Saturday, October 19, 2013

It was because of me . . .



“I don’t get it,” I’ve heard them say, people who listen to the Gospel with a furrow in their brow. It doesn’t make sense to them, yet they are right about one thing. It makes no sense to put to death an innocent man who healed people and did miracles, who was sinless and loved sinners. That part I don’t get either.
None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 2:8)
Actually, I do get it. My sin, the enjoyable sin, is such that I want to keep doing it. I don’t want an innocent man dying for it, for then I must face the fact that God hates sin. Apart from faith in His offered Savior from sin, I will perish for it, forever.

Some decide that “forever” is a myth; when you are dead, you are dead. Some decide Jesus didn’t exist, but there is more evidence for His existence than any other person from ancient times. Some decide that “sin” is a non-issue, not serious, everyone does it and there is no God who cares. They cannot see Him, so He must also be a myth. Life just happened all by itself and we are evolved from primates anyway.

The above verse startles me. Yet upon reflection, I have to agree with it. If those who put Jesus on that cross understood the significance of His death, and realized He did it willingly as our substitute before God, they would not have killed Him. To do so would be a backhanded way of admitting their need for redemption. As much as they hated this living Word who told them so, they didn’t want Him to prove it was true in such a drastic way. 

If they had anticipated His resurrection, they would not have killed Him either. That resurrection proved He was who He claimed, God in human flesh, and that would never do either. 

Another option would be to belittle sin. I do it. I think the cross is a horrible thing because it puts my sin into the same category of horrible. Those things I excuse or rationalize hang there with Jesus, only He carries the guilt and shame of them and lovingly allows me to go free. What a terrible injustice. Had I been there, would I have stopped this tragic event, or at least protested against it? Had I understood it, would my life change because of it — so that He would not have to die and I would be okay in the sight of God?

Not likely. Jesus says that we don’t have the ability to change ourselves. We all fall short. He had to die for our sin. Understand it or not, the cross affirms that I am a sinful person.

Today’s devotional imagines a ruler from that age coming home after that fateful event. His children run with happy shouts to their father. He is well satisfied as he keeps telling his wife and plays with his little one, with his day’s work. For him, putting Jesus to death was not something unthinkable and gross and obviously devilish. It was set up by the quite ordinary, decent, and respectable little sins of decent and respectable people. He did this thing the same way I drift every day into something that does not please God.

It has been said before that every person who ever lived has been in that eager crowd that nailed Him to His cross. We all laugh up into His face and watch Him die. Then we go our way, well-pleased and relieved that we have hustled Him out of the way so we can rule our own lives.

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