If you have ever seen Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ you have had a wonderful glimpse into just how much God really loves you and how much He suffered to save you. The truth of the matter is that what you have witnessed is only the tip of the iceberg in regard to how much Jesus really suffered. If you assumed that the movie may have over dramatized how much Christ actually suffered for your sins, think again! There were many terrible things that Jesus suffered that The Passion of the Christ did not show you.
While almost every other movie from Hollywood over dramatizes reality with special effects and embellishes story lines to keep an audiences attention, The Passion of the Christ, as incredible as it was, actually down played the extent of Christ’s suffering. Mel Gibson acknowledged that, “it was actually more violent than what your going to see in this film…[His suffering was so intense] you couldn’t even recognize him as a human being. That’s how bad it was.” Gibson stated that if he were to show the sheer violence of what Christ experienced the movie would have had to be rated X. The bible tells us that Jesus was brutally beaten far beyond that of any man. God’s Word tells us that, “they blindfolded him and beat Him in the face with their fists. ‘Who hit you that time, you prophet?’ they jeered. And even the guards were hitting him as they led him away” (Mark 14:65). Sadly, Jesus’ beard was viciously ripped from his face. Jesus stated, “I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting” (Isaiah 50:6). Jesus’ face was a mangled mess and his body far more deformed from his beatings than The Passion of the Christ was able to portray. In fact God’s Word tells us through the Old Testament prophet Isaiah that when Jesus was put to death,
“Many were horrified when they saw him–beaten and bloodied, his face was disfigured beyond that of any man and his form marred beyond human likeness” (Isaiah 52:14). Crucifixion was designed to inflict the severest of torture upon the victim. Christ’s raw lacerations were exposed to the elements and the burning sun. If you are wondering how much God loves you or if God loves you at all, you need not look any farther than the cross. Though He was innocent and without sin He went to the cross to pay the price of your sins out of a love that is truly out of this world. Even though you have ignored God in your life and thumbed your nose at His Word, you should know that in spite of your sin God radically loves you. God’s Word tells us, “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us” (1 John 3:16).
Many have sought to divert us from the question “Why did Jesus die?” and are asking instead, “Who killed Jesus?” Yet when we truly consider the question, “who really killed Jesus?” we end up finding the answer as to why Jesus died. You see the truth of the matter is that you and I killed Jesus. The reason Jesus died on the cross is due to the severity of our sins. Our sins nailed Jesus to the cross. You see God is a righteous God. Since God is righteous He must deal justly with humanity for their criminal acts against His holy law. God’s justice demanded that we pay the just penalty for our sinful acts in hell for eternity. Yet the one true God is not only holy and just but we are also told in God’s word “God is love” (1John 4:16). Although God would be perfectly justified in sending each and every one of us to hell forever, in His great love He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 2:4). God in His unfathomable love chose to pay the penalty of our sins on the cross. It was your sins and mine that nailed Jesus to the cross. Isaiah the Jewish prophet wrote:
“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to His own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:5-6).
One of the many indisputable reasons that we know the bible is the Word of God is because of the hundreds of fulfilled prophecies like the one quoted above. Jesus fulfilled more than 300 Old Testament prophecies in His first coming alone! Notice that according to Isaiah more than mere men were involved in killing Jesus. Isaiah stated, “The Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). You may not have known this but even though we are all responsible for Christ’s death, the bible actually teaches that God killed Jesus.
God Killed Jesus!
The accurate answer to the question “Who killed Jesus?” is comprehensive. In fact the bible states that even though wicked men crucified Jesus, it was God’s plan all along. God through His foreknowledge used the hate and ignorance of rebellious human beings to sacrifice His Son to save those same wicked human beings who crucified Him. It was God’s plan before the creation of the world that He would die for the sins of the world. He knew humanity would fall into sin and by His “predetermined plan and foreknowledge” decided to send Jesus to die for you and me. God’s Word declares:
“[Jesus who was] delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death…For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur” (Acts 2:23; 4:27-28).
