And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”
“He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” The rulers scoff, but Jesus isn’t interested in saving himself, he has no need to save himself, all he does is care to save others, and this is precisely what he does now. The crowd looks on, they were disciples most likely, the rulers are trying to discourage them.
Here, is the greatest mystery of Jesus. He raised people from the dead, he turned water into wine. It must have seemed incomprehensible to the people to see him die. To not care a cent for himself, instead he hangs on a cross. It is his greatest glory they witness, but it could not look like it at the time. This is Jesus using all his strength. It is the strength that would not let him turn stones to bread in the desert being tempted, but would feed five thousand others who were in need of food. He serves others not himself, because he has no reason to be concerned for himself.
There is a corollary to this in the life of the believer, saved from sin, death and the devil, they need not worry about themselves, and are finally freed to serve others. As long as your works are cajoled by the law with promise of reward, and threat of punishment, for fear of not looking like a good Christian, etc. They just aren’t good, you aren’t serving others, you are serving yourself. This is why good works are never the products of the law, even though they are done in accordance with the law. The law tells us to love, but gives not the power to love. The gospel loves, and thereby enables us to love. Jesus on the cross is the love of God for the world.
He has no concern for himself, only for you. He does not take himself down off the cross, but he hangs there for you. The rulers scoff, the soldiers scoff. But Jesus hangs because he loves, and the world only scoffs because all they know is law, and not love.