Who really killed Jesus? Who caused Jesus to die? Many times this question has been asked. Many times I’ve heard the answer “It was the Jews” or “It was the Romans.” In a sense that is true, insofar as the Jews and Romans of that time were representative of all human beings lost in sin and out of touch with God. But in a more accurate sense, it was me. It was you. It was God. It was planned. In fact, it was written about 700 years before Christ died. And Isaiah told us why.
Jesus’ part in this divine drama was as a substitute. A substitute for whom? He filled in for you and me. Read slowly Isaiah’s words in Chapter 53(v. 4-6 AMP) and note the use of our, us and we:
“But [in fact] He has borne our griefs,
And He has carried our sorrows and pains;
Yet we [ignorantly] assumed that He was stricken,
Struck down by God and degraded and humiliated [by Him].
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing];
The punishment [required] for our well-being fell on Him,
And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed.
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
We have turned, each one, to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]
To fall on Him [instead of us].”
The horror of what Jesus underwent cannot be adequately depicted by words nor simply imagined sufficiently by our minds. Consider:
- The emotional anguish of separation from God the Father for the first and only time while the sins of the world were laid on Jesus was excruciating in itself
- The scorn and scoffing from bystanders was relentless
- Though innocent of sin or crime, being condemned as guilty and paraded before the crowds must have had its toll
- The pain of betrayal not just by Judas, but also abandonment by Jesus’ closest friends in His darkest hour
- The physical torture of beatings which were inhumane and death which came slowly
I’m afraid too much of scripture becomes “story” for us. We have read it. We have heard it. But we haven’t been close enough to it to “feel” it inside. To be “struck” by it. We are unable to get “into” it, to even “picture” it. Let me try to push the point closer. Do you recall your emotions when you witnessed (though on TV) the 2 planes spearing into the twin towers on 911? Doesn’t that and recent replays still evoke strong, heart-felt emotions? Just the numbers “911” greatly stir and trouble us.
We would be well served to see first-hand the results of this viciousness poured out on Jesus for our sake. Perhaps this would allow our appreciation and gratitude to deepen to where it should be. Would you give yourself to be brutalized for someone else? Would you permit someone to die in this way for you? “But many were amazed when they saw him. His face was so disfigured he seemed hardly human, and from his appearance, one would scarcely know he was a man.”(Is. 52:14 NLT) Horrible!
What I say next may upset some of you. Please forgive me in advance. But I remain disappointed that a movie of the power of The Passion of the Christ was actually Rated “R” and for that reason too many Christians deprived themselves from being exposed to a realistic capture of the reality of Christ’s suffering for them. Gosh, how the country got hijacked on that one. We have been exposed to so much more vivid, unnecessary and evil violence with lesser ratings. We need to see Jesus’ suffering. We need an opportunity to identify with the sacrifice made by our substitute.
The R-rating “spared” many non-Christian movie-goers the opportunity to come close to experiencing the cross and Jesus’ rescue of the willing world. Equally unfortunate, it deprived those of us who now call Christ our Savior a clearer bond with the One who loved us enough to exchange His life and death for ours. We read of Jesus’ sacrifice and have heard it preached. But in this case, seeing a reenactment is more worthwhile than simply 1,000 words. It has the power to take us much deeper, much closer. Maybe we should revisit this tearful drama.Think About It.