“Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.’” vss. 29-40
It’s amazing how quickly people abandoned the “Jesus Bandwagon” after he was arrested and sentenced to death by crucifixion. Surely some of those who passed by that Friday afternoon were familiar with his ministry–he’d been teaching regularly in the temple in the days before his betrayal. But when they walked by on this busy road outside the city walls they had nothing but derision for him. In their eyes he was just another failed messiah, and unless he could pull off a really big miracle and climb down from the cross, they weren’t interested. Oh, there were likely some mourners among the onlookers–mostly women, but Matthew says they stood at a distance. His male disciples were likely holed up, self-quarantined against discovery and making plans to go back to Galilee. It still doesn’t take much for people to abandon their faith and go in another direction–we see it happen regularly. Some calamity comes near, hopes are dashed, prayers go unanswered–the reasons can be many, but the outcome is the same. Jesus is left alone to die! It will be interesting to see now how many people will be returning to the churches when this pandemic begins to dissipate and doors are reopened. Will there be a renewal of faith or will people just continue to stay away? Perhaps we’ll find out on Easter!
Thought for the Day: Why do people abandon faith?