So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” -Matthew 27:41-43
Jesus was mocked by those who should have known him. Reviled by the very people who had been told for ages of his coming. All throughout their religious traditions they were pointed towards him and yet, when he stood before them, they didn’t make the connection. They were blinded. They watched his life ending, their confidence growing as they saw that God did not deliver him from this painful death.
Israel’s entire existence had been marked by God’s protection and deliverance, from their meager beginnings and onward. They knew that God delivered his people, but in that moment no immediate redemption was seen and it only seemed to solidify their position. Unknowingly, those present on that day were witnessing the greatest act of deliverance. They watched God’s ultimate show of redemption as he paid the price for the sins of all who would believe, but only saw his apparent lack of deliverance.
If I had been standing there in that moment I know I would have been overwhelmed with the severity and difficulty of what was going on. Even more so, I would have thought, “God, if you delivered him right now with a mighty hand, look at all these people that would stand witness to your power. Look at all of these that would likely turn to you.” And if I had watched as Jesus breathed his last I do not doubt I would have questioned all that I had believed and hoped for. Obviously this was a crucial time for God to show his deliverance, right? Where was he? What was he doing? Didn’t he see this opportunity?
It’s easy to think we know what God should do. It’s easy to get lost in our tiny perspective and miss the overarching purpose that God has spread throughout. But while learning and growing in our understanding of God is crucial, we will never reach a point of fully understanding our Savior or his ways. Not with such limited a perspective as we have.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” -Isaiah 55:8-9
Jesus was not delivered because he was in the process of lovingly delivering countless others. He was not spared from his suffering so that his children would be spared from eternal suffering. In the moment it must have looked as though God’s hand was absent, and yet it was in that moment that his ultimate act of redemption was being fulfilled as he had promised.
Just because we cannot see God working in our lives does not mean that he is absent or even that he is working on a small scale. The limits of our perspective do not limit the wisdom and power of his sovereignty. This is our hope in the times of life when we are left broken, confused, disappointed, and unsure. This is where we find his hidden redemption.