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.