Christ’s death was a great blunder for mankind but from God’s perspective it was in accordance with the divine blueprint. Because God became a man He was able to pay the huge penalty that it would have taken us all of eternity to compensate in hell. God’s Word actually tells us that God killed His Son because the penalty of sin is death. Isaiah spoke of how God Himself would crush His son:
“But THE LORD WAS PLEASED TO CRUSH HIM, putting Him to grief…My Servant, will justify the many, as He will bear their iniquities. Because He poured out Himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, and interceded for the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:10-12).
This brings us back to the fact that God’s love is so much more amazing than even such an incredible movie as The Passion of the Christ could dramatize. This is because what you witnessed in The Passion of the Christ only really captured some of Jesus’ sufferings at the hands of men. Far beyond the horrible pain that Jesus experienced at the hands of wicked men, Jesus experienced the unfathomable and unbearable pain of the collective wrath that the whole world deserves. God’s holy law stated that every single sin had to be atoned for. When God crushed His Son He poured out upon Him all of the wrath that every single human being deserves to suffer in hell for eternity. You say how is that possible? Jesus said, “all things are possible with God” (Matt. 19:26). Only God could suffer such a penalty and that is why God in the person of Jesus Christ became a man. God’s Word tells us that “no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth” was “found who was worthy” to accomplish the great feat of human redemption. The Lord Jesus Christ alone was able to “purchase men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” by His “blood” (Revelation 5:3-9). No man or angel could pay our sin debt. Even if there was a perfect man (and there is not) he could only pay for the sins of one other person and would have to spend eternity in the lake of fire to do it. Only God Himself by becoming a man could pay the penalty of all our sins. Since Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, He alone could pay the infinite penalty we deserve to pay in hell forever. You see even though Christ suffered in a finite amount of time, His suffering was infinite in the sense that His nature is infinite. The infinite suffering that we deserve as finite beings could be paid in a finite amount of time by God because He is an infinite being. Since Christ’s suffering for sin was infinite in its nature it was not only sufficient suffering for all time but for all people. The Father confirmed to Jesus that the only way we could be saved is if He drank the cup of just compensation that we deserve and died for our sins. No one else could pay the price. Not Muhammad; not Buddha; not Mahatma Gandhi nor any other religious leader could pay the high price for our salvation. When asked how one gets to heaven, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
When Jesus pleaded with the Father in the garden of Gethsemane “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will” (Matthew 26:39). Jesus did not fear the physical torment and brutality that He would suffer at the hands of men so much as He was overwhelmed at the thought of drinking the cup of His Father’s wrath. He was speaking of the cup of the Father’s cumulative wrath that the whole world deserved to suffer in hell. Jesus would have to experience the wrath deserved by the collective guilt of the entire human race including the sins of Adolph Hitler, Mao, Stalin, etc. God’s Word states emphatically that Jesus, “tasted death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9). Christ’s suffering far exceeds anything we can truly comprehend. When you read the terrifying descriptions of God’s cup of wrath that you and I deserve, you begin to appreciate just how much Christ suffered in your place. We read in the book of revelation of:
“God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of His wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises forever and ever. There is no rest day or night….” (Revelation 14:9-12).
Jesus Killed Jesus!
Even before Jesus went to the cross we are told that He pleaded with the Father “with strong crying and tears” (Heb. 5:7). In the gospel of Luke (who was a physician) we are told that in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus underwent hematidrosis. We are told that He was so overwhelmed with despair at the thought of drinking the cup of wrath that the capillaries underneath the surface of His skin burst and blood oozed out of His sweat glands and fell to the ground. Forensic scientists have only been able to confirm just over a hundred cases of hematidrosis in human history. When Jesus suffered on the cross He drank God’s cup of wrath to the very last dreg. While Jesus was on the cross the sky turned black and the earth shook as God the Father poured out His wrath upon His Son to save your soul! When the black darkness of hell that we deserve covered God’s Son something extraordinarily sad took place. God poured out His wrath on Jesus and in some mysterious way He turned His back on His Son:
“From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour Jesus cried out…’My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45-46).
As a result of suffering the penalty that billions of people deserve, He cried out with a sense of alienation that only those lost souls writhing in hell could begin to comprehend. Simply multiply the torment of one soul in hell by billions and you begin to see the picture of what Jesus went through to save you. He was forsaken so that you could be accepted!
