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Mark 15:29-30 – Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!" (NIV)
A massive digger has just been parked outside of my church study window. The contractors are getting the equipment in place in order to begin digging up the backyard of the church, so that we can lay the foundations of a new extension. A lot of the brush and some of the smaller trees at the back will, unfortunately, have to be dug up and destroyed in the process. This time next year, I'm going to have a completely different view from my office window.
I'm not very good with changes like this, and the subsequent upheaval is going to command a lot of my patience. I know that the end results will be worthwhile; it's just the current painstaking process that causes me problems. In order to build, something has to change. In order to grow, something has to be lost.
When the passersby hurled their insults at Christ, they had no idea that God was beginning a new creation and that a new faith was being born. The people scorned Christ because it appeared as though He had let them down. They thought He was the Messiah who had come to rid them of the Romans and its empire. In fact, Christ did do that, but it took about four hundred years to achieve. The passersby wanted Christ to do it immediately. They weren't prepared to wait, and they obviously thought that when Jesus died on the cross, His mission and ministry were over.
But in the midst of the painstaking process of death by crucifixion, Jesus was saving the world — and establishing His church. God works in mysterious ways, and there's nothing more mysterious than creating new life in the midst of death. The old ways were being destroyed forever. The rites of sacrifice were over. Jesus laid down His life to the destruction of death in order to bring about pardon and forgiveness, resurrection and restoration to all who were willing to accept His sacrificial death and believe in His power to save them from their sins. He was patiently building salvation.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You destroyed the old ways of religion and gave birth to a new faith on the cross. We are heirs to that blessing, and we praise You for completing the painful process of salvation, so that we may be given the glorious opportunity of being restored to God forever. In Your holy name, we thankfully pray. Amen.
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