It was about two weeks before Christmas in 1996 and my dad was working for a local athletic store in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Just before closing time, several masked armed robbers busted through the door demanding that my dad and his co-worker get down on the ground. As he fell to the ground, he took his wedding ring off and threw it across the ground knowing that it was probably the only thing he would be able to leave the store with. After ransacking the business, one of the robbers placed a gun to my dad’s head and demanded everything. Being in this position would put just about anyone into survival mode and so, my dad and his co-worker complied. He gave them his watch and his wallet. His watch wasn’t of much value, but his wallet had his credit cards and the cash that my parents had planned to use for Christmas gifts and paying bills. After the robbers left, he found his wedding ring and then called the police to have them come out to file a report. I don’t know if the robbers were ever found. At 8 years old, I was only told that there were “bad men who stole everything from the store and my dad”. I vividly remember telling my mom and dad that had I been there at the store that I would have fought back, and those robbers would have been sorry for even thinking of taking what was not theirs.
Many of us tend to think like this. All of us have had moments in our lives where we believe that the outcome would be different if we were there or involved. Have you ever thought about the crucifixion of Jesus and what you would have done there? Would you have been upset? Would you have tried to prevent it? Would you have offered yourself to be crucified instead of Jesus? Would you have shouted “crucify him, crucify him!”? You see, it is easy to make bold claims about something but that doesn’t make your claims true. Our boldness about something is not proof of anything. It can be several different things. It could be pride, stubbornness, or ignorance. We would like to think that our presence at the cross would have changed something, but I think we all know it would not have changed a thing. Additionally, we do not need to go to the extreme and think about what we would have done in the first century. Our lives today tell exactly what we would have done.
Hebrews 10:26-31 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, But a terrifying expectation of judgment and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 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? For we know Him who said, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY.” And again, “THE LORD WILL JUDGE HIS PEOPLE.” It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
When we willfully sin, we are putting Jesus on the cross and crucifying Him. The people stood by watching Jesus, an innocent man, die. He was mocked and spat upon. When we willfully sin, we mock our Lord. When we engage and practice sin, we spit on Him. We are the ones driving the nails into His hands and feet. We cry out that we would prefer to have a murderous thief released, Barabbas, and to crucify Jesus!
Matthew 26:33-35 But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” Peter said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” All the disciples said the same thing too.
Many of us are just like Peter whether we admit it or not. It is our pride that helps us nurture this idea that we would have been there for Christ. We would have been comforting Him. However, if we are willfully sinning, then our claims are simply not true. If we are not willing to give up the sin in our lives, then we are the ones who shunned Jesus.
Matthew 26:69-75 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.” Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.
Peter, a beloved apostle of Jesus, denied Him three times. We have no need to go around trying to prove anything to anyone. The fact of the matter is this, we would have responded the same way as many of them did on the day that Jesus suffered and died.
Romans 5:6-8 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
The death of Christ is how we are reconciled back to God. We do not need to try to be superheroes in our lives to benefit from His death. We need to humbly submit ourselves to God. We do this through believing, trusting, and obeying. Will there be times that we fail? Absolutely, but we serve a gracious, loving God. We need to think about Jesus and what He has done for us every day of our lives.
by Lee Elkins