Who Put Jesus on the Cross?
There is a great silence in Christian circles today about man’s responsibility for sin. This basic human responsibility, that people are trying to evade, is a shadow cast over all of us— that the Lord was bruised and wounded and crucified for the whole human race.
We can blame Judas or pity Pilate or be shocked how the Jews turned their backs and put Jesus on the Cross. They and we, put him on that Cross, not they alone. That basic dishonesty that comes to light when you cheat “a little” on your tax return—that put him on the Cross. That hating, backstabbing, jealousy, prideful, carnal,fleshly love of pleasure—all of these in natural man, put him on the Cross. All of Adam’s race share in putting him on that Cross.
How can I even come to the Communion table and participate without becoming overwhelmed with shame and feeling such intense pain, “I, too, am among those who helped put him on the Cross!”
As Andy also reminded us several weeks ago, how common is the characteristic of man to keep himself so busy with unimportant trifles, so that he is able to avoid deeper matters relating to life and existence. We will gather with friends to chat of latest fashions, money woes and world issues but an oppressive silence comes when we bring up spiritual subjects. There seems to be an unwritten rule in polite religious society that we shouldn’t get too personal. It’s not politically correct.
All the while, there is only one thing that is of vital and lasting importance—the fact that our Lord Jesus Christ “was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought peace for us was upon Him, and by his wounds we are healed.” We can’t deny it. We don’t like to hear it. But the evidence is against us. He was profaned for our sakes. Isaiah says, “the punishment that brought us peace, was upon Him.”
How few of us realize that it is this peace— which restores us to God. The chastisement fell upon Him so that we as individuals could experience peace with God, if we so desired. But the chastisement was on him. Beaten, scourged in public by Roman decree, whipped, bruised , bleeding—this was the answer to the peace of the world, to the peace of the human heart.
I am a forgiven and justified sinner. As a truly penitent person who has realized the enormity of their sin and rebellion against God, I can feel so overwhelmed and disgusted with myself—I couldn’t possibly dare to ask God to let me off. But peace has been established for those blows that fell on Christ Jesus.
It was not for punishment for any wrongdoing. But he was willing to suffer in order to correct me and perfect me so that his suffering would not end in suffering, but end with healing!
This is the Glory of the Cross! The Glory of this kind of atonement allows the repentant sinner to come into a peaceful and gracious fellowship with his God and Creator! It began in suffering and ended in healing. It began in His wounds and ended in our purification. It began with his bruises and ended in our cleansing. As a believing child of God, I must follow that holy longing and desire for a pure heart and clean hands that are a delight to the Lord. Seek for your own, periods of wonder and amazement at this mystery of godliness—this willingness of the Son of Man to take our place in punishment.
Realize God’s peace through His stripes. This is how God assures us we will be all right inside. Let us treasure the purity of His cleansing and not make excuses for our wrongdoings. God still seeks humble, cleansed and trusting hearts through which to reveal His divine power and grace and life.
Desire and know and cherish the presence of the Living God today.
—Adapted from The Radical Cross by A.W. Tozer