Because it is Easter we are going to take a one days break from our study on Spiritual Gifts.
Have you ever been asked, “Who crucified Jesus?” Maybe the question should be, “Who didn’t crucify Jesus?”
The religious leaders played their part, as did Judas, Pilate, and, of course, the actual soldiers who put the nails in His hands and feet. Satan played his part too, but then so did we.
In Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ – Mel Gibson’s hand is the one that puts the nail in Jesus’ hand — Mel did this symbolic of the fact that he holds himself accountable first and foremost for Christ’s death.
However no-one had the power to take the life of Jesus, if he hadn’t laid down his life according to the will of the Father. The Bible says that “it pleased the Lord to bruise Him” (Isaiah 53:10 NKJV). This means the crucifixion of Jesus was not a mistake. Nor was it an afterthought.
It was part of God’s plan from the very beginning. A decision was made in the councils of eternity that God Himself would come to Earth as a man and would go to a cross and die in the place of all sinners.
Why? So that humanity could be put into contact with God. Jesus came to Earth to purchase back what was lost in the Garden of Eden. He came to buy back the title deed to Earth. He came to die on a cross for our sins.
Humanity’s worst mistake was, at the same time, God’s master plan.
The Bible says, “He suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9 NIV). In His own words, He came to give His life as a ransom for many (see Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45).
In other words, Jesus was born to die so that we might live. The purpose of the Incarnation was for our atonement. The birth of Jesus was for the death of Jesus.
As He prayed facedown in the Garden of Gethsemane, He knew that Judas Iscariot was on his way there with the temple guard. He knew the physical pain that awaited Him. He knew they would punch Him, rip His beard from His face, and tear His back open with a whip. He knew they would nail Him to a cross.
But worst of all, He knew he would have to bear the sin of the entire world. When Jesus pierced the darkness with his cry from the cross, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”—meaning, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”— He was bared the sins of the world: past, present, and future.
He was dying as a substitute for others. The guilt of our sins was imputed to Him, and He was suffering the punishment for all those sins on our behalf.
Why did this have to happen?
God was punishing Jesus as though He had personally committed every wicked deed by every wicked sinner. And in so doing, He could forgive and treat those redeemed ones as if they had lived Christ’s perfect life of righteousness.
This is called justification. It is not just merely the removal of sin. It is the imputing of the righteousness of Christ to those who put their faith in him. That is what happened when Jesus hung on the cross.
And Scripture clearly teaches there was a moment when the sin of the world was placed on Jesus: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24 NIV).
Jesus was forsaken by God for a time that you might enjoy His presence forever. Jesus entered the darkness that you might walk in the light.