Cross of Christ condemns pride, Meyer says at SBTS chapel
Jesus Christ’s death on the cross signals the ultimate death of human pride, said Minnesota pastor Jason Meyer at his March 15 chapel message at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Preaching on the relationship between Psalm 22 and its allusions in Mark 15, Meyer showed how the Psalms set the trajectory for the New Testament’s condemnation of pride.
“So many people think the Psalms are comforting and soothing. But many times they’re also downright disturbing, so jarring that they shatter any sense of swagger that we have,” said Meyer, a two-time graduate of Southern Seminary with both an M.Div. and a Ph.D. Meyer is pastor for preaching and vision at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, succeeding John Piper, who served in that role for 33 years.
Psalm 22 provides the backdrop for Jesus’ crucifixion in Mark 15, and Meyer noted the ways Mark intentionally references the Davidic psalm. The psalm presents a two-step process of the rejection of the Davidic king: an earthquake of divine rejection, causing a tsunami of human rejection. David is not talking about himself, Meyer noted, as the king was never executed, but is instead talking about the Son of God.
“It’s impossible to be in this Psalm and not to be transported to the brutality of Calvary and see Jesus’ hands and feet pierced, and see them dividing his garments and gloating over him,” Meyer said. “And yet even in this largest wave of human rejection and circling in for the kill, he is not moved and continues to trust in the Lord.”
While Psalm 22 begins with divine rejection and moves to human rejection, it’s reversed in Mark 15. Jesus is rejected by the Gentiles, then the Jews — passersby mock Jesus, as do those crucified with him.
“Here is the creator, having his creation mock him, and he didn’t budge,” Meyer said. “You’re meant to marvel at this. You’re meant to worship — look at this glory.”
Jesus is finally rejected by the Father himself, shown by what Meyer called the “cry of the damned” — “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The Father and the Son had an eternity of unbroken communion shattered at that moment, yet the Son’s punishment represents a once-for-all atonement of the Father’s wrath believers will never experience themselves, Meyer said.
“That is why the cross is the one safe place for sinners to run in the universe, because the fire of God’s wrath fell there once and will never fall again,” he said. “He was forsaken so that we could be forgiven, he was condemned that we might have blood-bought acceptance, and so it shatters all of our swagger, all of our pride.”
Meyer said the cross of Christ shatters the power of shame and frees believers from its condemnation. He invited students to imagine the cross as a heavyweight bout between Jesus Christ and shame, where Jesus invites shame to challenge him and defeats it on behalf of his people, voiding all pride and any claims to superiority within the family of God.
“That’s why we as Christians can shake off our guilty fears this morning and say, ‘We’re not ashamed of the gospel because in the gospel he took all our shame and shattered it,’ such that we are forever worshippers with no swagger,” he said.
Audio and video of the chapel message is available at sbts.edu/resources.