Peter said, “This Jesus hath GOD RAISED UP, whereof we are all WITNESSES.” (Acts 2:32)
Paul said, “...I saw in the way A LIGHT FROM HEAVEN, above the brightness of the sun.... And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I AM JESUS whom thou persecutest.” (Acts 26:13 and 15)
Though for different reasons, these two men missed THE PASSION of Christ, they were later privileged to behold His Resurrection.
The word PASSION is only found one time in The Bible, and it means to feel pain or suffer.
Acts 1:3 says, “To whom also he shewed himself alive after his PASSION by many infallibly proofs...”
Since crucifixion in that day was an everyday occurance, viewing one would not be uncommon. Don't forget, when Christ was crucified “and there were also two other malefactors...”, (criminals), “...with him to be put to death.” (Luke 23:32)
There were two important differences between Christ and those “with him, on either side....” (John 19:18) First, Jesus was guiltless; He committed no crime. And secondly, though they ALL died, ONLY “...Christ...died,....rose, and revived that he might be Lord....” (Romans 14:9)
A Lonely Death
Before being summoned to Calvary, Jesus told His Disciples, “ALL ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.” (Mark 14:27 quoting Zechariah 13:7) That prophecy came true soon after. Not one Disciple followed Him all the way to the cross.
Solely as a spectator, “...standing by...”, only one Disciple witnessed His crucifixion. (John 19:26-27) His name was John.
Of all His Disciples, only John witnessed both THE PASSION and the Resurrection. This was his testimony....
“That which was from the beginning, which we have HEARD, which we have SEEN WITH OUR EYES, which we have LOOKED UPON, and our hands have HANDLED, of the Word of life...we have SEEN it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us...” (I John 1:1-2)
Who Crucified Jesus?
Even though the JEWS rejected Him...
“He came unto his own, and his own received him NOT.” (John 1:11)
Even though the ROMANS nailed Him to the cross...
“Then the soldiers...crucified Jesus...” (John 19:23)
...It was The Saviour's FATHER that sent Him to die for our sins!
“We do testify that THE FATHER sent the son to be the Saviour of the world.” (I John 4:14)
The New Testament informs us, that Jesus “...humbled himself....” to The Father's will, “...and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8)
I repeat, who crucified Jesus? NOT the Jews, NOT the Romans, THE FATHER did.
Now that we know who crucified Jesus, it's important to understand why. The simple answer is, “...Christ died for OUR sins...” (I Corinthians 15:3)
Why did Christ have to die, you ask?
Here's the answer. God is HOLY. He will not accept us in our sins.
“...O Lord my God, mine HOLY ONE...thou art of PURER EYES than to behold evil, and canst NOT look on iniquity...” (Habakkuk 1:12-13)
“...Your iniquities have SEPARATED between you and your God, and your sins have HID HIS FACE FROM YOU, that you will not hear.” (Isaiah 59:2)
Breaking man's laws are crimes against society. Breaking God's laws, (called sins and iniquities), are CRIMES against GOD!
King Solomon had it right when he said, “For there is not a just man upon the earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) Let's face it, “All have sinned...”, (Romans 3:23), and since all have sinned, ALL are guilty. Those sins by the way, offend God!
As in any crime, when the offender is caught, a judgment is imposed, a verdict is rendered, and then the punishment is normally meted out.
My Friend, since sins are crimes against God, they must be punished! Would a Holy God choose to ignore sin? Wouldn't His very nature obligate Him to judge it?
“The Lord...will by no means ACQUIT the wicked...”, nor will He CLEAR “...the guilty...” (Nahum 1:3; Numbers 14:18)
Sin is so heinous, look what God says about it...
“...Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth DEATH.” (James 1:15)
“The wages (payment) of sin is DEATH...” (Romans 6:23)
“The soul that sinneth, it shall DIE.” (Ezekiel 18:4)
Sin is so hated by God, it carries with it a death sentence. Could that be why HELL will last for Eternity? Won't it last forever?
My Friend, God's verdict against sin demands payment! As awful as it sounds, SOMEONE must pay for sin. Unless that payment is made, “...EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT...” awaits all who die lost in their sins! (Matthew 25:46)
Do you understand now, why Christ had to suffer such a horrible death? He was dying for our SINS. Those words are good news to anyone who desires to go to HEAVEN. Wouldn't you like to be pardoned from YOUR sins? Believe the Gospel, and get saved! Here it is again, “...Christ died for our sins...he was buried, and...he rose again the third day...and he was SEEN...”!!! (I Corinthians 15:1-8)
The blood that stained the old rugged cross satisfied God's HOLY judgment. When Jesus died, He became “...a ransom for ALL...” (I Timothy 2:6) HE SEALED OUR PARDON WITH HIS BLOOD, HALLELUJAH, WHAT A SAVIOUR!
There's more GOOD NEWS:
“Who his own self bare our sins IN HIS OWN BODY on the tree...” (I Peter 2:24)
“For Christ also hath suffered once for sins, the just...” JESUS, “...for the unjust...”, THAT'S US, “that he might bring us to God, BEING PUT TO DEATH IN THE FLESH...” (I Peter 3:18)
“...The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from ALL sin.” (I John 1:7)
All who receive Jesus as personal Saviour actually get a double benefit: Our sins are taken away, and we obtain God's righteousness!
“For he hath made him to be SIN for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God in him.” (II Corinthians 5:21)
May I say, how wonderful it is to know God's Forgiveness!
The words of the old-time hymn writer are very fitting here:
“Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In MY PLACE CONDEMNED HE STOOD-
Sealed MY pardon with His Blood:
Hallelujah, what a Saviour!” (Philip P. Bliss)
God's View of THE PASSION
Seven Hundred years before The Saviour's birth, God reserved a front row seat to THE PASSION. He gave that seat to Isaiah the prophet. After he viewed that dark picture, he wrote these words...
“...He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath born our grief's and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities...the LORD laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter...yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin...” (Excerpt from Isaiah 53)
Anyone who has ever viewed THE PASSION knows what a horrible death our Saviour died on Calvary. Isaiah said, He was “...marred MORE than ANY man...” (Isaiah 52:14) His was the worst death in history. The reason: THE PASSION OF CHRIST PAID FOR EVERY SIN THAT WAS EVER COMMITTED BY MAN.
“Christ hath redeemed us from the CURSE of the law, BEING MADE A CURSE FOR US: for it is written CURSED is everyone that hangeth on a TREE.” (Galatians 3:13)
My Friend, God desires to forgive you. He “...is not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9) If you reject Christ's payment, YOU WILL HAVE TO PAY FOR YOUR SINS YOURSELF.
Dear Friend, Jesus didn't die to show us a better way. He is the way! (John 14:6) His death, burial, and glorious resurrection is the only thing that will keep you and I out of HELL.
Salvation is a FREE GIFT. All who receive Jesus Christ by faith are promised Eternal Live. There's no reason to wait, you can be saved today. God says, “Call upon me, and I will answer thee...” (Jeremiah 33:3) “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)
Why not bow your head right now, and pray:
“Dear Jesus, I believe you died in my place, and your precious blood paid for all my sins. I ask you to forgive me and save my soul from Hell. I receive you as my Saviour and Risen Lord. Thank you for giving me the gift of Eternal Life. In Jesus name, Amen.”