BRP Insight Post for Monday, May 6, 2019
Saturday’s reading of John 19 will be our last reading of the gospel accounts of the crucifixion. I have loved continuing to think and pray after Easter about the incredible sacrifice that Jesus made on our behalf. It still overwhelms me.
Crucifixion was an extremely brutal form of execution in and of itself, but when flogging and beating were added, many did not survive to be crucified. Jesus experienced it all and bore the full brunt of what mankind had to offer.
Herbert Butterfield, a British historian (1900 – 1979) had this to say about the Crucifixion: “The Crucifixion, however else we may interpret it, accuses human nature, accuses all of us in the very things that we think are our righteousness…Our attitude to the Crucifixion must be that of self-identification with the rest of human nature – we must say, “We did it”; and the inability to adopt something of the same attitude in the case of twentieth-century events has caused our phenomenal failure to deal with the problem of evil.” Unless I can look at Jesus’ sacrifice and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that MY sin caused it, I can remain detached from it.
That quote resonated deeply within me because in my sinfulness, I want to think that I’m somehow not complicit in His death. My sins aren’t THAT bad; I wasn’t in the garden with Adam and Eve – “I didn’t eat the apple!”; I wasn’t in the crowd crying, “Crucify Him!” But as Butterfield said, without self-identification with the rest of human nature in this instance of the cross, the door is also open for me to not self-identify with the same human nature that has wrought incredible evil and injustices throughout the ages. Jeremiah sums it up:
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is?” Jeremiah 17:9 (NLT)
To be able to truly repent of my sin and recognize Jesus as the Savior He is, requires me to see my sin as God sees it. Our sin, both individual and corporate, has led to horrific atrocities since Adam and Eve ate that apple in the garden. In recognizing it, lamenting over it, and repentance of it, our salvation is found. Jesus came to make all that’s wrong, right once again.
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
Executive Director of Education and Outreach