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January 4
An Unintentional Tribute
For reading & meditation: Matthew 27:32-44
"'He saved others,' they said, 'but he can't save himself!' " (v. 42)

What humiliation and shame our Lord endured for us on the cross of Calvary. Cicero, a Roman philosopher, said of crucifixion: "Far be the very name of a cross not only from the bodies of Roman citizens, but from their imaginations, eyes and ears." But He, our Lord, though sinless, was crucified on a cross. Although His blood was flowing freely from wounds inflicted by the crown of thorns on His head, from His back that had been lacerated by cruel thongs, from His hands and feet through which He was skewered to the tree, yet He refused the deadening drug offered Him. He underwent the ordeal with brain unclouded and with nerves unsoothed. The crowd who watched Him cried: "He saved others, but he can't save himself!" But strange as it seems, that mocking phrase became the central truth of the gospel. He was saving others and therefore He could not save Himself. That is one of the greatest truths of life -if we are to save others we cannot save ourselves. To quote Spencer again: "It is a great mystery," he says, "yet an everlasting fact, that goodness in all moral natures has the doom of bleeding upon it, allowing it to conquer only as it bleeds. All goodness conquers by a cross." This law of saving by self-giving runs through life. Those who save themselves cannot save others, and those who save others cannot save themselves - cannot save themselves trouble, sorrow, hurts, disappointments, pain, and sometimes even death. This is a law of the universe, and it applies to God as much as it does to us.

Prayer: O God, I have seen this law at work in human nature but I never thought it was part of the divine nature. But where could it have come from other than You? The highest in mankind is the deepest in You. I am staggered by it, but I know it to be true. Thank You, dear Father. Amen.

For further study:
Galatians 1:1-5Galatians 1:1-5 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14;
1. What does Paul emphasize?
2. What is the implication for us?