The cross of Christ tells us two very important things about God’s justice and love. First it tells us how much God hates sin. God is just and must punish sin and it was on the cross that we see the severity and consequences of breaking God’s holy law. The second thing it tells us is how incredibly much God loves us! Rather than sending us to hell forever, which God would have been perfectly justified in doing, in His great love God desired to save us and thus became a man and bore the penalty we all deserve! There is not a greater love story in the history of the universe!
While it is true that men killed Jesus with their hands and their sins, and that God killed Jesus with His wrath, it is also true that in a very real sense Jesus killed Jesus. Jesus said:
“I lay down my life for the sheep…The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father” (John 10:15, 17-18).
Jesus declared that He could have called 72 thousand angels to rescue Him but in His great love He chose to bear the penalty of your sins instead. Some may wrongly conclude that Jesus committed suicide. The truth of the matter is that Jesus no more committed suicide than a man who jumps in front of a gun to save his wife from being killed commits suicide. Jesus stepped in front of the just and holy wrath of God to keep you out of hell!
Now that you have witnessed God’s truth Satan will seek to keep you from the gift of eternal life that Jesus Christ purchased for you through His sufferings on the cross. Even as Satan tried to keep Jesus from completing His mission, Satan will seek to keep you from acting upon the good news of eternal life through faith in Christ. Jesus warned that there are those “who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved” and that there are those who “believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away” (Luke 8:12-14).
Dear friend, make sure that you do not allow the incredibly Good News you just witnessed in The Passion of the Christ to be snatched from your heart as you return to your daily life. Without Jesus Christ in your life you are a lost soul. You are on a greased pole to hell. Jesus warned that you are either for Christ or an antichrist; He leaves you no middle ground. Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Matthew 12:30). If you do not respond to God’s call on your life and turn to Christ the bible states that you will miss out on heaven and end up going to hell where you will experience the terrifying torment of weeping and gnashing of teeth in unquenchable fire without rest day and night forever and ever. However, because of Christ’s death you don’t have to pay for your sins in hell. Jesus promised:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son” (John 3:16-8).
Jesus experienced the horrible death on the cross that you deserve so you can experience the abundant life in eternity that only He deserves. Salvation is a free gift that Jesus purchased for you on the cross, but you must accept the gift by receiving Him into your life. The bible says that “as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name” (John 1:12). God’s Word states that He has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked” and that God is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” and that He “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (Ezekiel 33:11; 2 Peter 3:9 and 2 Tim. 2:4-6). If you end up rejecting Christ and going to hell the bible says that you will be “without excuse” (Romans 1:18-26).
Jesus only asks that you turn to Him in repentant faith and receive the free gift. That means that you do a 180 and turn from the broad road which leads to hell and turn to the narrow road that leads to life. Jesus warned:
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
God’s Word states, “Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). The Lord is waiting for you to answer His call upon your life. Simply ask Him to forgive you of your sins and begin following Him in faith now. He will save you and give you the power to live a life that glorifies Him. Begin reading God’s love letter to you, the Bible. Find a good Bible based church that teaches God’s truth without compromise. If you have turned to the Lord we welcome you into God’s family. You can choose to accept Christ’s punishment for your sin on the cross or you can choose to pay the penalty yourself in hell forever. I leave you with a poem that I was inspired to write when contemplating the question “who killed Jesus?”
Who killed Jesus?
“Who killed Jesus?” is the profound question asked of late Many say it was the Jews, who sealed his fate
Others say, “No, it was the Romans, don’t you understand? It was Pilate who sought to wash his blood stained hands”
Others say, “No, it was to bear our sin that He bled So it is your hands and mine, that drip blood red”
While all these answers some truth contain There is another answer that is just so plain
He said, “I lay my life down of my own accord” The dying world His blood alone could afford
In God’s foreknowledge it was preordained That the Lamb of God would for us be slain
Next time you point your finger and you place the blame Consider that God’s love is the reason that Christ came
When all is said and when all is done It was God in His love who crushed His Son (Isaiah 53:10)
Pastor Joe Schimmel
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