In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him.
Life is full of tests. Sometimes it seems they’ll never end. We may feel like we’re constantly being tested or evaluated. Of course, at college the tests are far more important. They are also infinitely more important because they largely determine our grades, and perhaps help determine our future. So we’re accustomed to these types of tests. We expect them. Testing and evaluation is a normal part of our academic lives.
The people involved in bringing Jesus before Pilate gathered around the cross, and purported to test Jesus. If you’re the Messiah, come down from the cross, and then we’ll believe. Just do this one thing, then we’ll have faith. After all that had happened, all Jesus had done, was it really likely the authorities would have believed? Or to use the words of Moses, were their hearts hardened against Jesus?
After his baptism, Jesus fasted and went alone into the desert, where he confronted evil, and refused to test God. If we insist that God pass a series of tests, will we ever be satisfied? Will the evil one ever let us alone? No, we’ll be like the authorities – just do this one more thing. It’s never ending.
If we want to find God in the world, it’s not going to happen by imposing a series of tests. We don’t have to look any farther than among the suffering. When Jesus healed a person, it was not to test God. It was a response to suffering. We too are called to respond to suffering of any kind, physical, emotional, spiritual. And in doing so, we encounter God’s presence and power. Exactly what the authorities wanted to see.