A Point of View

Finally Pilate handed Him over to them to be crucified.

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus.  Carrying His own cross, He went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).  Here they crucified Him, and with Him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.  John 19:16-18

John isn’t trying to write the complete account of Jesus in his gospel.  He has a definite purpose and point to his version of these things.  One of them is testifying to what he’s seen and heard personally.  The other, of course, is to emphasize certain aspects of Jesus’ character, teaching and mission.

Pilate finally gave into the pressure, though he doesn’t exit the story just yet.  John makes a point of telling us Jesus carried His own cross, which means it’s significant in some way.  I don’t know whether or not other condemned criminals carried theirs or not or if John was simply giving us details of the abuse.  In the other accounts we learn why this was an important point of information:  Jesus was so weakened after the various beatings He’d received He collapsed and someone else ended up carrying it for Him.

The plan of salvation called for Jesus to be abused and die at the hands of sinful men.  The plan, which He and the Father made before the foundations of the earth were even laid, predicted this outcome.

Why?

For two main reasons (probably more), I believe:

1)  Save humanity.  A point everyone knows.

2)  To show how far sin will drive people into insane behavior.

Make no mistake about it, killing God is insanity, for to destroy the source of all life is to destroy all life itself.

Pilate handed over a man he believed was innocent to maintain political peace.  For the sake of preserving their traditions the Jewish leaders first attempted to discredit Jesus, when that didn’t work they plotted to kill not only Him but any evidence of His power.  Lazarus didn’t die a martyr’s death, as far as we know, but the Jewish leaders sure wanted to include him.  Even the soldiers’ abuse went outside the boundaries of sane punishment to sadistic pleasure in the helplessness of another—or did you forget the crown of thorns, purple robe and reed as a scepter?

Their behavior steps outside the bounds of sanity.  Yet we shouldn’t be so surprised by this since the world is full of illustrations which depict man’s inhumanity to his fellow man.  Jesus’ presence on earth “unearthed” another truth which should come clear in the telling His story:  without God present in both the physical and at the center of human thought humanity will go insane.  Killing another person for a piece of bread is sometimes a byproduct of the circumstances humans find themselves in, but the need to do so grows out of the insanity of either wasting God’s creation or a few hording the resources to the exclusion of the many.  Coveting, murder, lust (not just sexual but the overwhelming desire for something not ours) and theft come as direct results of subtracting God from the center of our thoughts and company.

Jesus lived among us to demonstrate what the kingdom of God would look like even in a sinful world.  He showed us through His daily routine and ministry what the sum of life should equal.

And we murdered Him for it.

I don’t know about you, but I hate to be confronted with my failures or the wrongs I do.  My sense of self is already teetering on the brink of disaster—not due to a lack of self-preservation, mind you—from the knowledge of my lack of righteousness.  Even if I’m not an abnormally evil person (which I’m not to my best reckoning), I still know I don’t measure up.  Some people don’t have as much trouble with this as I do, I’m sure, for they look at their pleasures and gray areas of behavior as either par for course or rewards for being good 98% of the time.  I can’t excuse my sin, though I still want to, which usually means defensiveness in the form of denial, belligerence or outright smoke screening/throwing someone’s faults in their face.  Some even ask,  “If God doesn’t want me to be like this, why did He make me this way?” forgetting the degradation of sin and the law of entropy in the process.

Jesus’ example of purity and teaching God’s demand for us to be so as well flies in the face of our self-justification and side stepping reality.  We all know failure to the point of searching for a reason for it.  Mom used to say,  “If you could find a good reason for sin, you could excuse it.”  meaning, of course, she didn’t think there was one.

Pilate gave in to the mob for whatever reasons he had but none of them were good enough and a direct result of a broken down mentality caused by sin’s influence.  The priests and rulers despised Jesus not for His purity but because that purity exposed their own selfish ambition and lust.  They wanted Him dead so no one would see beneath their facade of righteousness—and because they hated the competition for the hearts and minds of the populace.  They did these things because of sin.

Quick definition:  Sin is denying God His rightful place in our lives and thoughts.

The result of sin is the evil deeds we do.  The piece of fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil wasn’t poisonous but a symbol of the broken relationship between God and humanity.  We chose to manage our own destiny; the world we know is the result.  Jesus’ betrayal, trial, treatment at the hands of sinful man and subsequent death displayed what sin will do to a heart not regenerated by the Spirit of God.

John knew his audience which is why he included the two thieves on either side of Christ.  He included the political wisdom of the day as killing his Master.  He showed what religion with God to interpret or direct it will do.  In the end humans without Jesus are lost to their own devices and the end of these is death.

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One Response to “A Point of View”

  1. tlc4women Says:

    Your mom was wise!

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