He Cannot Save Himself

He Cannot Save Himself


Jesus is our Savior!

We need a Savior!

We need to be rescued!


Bible text: Mark 15:25-32


25 It was the third hour when they crucified Him. (9:00 in the morning)

26 The inscription of the charge against Him read, “THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

27 They crucified two robbers with Him, one on His right and one on His left.

28 [And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with transgressors.”]


Have you ever been counted in a group that you really didn’t deserve?  People thought of you as a loser or unpopular?  Or thought you were a cheater when you really didn’t cheat?  Jesus endured the humiliation of being numbered with criminals when his whole life was actually completely righteous and perfect.  Hebrews says that he endured the shame of the cross.  Have you ever felt shame?  Either justly or unjustly?  Someone said something about you that made shame rise up in you?  Jesus felt the shame for us and allowed people to think of him in the wrong way so that he could fulfill God’s will in his life.  He was faithful to God and was humiliated because of it.  Sometimes following God involves shame and humiliation and being in the company of people who are very unrighteous.  Following God doesn’t always put you in a good light with other people.  Your faithfulness can bring you shame, not adulation.


29 Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,

30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!”


Have you ever had people who wagged their heads at you? They were so disappointed in you!  And they throw your own words back in your face.  You said you were going to be healed by God, what happened?  God didn’t heal you after all?  You said God told you to get this job, but it’s not looking very good right now.  Why isn’t the job working out if God told you to do it?  People shake their heads in disappointment, they don’t believe in you.  They accuse you with your own words.  That hurts!  You have to keep believing, you have to endure it and still believe that what God said to you is true. (A family member wagged her head at me, saying, you always say you’re going to apply to guide dog schools for a job.  She didn’t believe me! It hurts so much when people don’t believe in you!  You have to stay strong and prove them wrong.  People said to me that I would never actually plant this church.  They wagged their heads at my abilities.  But I had to stay faithful to God’s call on my life!


31 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking Him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself.


Sometimes people accuse you of not being able to do something. When in reality you can do it, but simply can’t.  The courage of your convictions or the state of your own conscience or your personal identity does not allow you to do something.  Like someone who can’t hunt an animal and shoot it.  Other hunters might mock the person, saying, you can’t hunt like us.  But the person is actually physically capable but cannot because of the courage of their convictions; their own identity and conscience prevents them.  They have to appear “not macho, not manly”.  But they are thinking of another living animal and it is not part of who they are to hunt with the goal to kill.


32 “Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him.


People were asking Jesus to prove it, prove that you can save yourself! Show us and we will believe!  But yet the very thing they were asking for was impossible because Jesus had already submitted himself to the will of God for his life.  Little did the bystanders realize that by the very act of Jesus remaining on the cross, he was saving himself.  He was saving and confirming his identity as a Savior, the Savior of the world!


Sometimes we have to carry through with something that doesn’t seem to make sense to others and we do it in order to be our true identity.  It will be proven out in time, but at the moment, it isn’t apparent that we are actually fulfilling the will of God by letting others mock us.


He cannot save himself has two meanings:


  1. That it is physically impossible for him to save himself
  2. That he cannot save himself because it would go against his very identity as a savior


Number 1 is what the speaker meant, that Jesus could not physically save himself. This is untrue because Jesus is reported to have said that he could summon twelve legions of angels to defend him if necessary, and to keep him from being on the cross at any moment (a legion consists of 5500 soldiers, so 66,000 angels)


But what about number two? This is the thought that Jesus can’t save himself based on convictions, destiny, and identity.  I think this statement is true because Jesus is above all else, other than being God’s son, a Savior.  He can no more come down from the cross than a bird forsaking to fly.  Saving is what Jesus is here on earth to do, and it was destined for him to do it before the foundation of the world, and it is his very identity, backed up even by his name:

Yeshua, which means salvation, or ‘Lord who is salvation’ in Hebrew. He is a Sav-er, a rescuer, and can do nothing less!  If he doesn’t save, he is not the Savior, the Lord who saves.


Think of people today who rescue abused or neglected animals. If they have become rescuers due to their convictions, then part of their identity is the act of rescuing neglected animals, especially from death row.  They cannot not save them.  Just as the video below demonstrates:




The rescuer of these dogs is showing his true identity. He doesn’t rescue for money or for any other gain, except the joy of rescuing a creature that is scared and helpless. As we are before God.  Jesus looks at us in the same way as this rescuer does.  He sees us frightened and helpless and abandoned in a world that doesn’t make sense, and he reaches out to us, in spite of the danger of being rejected and bitten, and he shows us love and acceptance and a brand new way of life built on trust in the rescuer.  He brings us in from the streets, from outside to inside and ultimately to a forever home as a beloved member of God’s own family.


