He Saved Others; He Cannot Save Himself – Bo Giertz on Mark 15:31

One of the most powerful devotions on this Good Friday verse I’ve ever come across, […]

David Zahl / 4.22.11

One of the most powerful devotions on this Good Friday verse I’ve ever come across, taken from the Swedish bishop’s invaluable To Live with Christ:

Once again, the mockers expressed one of the most profound truths about Jesus. He saved others. Without thinking about it, they affirmed then and for all posterity that it really was true: Jesus “went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil” (Acts 10:38). Now, because of this, they mocked Him. That’s human egoism, which assumes that a person should use his resources, first and foremost, for his own benefit. It’s natural to mock someone who doesn’t. In truth, this was part of the secret of Jesus’ nature.  He helped others but no Himself. He starved in the desert, but when His hearers were hungry, He worked a miracle to feed them. He used His power only to benefit others, never to make His life easier. His whole life was for our sake…


But the mockers were wrong on one point: Jesus did have the ability to help Himself. He could have climbed down from the cross, but He didn’t because then we all would have been lost.  He remained on the cross for our sake.
Even one of the robbers who was crucified next to Him mocked Him. He thought the way the world thought: If someone is powerful, then he should use that power to save himself. The other robber, however, began to understand. As he listened to Jesus pray for those who drove spikes through His hands, he began to understand that there was a possibility for help beyond all reason, beyond all common justice, and contrary to everything he expected and deserved.  Maybe this Messiah, who helped others but not Himself, would spare even this wretched wreck that left a wasted life behind him.
The robber dared to make his request, and he received a promise of salvation, just as quickly and unreservedly as Jesus ever made a promise: “Today you will be with Me in paradise” (Luke 23:43).