Do you remember watching the old movies about sailors in turmoil, ships sinking, pending doom? What always happened things really got stressful. If no one beat him to it, the captain would ultimately scream..... "Abandon ship! Every man for himself!" Each was on his own!
Recently, there have been several news stories of failed cruise-liners. One, inparticular, was of particular focus. The captain abandoned ship, saving himself, no regard for his desperate, hopeless passengers and crew members. Wow! "Coward", we screamed at the television set! "Traitor"!
"Who" would do such a thing? If "I" were ever captain of a sinking ship.... we resolved.
Maybe it is a case of "sympathy for the devil", or maybe just a realization of the worldly, humanistic truth, that in the end ....no one is going to take care "you" .....other than "you", but here is drawn a conclusion. This captain can't save anyone anyway. Not really. He can advise. He can "lead". But honestly.... doesn't everyone already know where the life-boats are?
Here's another worldly, simply-human, truth. He (the captain) most often wouldn't save you; not at the cost of himself. Self-preservation is a very strong, very "human" characteristic. Sorry to burst any egos. Sad but true. We'll only play the hero when it either benefits us, or there's simply no other "out" but a blaze of glory anyway. See..... the ego wins. We are very "human" indeed.
So, being a self-preserving human myself..... I think about the big picture of that reality, the spiritual ramifications of such a truth. i realize there is still a dramatic difference in Christ' life and mine. Namely.... He wasn't self-preserving. When people rolled their eyes at Him, didn't take Him seriously, disrespected Him, and even crucified Him.... He felt no need to defend Himself or His purpose. Why? And why didn't He simply come down from the cross? With the exception of being a madman, there is only one other sensible conclusion. He wasn't trying to save Himself. He was trying to save us!
> "and saying, You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross." (Matthew 27:40 ESV)
If Jesus had come down from the cross ....there would simply, and sadly, be no need to "believe in Him".
> "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." (Matthew 27:42 ESV)
Have you ever wondered..... why are people so threatened by Jesus and "the way" (Christianity)? Did Christ, Himself, do anything physical except "good"? So what ...if He was a crazy? So what ....if He was a blasphemer? Wasn't the God of the Jews big enough to defend Himself? Weren't there far more harmful, more threatening criminals to pursue? I need no further evidence to cause me to believe that we (includes me) are all sinners indeed ...missing the mark of His glorious standard originally intended for us. Instead.... Like sheep we have gone astray, each turned to his own way. No, it's not that we get what we ask for.... but we most definitely get poor results for what we choose. We are "inherently" sinful, evil, self-promoting, self-destructing. But it can all be made right! THAT is the good news! While we were still sinners ..Christ died for us. He stood up for us! He was ridiculed, disrespected, and died ....for us. Thank You, my Lord, for not saving yourself instead.