Could you do it?

CrucifxionI love the epiphanies I sometimes experience during our ladies’ Bible study. Last week it was this: Could the Jews have gone through with crucifying Jesus if they had believed he was the Christ?

We were talking about how the Jews thought they were protecting their faith by killing Jesus. There’s a whole world of politics and machinations behind the scenes, of course, but I think the Jewish people who cried out for Jesus’ crucifixion thought they were doing the right thing.

So flip the tables. Imagine they know Jesus is their savior and they know he has to die for their sins. Could they have done it? Could they have gone through with killing him if they’d believed? Could I? Could you?

I’ve always felt torn about Jesus’ suffering and death. I love him and hate that he went through that. At the same time I’m so glad he did, because death for him means life for me.

But when Jesus explained to his disciples what was going to happen, Peter actually tried to talk him out of it.

Matthew 16:21-23 From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!”Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”

Peter couldn’t do it. He knew who Jesus was and loved him so much he didn’t want to see him suffer and die, resurrection or no.

It’s easy to look back on that scene where the Jewish people ask Pilate to release a murderer over the savior of mankind and shake my head. To feel a tiny bit superior because I KNOW who Jesus is and know that he deserves adulation not crucifixion. I mean, he told them. He showed them. How could they have not known?

But maybe it’s not so much that they didn’t know as it is that they couldn’t know. Because if they’d known . . . I’m afraid eternity would be in question.

6 thoughts on “Could you do it?

  1. Here is a related question. What if you had been Judas? I recently read a book called, “The Gospel of Judas” (I think that is the title – but have loaned it out and cannot check the exact title). The book provides some interesting insight and brings forth further questions. If Judas had NOT betrayed Jesus, God’s plan of salvation may not have been perfected. Judas did betray Jesus and he did believe that Jesus WAS the Christ. Hmmm… someone HAD to do it.

    • Oh man, we’ve talked and talked about Judas in Bible study. It seems like God made him for the purpose of betraying Christ–why would God do that? And the Bible is clear in saying that Judas is in Hell. Ouch. What a life-purpose. Judas is a question I’ll continue to wrestle with.

  2. I love it when someone gives me a perspective from the bible that had not occured to me before. Peter couldn’t do it because he loved Him too much to see him die was my first reaction. But Mary knew who He was and that He had to die and was willing to suffer the loss. Could I (we) do it? I would have to be willing to put the good of mankind above my selfish need to have Him physically present in my life. Food for thought indeed!

  3. I have an odd analogy – please bear with me…

    Consider the Japanese use of kamikaze pilots during the waning days of the Second World War. Mordecai Sheftall, in his marvelous book “Blossoms in the Wind: Human Legacies of the Kamikaze” points out that the choices made by the individuals involved were far more akin to the firefighters who entered the World Trade Center Towers on 9/11, knowing that the buildings were probably doomed to fall, than anywhere like the fanatics who hijacked the airliners in the first place.

    The Kamikaze willingly stepped forward (many, if not most of them) voluntarily, with love for their country and the protection of their people foremost in their minds.

    I think there is a parallel to be drawn, in the willingness to sacrifice oneself for Love. For the kamikaze, the issue was very clear – their homeland and their families were in danger of being burned to ash, and they thought their families would be massacred. Jesus knew that humanity was doomed without his sacrifice.

    Did the Kamikaze pilots’ friends try to dissuade them from their fatal missions? No. They gave emotional support, and watched in sorrow.

    As, I think, would be our brief, in seeing Jesus to His terrible, glorious ordeal.

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