.  He stayed despite the tears of His loved ones mingled in the dirt with his blood.  He stayed despite the fact that He could have come down.  He could have come down.  He might have pulled the nails out like hair pins or passed right through their flimsy atoms, called a legion of angels to lift Him away or summoned fire from Heaven to destroy His tormentors.  He is the One in whom all things hold together; He might just have let it all fly apart.  If you have ever struggled to hold still while a needle pierced your vein, then perhaps you know an infinitesimal fragment of the courage and control it must have taken not to do the human thing.

 

He stayed on the cross to hold our sins there.  Nailed firmly to Him, in Him and through Him were countless debts requiring infinite payment.  Every tragic, evil and twisted thought, word or deed of every one of God’s children throughout time was fastened to the cross through the flesh of the Man who could have come down.  He didn’t because to rip His flesh away from that unholy torture would have scattered all those sins homeward in the breeze, obligations owed and never credited, agonies of repayment waiting to afflict their rightful owners: you and me.

 

If Jesus had come down from the cross, perhaps Pilate might have believed.  Possibly a few Pharisees would have owned Him the Christ.  One or two Roman soldiers may have knelt before Him that day.  And it would have done them no good.  Because without the cross, there is nothing to believe in.  There is no sin-eater, no forgiveness, no atonement.  Without the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are still in our sins, without hope, without help, without righteousness, without heaven.  He could have saved Himself.  Instead, He saved us.

Tired of Life

Dear Christian Counselor:

I know that we are supposed to try and be like Jesus every day. But we are never going to be perfect until he comes back. So what happens if you have been hurting for years inside and out and you have no fight left in yourself anymore and you take your own life?  Would you still go to heaven?

Tired of the Fight


Dear Tired:

If someone asked me whether they should have an affair or abort an unwanted child, I wouldn’t mess around with theology and what might happen afterward.  I’m not going to do that with your question either.  You are asking me whether serious and deliberate sin could be a good choice.  It can’t.  The choices God endorses lead to life and hope and peace.  I know there are times when that doesn’t feel true, but that’s where faith comes in.  God has already given His only Son in exchange for you.  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Cor. 6:19-20  You are not your own to destroy.  The One who cared enough to purchase your life also cares enough to help you.

There are many things you can also do to help yourself through the kind of depression which births questions like yours.  Counseling and medication are two options to consider.  Here is a list of practical things you can do, as well: Helps for Depression.  An article in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that, “more than 90% of people who survive a suicide attempt, including attempts that were expected to be lethal … do not go on to die by suicide.”  What this means is that you will not always feel this way.  If I had trusted my own dark thoughts rather than the truth of Scripture and the love of God, I would not have lived to find the light and purpose God had in store for me.  Don’t give up.  Lean hard on the Lord’s strength rather than your own.  It does take work, but you can find healing, too.  That’s God’s plan for you – not self-murder.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer. 29:11.


If you are having suicidal thoughts, tell someone (a spouse, a friend, a pastor, a counselor).  If there’s no one you can tell, contact one of these resources:

800-273-TALK
1-800-SUICIDE
800-884-0585 (before 10pm)
800-421-5183 (before 10pm)
1-800-759-0700 (for prayer)
https://www.imalive.org/ (live chat)

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