John 10:11-18 – “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. 12 But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13 The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. 15 As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.
17 “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father.” NKJV
Through the years, I have been troubled by many, even in the Christian church, who endeavor to blame the Jews for Jesus’ death and have called them “Christ Killers.” The Jewish hierarchy was responsible for pressing the issue. They pressed Pilate because they wanted the death of Jesus because they considered Him a heretic and destructive to the ‘nation and place.’ They were motivated by ignorance and their theological understanding, but WHO KILLED JESUS?
If I take the Bible and our LORD’s declaration as factual, and I do, then man did not kill Jesus in the ultimate sense. According to Jesus in the passage above, He LAID HIS LIFE DOWN. He further declared that NO ONE could take it from Him and that it was HIS CHOICE to die and rise again as a commandment from the Father. Therefore, the Jewish religious hierarchy and the Roman rulers were tools used to bring about the defeat of Sin and open the door to redemption for mankind.
Some find it convenient to hate particular groups of people for various reasons and then misapply scripture in an attempt to validate their views. If we are to be true followers of Christ and the Bible is to be our guide for faith and practice, we must allow the Bible to shape our views, not misuse the Bible to validate our preferences.
When I think of the Cross, I do not think of the Romans or the Jewish Sanhedrin; I think of my Redeemer, who willingly gave His life for me. I think of the Lamb Slain from the Foundation of the World who died for the Sin of the World. I think of Salvation; I think of forgiveness, not a reason to hate another member of the human family. It was a ploy of the devil to defeat the purposes of God, and he mistakenly thought that the earthly death of Jesus would accomplish his end. He was wrong then, wrong when he attempted to supplant God in heaven, and continues to be wrong and will remain so throughout eternity.
Jesus had to go to the Cross to pay the price for our sin, and to view the Cross as anything other than a display of LOVE for mankind is a mistake. It is a revelation and demonstration of love in the highest order. Jesus was not forced to go to the Cross; He chose to go there out of LOVE! Therefore, our sin and His Great Love took Him to the Cross!
May the Lord be with you as you go through your day!