by David Groendyk
One of the major themes in this chapter is injustice. We can categorically state that there has never been a bigger or crueler injustice than the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. One of the songs we’ve been singing (or recommending to sing) in our Holy Week services is “Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery”. In that song there’s a line: “Come behold the wondrous mystery—slain by death the God of life.” Think of how much injustice we sing about in that line alone. How unfair that the God who created all life should die. How unfair that the perfect Son of God, the only human being ever who never sinned, should be condemned; how unfair that the perfect Son of God, the only human being ever who truly came in a 100% unselfish manner to help all of humanity, should be killed by those he came to save. Christ was betrayed by one of his closest followers, arrested by the religious leaders of his day, put through a kangaroo court trial, and abandoned when the one man who could help him (Pilate) turned his back on him. What’s even more, the Father must turn his face away from his own Son.
And all of this injustice that Jesus endures is for you. Because this was the only way to save sinners. As Pastor Mark wrote yesterday, as Jesus endures all of this, he doesn’t have a “me first” attitude. Instead, Jesus looks to the joy that was set before him, remembers how much he loves his people, and he resolutely takes all the shame, injustice, and hell of the cross (Heb. 12:2). He did that for you. Not just a generic group of people whom God chose to save, but you, individually and personally. Let that sink in. Meditate on it. He endures all of this for you. How loved are you!
And this act love just grows in its intensity when we remember that it is we who put him on the cross. Notice the sheer number of people who torture and condemn Jesus. All the chief priests and the elders (v. 1), Judas, his own disciple (v. 3), the crowds (v. 23), Pilate (v. 24), 600 soldiers (v. 27), all who passed by the cross (v. 39), the chief priests, scribes, and elders again (v. 41), and the two robbers (v. 44). No one came to his defense. So, here is a warning: “Let anyone who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12). Except for the grace of God that changes dead hearts for live ones, we all would be shouting “Crucify him!” too. In fact, that’s exactly what we did before God broke into our lives and gave us new life. It is only by God’s mercy and steadfast love that we have received this Christ and trusted in him.