Jesus cannot save himself because he is a saver, a rescuer. It is his DNA and he can no more change that DNA than any one of us could.  It’s the same in some ways for First Responders who go to a fire or other disaster; they are geared to rescue and can’t not rescue: they will go in to bring you out, even if they might die themselves.  They cannot not rescue.




We, on the other hand, cannot, physically or any other way, save ourselves. We, on the other hand, think we are definitely capable of saving ourselves.  We are numbered with transgressors justifiably, and we have the wagging heads of those who observe us, saying “he/she cannot save herself/himself”.  They are right!  Our DNA is programmed to be incapable of saving ourselves.


Why is this? Because, like the dog in the video, we are unable to understand how to save ourselves.  We can survive, like this dog did, but we cannot rescue ourselves.  We need help from a rescuer who sees us in the world in which we have been abandoned and has the mercy to stop everything and come and save us.  We cannot save ourselves.  God’s whole message to us is that we are not capable of saving ourselves and we need a rescuer.


Here’s what I want you to know:


That when others said “Himself he cannot save”, they were saying the truth.  Jesus could not save himself because then we wouldn’t be saved.  And saving us is part of who Jesus is.  Jesus loved us so much he was willing to be numbered with the transgressors.  He was willing to lose his good reputation.  He didn’t care about public opinion when it came to saving us!  He was willing to go through seeing people’s wagging heads and disappointment in him personally.  He was willing to disappoint in order to save us!  He was willing to be mocked and endure shame for our sakes.  Humiliation and shame and brutal verbal bullying did not stop him from obeying God and saving us!


Jesus was actually able to save himself. But he didn’t.  We are unable to save ourselves, yet we try to do so every day.  We want to look self-sufficient, we care about our reputations, we care about being teased, we care about avoiding shame and humiliation.  We try to save ourselves, and in the process we lose ourselves.


Very much like the dog in the video, we snarl and snap at rescue. We don’t understand that someone is trying to save us, and will not hurt us.  We defend our lives instead of yielding to rescue.  The rescuer of the dog had to prove that he loved her.  This was very surprising to the dog!  She thought humans didn’t love her and needed to be kept away.  We can sometimes think that of God; we are very surprised that God loves us and cares so much!  We think that we won’t be acceptable to him.  We defend ourselves by saying we don’t need God, we can stay in our lives as strays, running from God.  God proves his love to us by doing kind things for us.  He provides for us and gives us shelter and food and an escape from a lonely and desperate life.  We learn that we have a friend and a place in God’s forever home if we will just yield to that love and stop snapping at our rescuer.


This message is about Jesus not saving himself so that he could save us, and about how we cannot save ourselves and need rescue. Jesus was willing to show his shame and humiliation for all to see!  He willingly laid all his secrets down before the world: he cried, he suffered, he was shamed, he was humiliated, he showed his brokenness to the world!!  The God of the universe, the Creator of it, showed his vulnerability and shame and brokenness before the world.  We should show Jesus all of our shame and humiliation and brokenness, because we cannot save ourselves. Jesus can save us and others and also would not save himself so that we would be saved by him.  Jesus didn’t look mighty on the cross.  Others said, “Himself he cannot save!”  He was willing to look helpless for us, enduring the shame for us.  We should be willing to live before the world for him since he died before the world for us.


We sometimes don’t let Jesus share 100 percent of our lives because we are embarrassed by our own brokenness, mistakes, failures, and sinfulness, our wrong choices.  We are ashamed of what we do in private and the private thoughts we have every day that certainly aren’t godly.  The thought of Jesus actually seeing every single thing we do is painful and shameful and embarrassing.  But what we don’t realize is that God’s love is unconditional and Jesus is the exact and express image of God the Father.  Unconditional love means that they do not sit in judgment of who we are and what we do even when we are not being godly or perfect.  Think about yourself and how you try to be as unconditional as possible toward others, especially when you’re trying to show them your love and wanting to see their lives transformed or made better in some way.  If you had a good friend who became addicted to something, would you still maintain your friendship?  You would sit with them no matter what they were going through; you would give them unconditional love.  Well, God does the same thing for us: he gives unconditional love and stays beside us no matter our choices or sinfulness.  Watch another video:

http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=Scared+Dog+Rescue&&view=detail&mid=08C1DFC9ABE30000298A08C1DFC9ABE30000298A&FORM=VRDGAR  Hope for Paws rescue of Rosie, a pit bull mix with 5 babies she was hiding 7+ min.


Now look at what 1 Cor.13:4-8 says about God’s way of love:


4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,

5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,

6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;

7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails.


Give what is most precious in your life to God.   God is the very definition of love and you can trust him with your entire life, your loved ones, and everything you love. He cannot save himself, for He came into the world to completely save you through love.

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