The question of Christ’s crucifixion has been debated by theologians, historians, and preachers throughout the ages. Some may think the question is irrelevant after 2000 years. “What difference does it make,” they opine.
The issue of Christ’s crucifixion, however, may have greater implications to us than we initially realized.
Was it the sanctimonious Sanhedrin council who plotted his execution? Who denied His Deity? Who moved with envy to eliminate His eminence among the people?
Was it Judas who betrayed Him? Peter who denied Him? Or the Disciples who dispersed in fear and deserted Him?
Was it the unbelieving Jews who in a frenzy cried, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” ? Who demanded the release of a murderer instead of the liberation of their Lord? Who smugly said, “His blood be on us and on our children?
Was it cowardly Pilate who catered to the crowd’s demands? Who was more interested in being a friend of Caesar than a friend of Jesus? Who blithely washed his hands of this sordid sin?
Was it the coarse and cruel Roman soldiers who nailed the spikes into his hands and feet? Who gambled for His garments at the foot of the cross? And who pierced His side with a spear?
The Hebrew writer provides a sobering and different point of view when he rebukes first century Christians who had become neglectful, indifferent and hardened. He pointedly accused them, saying…
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame. (Heb 6:4-6).
Understand that the apostle was writing to Christians. Those who were enlightened. Who received fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Who enjoyed the taste of God’s gracious gift. Of his soul satisfying Word. And of his powerful presence and promises. They were recipients of all those blessings, but they quit. Gave up. Surrendered. And were guilty of crucifying Christ. Again.
Has that ever been me? Have I given in to satisfy selfish desires? Surrendered to Satan’s enticements? Yielded to carnal lusts?
It was sin that sent Jesus to the cross. The sins of mankind. Specifically yours. And mine. It was our pride. Our cowardice. Our greed. Our envy. Our weakness. Our unbelief. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God…there is none righteous, no not one,” penned Paul.
The entirety of human failure is symbolized in Christ’s crucifixion. It was a black day. A sad and sordid day. A day of humanity’s greatest sin. And it reminds us of our days of failure as well. This thought is captured in the hymn by Ray Overhold, “I’m the One” that says in part
“I was not on the hillside
when He gave His life that day,
I did not nail His precious hands
or take His robe away;
I could not do a single thing
to hurt God’s only Son,
but every time I sin on earth
I feel that I’m the one.”
“I’m the one,
who shouted “crucify,
” I’m the one,
who made His cross so high,
I’m the one,
who stood and watched Him die;
What have I done?
I’m the one.”
But thank God for Jesus’ resurrecting power over death. For His triumphant victory over the devil. For His phenomenal appearances to average folks. For His powerful testimony to Thomas. For His merciful pardon to Peter. For His world-wide commission to the apostles. For his astounding ascension to rule as reigning King at the Father’s throne.
And thank God that I can bask in His love. Experience His grace. Receive His promises. Share in His supper. Enjoy His fellowship. Find His forgiveness. Partake of His Divinity. Benefit from His blessings. And live in the comforting hope that He offers a heavenly home. It is then I can sing a new refrain:
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman