The disciples had fled from their Lord, and Jesus was “led” about by His enemies. First Jewish and then Gentile authorities had their part to play in a divine drama that would become the turning point of human history.
Who was at fault for the death of Christ? Was it “the chief priests and the elders” in Jerusalem, the governor who sought to release Him, Judas who “changed his mind” and tried to return the “blood money” that he was given to betray His Master? A case can be made to prove the guilt of all these and more, including the crowd that forced the hand of Pilate and the soldiers who mocked and crucified the “King of the Jews.” Yet every true Christian can only be content with one answer: It was my sin that brought Jesus to the cross.
The story of our redemption contains another deep truth that the church must never forget. The Man who said, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” knew that He was fulfilling Psalm 22. The Savior who was buried in the tomb of “a rich man” understood that He was the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. Both of these passages prepared the Jews for a Messiah who would die as Jesus did, but they also prophesied of a resurrection victory that would touch the lives of a glorious multitude.
There were immediate signs of a surprising vindication of Christ when Jesus breathed His last. “The curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” Worshipers had a new way of access to the Almighty through a perfect Mediator. Even the military personnel closest to Jesus in His death had to exclaim, “Truly this was the Son of God.”
Pilate would let the religious leaders attempt to make His grave as “secure” as they could, but nothing could stop Jesus from rising from the dead. The claim written above His head on that wretched cross was absolutely true: “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Our God, the events of the atonement are overwhelming. Who killed Jesus? Was it the Romans? Was it the chief priests and elders? Was it Judas? Was it Pilate? Was it the crowd? Was it the soldiers? Was it not me? It was our sins that brought Him to this horrible moment. It was Your great plan to save us, and there was no other way. Be glorified, O Lord. We cannot claim to be innocent of the blood of the Lamb. What is left for us to do? We will carry His cross, for He is our King. We have been delivered from death and hell. He was forsaken that we could live forever. He yielded up His Spirit that we would have the gift of Your presence in us. He is most certainly Your eternal Son, yet He was buried in a tomb for us. What wondrous love is this!