The Death of the Messiah

April 2, 2022

Simon Peter said to Him, "Lord, where are You going?" Jesus answered him, "Where I am going you cannot follow Me now, but you will follow afterward." Peter said to Him, "Lord, why can I not follow You now?" Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of Me this night. For it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee" (Matthew 26:31-32; Mark 14:27-28; John 13:36-37). 

Who killed Jesus? Some say the Romans because they crucified Him. Some say the Jews because they condemned Him to die. Some say sinners did because if we hadn’t sinned, Jesus would not have had to give His life as an atoning sacrifice for us. God said, through His prophet Zechariah, that He did. (Zechariah 13:7) “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who is My Companion,” says the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; then I will turn My hand against the little ones.” Then again, Jesus said He surrendered His own life to die. (John 10:17-18) Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. 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. When Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, Pilate said to Him, Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You? Jesus answered, You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin (John 19:10-11). The one who delivered Jesus to Pilate was Caiaphas, the High Priest. It was Judas Iscariot who delivered Jesus to Caiaphas. Both Caiaphas and Judas were guilty of the greater sin.

It is true that it was fore-ordained that Jesus would come and die on the cross to save us. It was all a part of God’s sovereign plan. (Revelation 13:8) All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Before creation took place, the decision was made in the counsel of the Godhead that Christ would become incarnate human, live a sinless life, and die the sacrificial death necessary to secure our forgiveness for sin and satisfy God’s justice and wrath against the sinner. 

And yet that does not absolve Caiaphas, Judas, and the nation of Israel of the responsibility for their part in carrying out God’s plan of redemption. They acted of their own free will to do what they did. Were they aware that all of this was God’s plan, and that they were key players in it? No. Still, they are accountable for their actions. I suppose had they not participated in God’s plan, someone else would have. But they did participate knowingly and willingly. No one, not even Satan, can thwart the plans and purposes of God. His sovereign will is going to be accomplished. It is our decision to join with the Lord in fulfilling His plans, or to stand opposed to His plans. Remember, Jesus said, He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters (Luke 11:23). There is no middle ground. Amen.


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