How can anyone continue to deny?

As I was reading in Mark 15 the other morning, a verse blatantly stuck out to me. In verse 31, the chief priests and the scribes are at the cross, looking up at Jesus hanging in humiliation and pain. This is exactly what they wanted, the Man they despised and hated was now suffering a horrible death and they were delighted. They mocked Him there, laughing to one another at how they were able to put to death this man they deemed a revolutionary and heretic.

But why was it so important for them to crucify Jesus? If He wasn't a threat to them, then why bother? Their words in verse 31 give the reason: "He saved others; He cannot save Himself!" Think about those words for a minute. These Jewish leaders acknowledge that Jesus saves. They had seen Him heal with their own eyes. They had heard the many stories and beheld the evidence of changed lives. Even if they denied that He was the Messiah, there was no doubt in their minds that He had power and was capable of great things.

And yet despite all of this they still denied Jesus. They refused to believe that He was sent from God although the evidence overwhelmingly supported that He was. How could they declare that Jesus was indeed the Savior (or in their case, a savior) yet not trust in Him for their own salvation?

It boggles my mind when I ponder their unbelief. I wonder if I, too, would have been so hard-hearted toward Jesus if I lived during His days on earth? There are many that deny that Jesus was anything more than a good teacher, yet for His followers we believe that He was and is so much more. But in spite of our own belief, how often do we deny Him with the way that we live our lives? Sometimes it boggles my mind when I ponder my own unbelief.

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