In Matthew 27:41-43 those gathered around the cross hurled up the word “now” as if it were a stone thrown into the face of Jesus. They were admitting the shortcomings of mankind. This eternal truth spoken through vial lips was that “now” is the only portion of time that belongs to us and the only portion of time in which we can act. When these people made demand of Christ, they showed how stubborn they were by continuing to reject Christ as Savior. They were wasting away that moment of their lives. They demanded Jesus become a part of their expectations of the moment.
We may be hurling that same word to God today. We live in a world of instant gratification. With such a demand there is no foresight to consider consequences that may happen. James 5:10 says, “take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for example of suffering affliction, and of patience.” Those prophets were completely opposite of modern man. They were afflicted and yet they were patient. Certainly no one wants to suffer, yet to the Lord there are reasons and it is best for us to be patient and not to demand that the Lord answer our “now.”
There is every possibility that if we get what we want, we may regret it later. We may wish for a do over so that we can fix what we did wrong. What we think is best is most likely not best. We could be thinking about ourselves and not make room for God’s divine plan. A good example of that was the story of Jacob and Esau. Because Esau came home hungry after hunting, he bargained away his heritage just so that he could have food now. That one single decision haunted him, his brother, and many others for centuries. Not only will our demand for immediate gratification have consequences, it could extend into the distant future to the people yet unborn.
By demanding that God answer now, we may be giving up the opportunity to have a victorious life later. The apostle Paul said in Philippians 2:12, 13 that we should work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. The next verse explains how they were able to do that. He said that God worked in them so that they may do God’s good pleasure. Therefore, as they work out their salvation under the direction of God, they can realize victory in their lives. By not demanding that God respond quickly, we can see a means for our spiritual growth. It is through that submission we have a better opportunity to bring habit and sin more under control in our daily life.
By saying to God, we want him to act in a certain way at a certain time, we say we are refusing to be helpful to his plans. This is evidence for this in 1 John: 18. We do have a responsibility to God and to our fellow man. We should show love and mercy toward them, to be compassionate toward others, and with the testimony of Christ address a brother’s need. How much better it would be for us to show kindness and appreciation to those in our own personal world. We may not always have that person who is special to us. It’s better to send roses to the living because the dead cannot see them nor can they read the tombstone written for them. One cannot help but wonder what effect there would have been had the disciples not been sleeping in the garden of Gethsemane while Jesus prayed. Twice they fell asleep and Jesus gave up on them for their lack of support.
By saying “now” to Jesus on the cross, they were saying that he was not in charge, but they were. By our impatience with God to answer prayer we are saying the same thing. By not taking into consideration the consequences of how we live we are ignoring how our living will affect others. By being unrealistic in our expectations of God we could be forfeiting some victory in our lives. We can treat God as a Butler to respond at every whim instead of recognizing his divine end Almighty nature. Those around the cross should have come into the “now” of Jesus and not expect him to come into their “now.”