WHY THE CROSS?

Responsibility for the death of Jesus Christ is attributed to a number of causes –

the weakness of Pilate
the hatred of the Jewish religious leaders
the duplicity of the crowds
the betrayal of Judas

Some might even blame what they would see as the naivety of Jesus himself.

But over and above all human responsibility and involvement in this death is the grand, over-riding, eternal purpose of God.

This death is no accident.
This death is no mistake.
This death is not the result of the weakness of men.
This death is not the result of any political and practical simplicity of Jesus.

It was for this death that Jesus came [Mark 10:45; John 12:27-32].
It was towards this death that he deliberately moved [Luke 9:51].
It was this death to which he looked forward as the culmination and climax of the divine purpose [Luke 22:15-20].
It was this death to which he was inexorably committed [Matthew 16:21-23; 26:36-42].

It was Jesus who was in active and determined control here – not Pilate, not the crowds, not the leaders of the Jews, not Judas [Matthew 26:52; John 19:8-11; John 10:14-18] as he moved toward the implementation of God’s eternal plan.

Thus the Scripture calls him ‘the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world’ [Revelation 13:8], and speaks of God’s ‘eternal purpose which he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord’ [Ephesians 3:11], and affirms that ‘this grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Saviour, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.’ [2Timothy 1:9-10].

Here in this cross, this death, the sovereign God works his mighty work of grace, establishing in this time/space event that which has always been an eternal reality, which was depicted in prophetic word and prophetic symbol throughout the Scriptures. Thus Jesus said: ‘”How foolish you are, and how slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Christ have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scripture concerning himself.’ [Luke 24:25-27] ‘This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day …’ [Luke 24:46]

Who is responsible for this cross?

God is.

God, out of his amazing love and grace, deliberately planned and implemented this cross, deliberately sent his Son to die as an atoning sacrifice for our sins [1John 4:10].

© Rosemary Bardsley 2010