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.”
*This post was inspired by something I read here.