"But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed." Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
This is the scene that I always find so ironic. Just six days earlier, the people of Jerusalem were laying palms and shouting, "Hosanna in the Highest". They were finally giving Jesus the recognition and praise that he so much deserved. Six days later - just six days, people were shouting, "Crucify Him"!
It is this scene that helps us to answer the question, "Who crucified Jesus?" So many times we look to see who would do this to Jesus - who would put Jesus to death? Sometimes, we focus on Pilate as the one we can say, "He did it!" Other times, we focus on the soldiers who nailed Jesus to the cross. Then there are other times when we focus on God, who let his Son go through all of this. Many times, though, we look to the people in the crowd. When Pilate brought Jesus in front of the crowd, in hopes that they would release Jesus, they shouted, "Crucify Him"! Pilate gave the crowd many other options so that Jesus could go free, but that was not to happen. The crowd refused to set Jesus free. So ultimately, it was the crowd that put Jesus to death, right?
Once again, during Lent and our opportunity to reflect, I ask that we take another viewpoint. Were the members of the crowd responsible? I believe it was ALL of us - the crowd, me, and you. We are all there saying, "Crucify Him"! When we look to blame others for this horrific event, we need to look in the mirror again, knowing that we are just as guilty as those there that fateful day, wanting to send Jesus to the cross. Jesus went there for our transgressions. Jesus took all of our sins with him to the cross. It is MY sins that took Jesus to the cross. It is MY sins that called out "Crucify Him"!
Our sinful nature can cause us great guilt and shame. Our sins can overwhelm us, cause us to lead a dark life, knowing that there is nothing we can do to take our sins away. Yet, on that Friday when the crowd yelled out to put our Jesus on the cross, I was there, yelling out as well. I was yelling, knowing that our Dear Jesus was walking my sins to the cross. So when we ask, "Who put Jesus to death", know that we can't look to others - we need to look at ourselves.
As always with Jesus, there is good news. We may have sent Jesus to the cross, but in doing so, we live knowing that our sins are wiped clean by Jesus' blood. We know that in repenting of our sins, we have life eternal with Jesus. We know that Jesus loves us unconditionally, each and every day. "We know that we are Christians by His love"! Take the time today to recognize that we sent Jesus to the cross, but we will also see Him in Paradise. Live in that glory. Don't live in the darkness of sin - live in Jesus' light on the world.
"My Dear Jesus, I know that I was the one who sent you to the cross. I was the one who yelled, "Crucify Him"! I also know that you, Dear Jesus, walked to the cross with my sins on your back. You did this because you love ME! I can't wait for the day where I will see you in Paradise. Until then, know how very grateful I am that you took the walk for me. Thank you Jesus. Amen."