Should Christians feel guilty because it’s their fault Jesus died?

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As a Christian blogger I hear and read about many objestions to faith in Christ and, to be honest, I find very few of them to be inspired, new, or thought provoking.

That was until this morning when I read about the horrible guilt Christians should feel because they are somehow personally responsible for Christ’s death, if it even happened. Emphasis was added there because I found it interesting how someone can be so emotionally troubled over the murder of someone they can’t be sure was even murdered at all.

When I read that I immediately began to wonder where the Bible teaches that Christians should be racked with guilt over anything.

Doesn’t the Bible, after all, teach us to lay down our burdens? Wouldn’t guilt so crippling it becomes unbearable be a burden we are told we don’t have to carry?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

– Matthew 11:28

As far as being “guilty of the worst murder in history because of their supposed sins” goes [emphasis added because the word “supposed” calls the Christian truth that we are all sinners into question]. Is it logical for people to feel guilty for a murder no man has/had the power to commit anyway?

Wasnt Jesus’ death an act of the Son’s submissive obedience to the Father’s will? Wasn’t Jesus Himself in absolute control? Was His life taken against His will or did He lay it down? ( John 10:17)

Do not think for a moment that anyone could kill Jesus against His will. The divine plan could never be short-circuited by human or satanic plots.

Jesus even told Pilate, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above” (John 19:11). Mobs tried to murder Jesus. They once sought to hurl Him off a cliff (Luke 4:29) and repeatedly attempted to stone Him (John 8:59; John 10:31). Again and again He simply (and supernaturally) passed through their midst because His time had not yet come (cf. John 7:30; John 8:20).

When the hour of Jesus’ death finally did come, He knew it (Matthew 26:18). Fully comprehending all it would entail in terms of the pain and agony of bearing the punishment for sinners, He nevertheless submitted Himself willingly.

John 18:4 says when the soldiers came to arrest Him in the Garden of Gethsemane, “Jesus therefore, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth, and said to them ‘Whom do you seek?'” He willingly surrendered Himself to them. That was His hour, the time foreordained by God.
John 19:30 says, “When Jesus therefore had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!'” The Greek expression is only one word-tetelestai. It was not the groan or curse of a victim; it was the proclamation of a victor. It was a shout of triumph: “IT IS FINISHED!”

The work of redemption was done. He did all that the law required and perfectly accomplished all that the Father had given Him to do. He made full atonement for sins-everything was done; nothing was left. The ransom was settled. The wages of sin were paid. Divine justice was satisfied. The work of Christ was fully accomplished. The Lamb of God had taken away the sins of the world (John 1:29). There was nothing more on earth for Him to do except die so that He might rise again.

Having finished His work, the Lord “bowed His head, and gave up His spirit” (John 19:30). There was no jerk, no sudden slump. He bowed His head. The Greek word evokes the picture of gently placing one’s head on a pillow.

In the truest sense, no man took Jesus’ life from Him-He laid it down of His own accord (cf. John 10:17). He simply and quietly yielded up His spirit, commending Himself into the Father’s hands (Luke 23:46).

Only the omnipotent God who is Lord of all could do that. Death could not claim Jesus apart from His own will. He died in complete control of all that was happening to Him. Even in His death He was the sovereign Lord.

To the human eye Jesus looked like a pathetic casualty [perhaps even a murder victim], powerless in the hands of mighty men. But the very opposite was true.

He was in charge [not a victim], a fact He proved a few days later when He forever shattered the bonds of death by rising from the grave (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Point here is that we, no matter how badly we have sinned and regardless of what we may have been told, did not murder and are not responsible for the death of Jesus. He died for us because He chose to and because He wanted to.

The death of Jesus was a selfless act of unconditional love and something we should be in awe of, not burdened by.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

-Romans 5:8

*This post was inspired by something I read here.



Categories: Apologetics, Christianity

Tags: , , , , , ,

13 replies

  1. Hmmm…I didn’t realize that the website “Patheos” had an atheist channel until I read your post and the link you provided.

    I doubt that the author of that article link was ever truly born again in Christ in the first place. The “guilt” segment of Christendom is usually found in Catholicism. Been there, learned that.

    You are correct that no one “killed” Jesus. He laid His own life down willingly, and then raised it up again to show humanity who He is, how their sins can be forgiven through His perfect shed blood for the remission of sins, and by acceptance of God’s Eternal Son through the power of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we are provided with the mercy, grace and love, that leads us to salvation. The life, death, Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ is the most important event in human history. We either die twice – physically and spiritually with our own sins upon our souls or. we die once physically with Christ as our Redeemer and are thus raised to eternal life through Christ our Lord!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is an interesting entry. To the atheist or the one opposed to the message of The Gospel, I have my knee jerk response. Because I met Jesus I can now live my life as a response to that grace. No, I can’t repay Him for what He did but I can live a life that glorifies Him from the moment of conversion going forward. Guilt would come at the end of all things as the one opposed sees their life was wasted, even though Jesus died for them just the same. That is when true guilt would enter.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I read that article myself first thing this morning and am very glad you responded. Struck me as quite odd, as the idea of guilt over the death of Jesus never entered my mind. It has always been very clear to me that His death was a voluntary one, and an act of submission and sacrifice. It was never murder in the first place. I suppose in the worldly sense it was, but only because it was what God had ordained would occur from eternity past.

    What do I feel over His death? Joy, gratefulness, and overwhelming love come to mind. Not guilt.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Excellent post!

    Consider the presumption in this paragraph.

    I used to sit, silently, in deep meditation, every communion, in deep gratitude for what I thought Jesus did for me. Although I didn’t admit it at the time, it was humiliating to have that gratitude. The trauma of realizing how Jesus suffered crippled my psychology, I think. I don’t think it does this to everyone — but if you really feel, deep inside, what Jesus did for you, profoundly and sincerely…I think your sense of gratitude would also be perpetual and overwhelming. And with every smile and laugh in relief, you’re reminded that the fact you need grace is your fault. (from http://www.patheos.com/blogs/barrierbreaker/this-is-not-your-fault-the-good-news-of-atheism-for-christians/?utm_content=buffera6a1f&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer)

    What a foolish excuse! We are creations of God. If with the best our science can do, we can only see a small part of what He has created. When we are such trifles compared to God, why should we be humiliated that we need His help? We should be honored that He takes any notice of us.

    When I reflect upon Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf, I can think of only one time we should feel shame.

    Hebrews 10:26-31 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a terrifying expectation of judgment and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great points Tom.

      If someone were to read the post I linked to uncritically or with the presupposition that Christianity is awful, it would be easy to think the author deserves sympathy.

      If you really read it and think about it however, it’s just another excuse not to believe.

      Like

  5. I’ll admit that I occasionally get this weird, unexplainable feeling that goes from something akin to guilt to something I can only describe as a mixture of awe and gratitude. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it happens when I’m half asleep for some reason, so I didn’t really have words for it until I read this.

    Liked by 1 person

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