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.’”
Matthew 27:39-43 (New International Version)
Why So Stubborn?
Have you ever met someone that refused to believe what you say about something; like for example, you tell them that if they exercised they would lose weight? Even after you showed them that what you said was true (like showing how much weight you lost), they still refused to believe the evidence that was in front of them. What drives people to be so stubborn?
Would They Believe?
As Jesus was being crucified, those who opposed Him mocked Him, demanding that Jesus come down from the cross. Only then, they said, would they finally believe in Him. I wonder what would have happened if Christ did come down. Would those who rejected Him finally believe?
I think they wouldn’t and here’s why? Throughout Jesus’s ministry on earth, the chief priests and Pharisees opposed Him and His message. They even claimed that some of the miracles that He did was through the power of Satan and not God. If Jesus had come down from the cross, I can imagine that they would make yet another excuse for the miracle; perhaps even claim it was an act of the Devil.
This stubborn refusal to believe in something, whether it be in exercise or in Christ, originates from a person’s pride. If the Pharisees and the Chief Priests acknowledged that Jesus was the Son of God, that would’ve meant that all their rules and traditions, that they thought made them righteous, were wrong and they would have to turn away from them and accept the teachings of Christ. No one likes to admit that they’re wrong and change makes people very uncomfortable. Instead of believing, they rejected the truth that was in front of them, content in doing things their way; even if their way was wrong. As a result, their stubborn pride blinded them from their faith in Christ.
How grateful I am that Jesus didn’t heed the words of those mockers. He understood that His purpose on earth was not to satisfy the egos of stubborn men. Instead it was to fulfill the calling which His Heavenly Father gave to Him; to sacrifice His life in order to save us from sin, and through His death, we have eternal life in Him.
Like Christ, we too have a purpose on the earth. As followers of the Lord, we must proclaim the Gospel message to all that we meet. We do this by living day by day, according to His teachings.
Dealing with the Stubborn
However, what if the people that we talk about Christ to stubbornly refuse to believe? We must not let their stubbornness get to us. We must continue to live our lives sacrificially in the midst of those people who stubbornly cling to their sinful ways. Remember, our mission is not to change them, we are just the messengers. It is Jesus that can break the hardest of hearts. Therefore, let us pray diligently for the stubborn, and watch Christ change them from the inside out.