At last two false witnesses came forward and said, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’” Matthew 26:60, 61.
This was the only charge that could be brought against Christ. But these words had been misstated and misapplied. Christ had said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up…. But he spake of the temple of his body.”
Priests and rulers, with many others, taunted Him with this false statement. While He hung upon the cross, it was repeated in mockery by the scribes and Pharisees and echoed by the multitude. “They that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, and saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself.” But though misstated, Christ’s words were being fulfilled. Publicity was given to them, and they were made more impressive by the proclamations of His enemies….
Those who in derision uttered the words, “He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God,” little thought that their testimony would sound down the ages. But although spoken in mockery, never were words more true. They led people to search the Scriptures for themselves. Wise men heard, searched, pondered, and prayed. There were those who never rested until, by searching the Scriptures and comparing passage with passage, they saw the meaning of Christ’s mission. They saw that free forgiveness was provided by Him whose tender mercy embraces the whole world….
Never before was there such a general knowledge of Jesus as when He hung upon the cross. He was lifted up from the earth to draw all unto Him. Into the hearts of many who beheld the crucifixion scene and who heard Christ’s words was the light of truth to shine. With John they would proclaim, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” …
This scene was transacted in the sight of heaven and earth. Angels beheld the pitiless scorn and contempt shown to Jesus by those who should have acknowledged Him as the Messiah….
Again came the cry, as of one in mortal agony, “It is finished.” “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” Christ, the Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, was dead.—The Review and Herald, December 28, 1897.