When It Looks Like Jesus Gave Up…

People jeered as they looked at the man who’d performed miracles too good to be true and made lofty claims about his own power. For all His talk, Jesus sure didn’t seem strong enough to remove the nails holding Him to the cross.

Some thought of one of the things Jesus said He would do:

“Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” (John 2:19)

They threw those very words in His face as he hung dying in terrible pain.

“Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” (Mark 15:29-30)

I’ve read the passage many times, but I only caught this recently:

They were mocking Jesus as unable to uphold a claim He was fulfilling right before their eyes.

…But they didn’t recognize what He was doing. “Destroying the temple” didn’t look a thing like they thought it would, and they had no idea what He would do in 3 days. (Raise HIMSELF from the dead.)

When Jesus made that original claim, John noted:

“But when Jesus said ‘this temple,’ he meant his own body.” (John 2:21)

Though we may not mock Jesus, we often doubt and question Him when He is answering our prayers right in front us, but it doesn’t look the way we thought it would.

We often doubt and question God when He is answering our prayers right in front us, but it doesn’t look the way we thought it would. Click To Tweet

Often, when we think God’s ignoring us, He’s at work but we don’t recognize His purposes. God’s purposes are frequently different than ours.

When people mocked Jesus’ claims while He hung on the cross, the “failed” purposes they pointed out had to do with earthly power. Many people thought this sort of power is what Jesus came for, that His purpose was to take over and restore the kingdom.

Yet Jesus wasn’t being defeated, He was accomplishing the greatest victory of all. He was doing what He became man to do. His purposes were hard to recognize and grasp in the moment, but how grateful we are looking back!

When you feel like giving up…

The same day I finally recognized the connection between these passages, I also read these verses:

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, so that in due time He may exalt you. Cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

Humility. Jesus embodied that.

God’s mighty hand. Strong enough to stay nailed to the cross for us.

In due time. 3 days later He rose, He is exulted at God’s right hand. He will bring us to completion!

Cast all your anxiety on Him. He knew. He came, suffered, and died anyway. Christ understands anxiety.

Because He cares for you. What greater love than this?!


I love biographies! The stories of Oswald Chambers and Mrs. Oswald Chambers come to mind in particular when I think of God fulfilling His purposes in ways we wouldn’t expect.

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One Reply to “When It Looks Like Jesus Gave Up…”

  1. Encouraging words – that God is working even when we can’t see Him working – and to trust and wait on His timing – thank you, this was a blessing to read.

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