Who Killed Jesus

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As the celebration of Easter and the resurrection of Jesus draws near my thoughts are turned towards those three days that changed history and eternity for everyone.
The events leading up to the crucifixion deserve our attention and there is much to be gained by understanding the motive and agenda of everyone involved that led to that hill on Calvary on the day of Passover.

Who killed Jesus?

There are many characters who walk across the stage of this event planned and directed by God before time began. But there are two groups and two individuals who are the primary suspects as we seek to understand who killed Jesus.

Greed, religion, and politics have caused more death and upheaval in this world  from that time to now. In the events leading up to His death we find all three present with our suspects.

Suspect #1
Judas was motivated by greed. He was the one to protest Mary’s use of expensive perfume to bathe Jesus feet and  John provides the additional detail that Judas helped himself to the money bag that he was in charge of as Jesus’s treasurer. (John 12:6)
Judas possibly also had a political motive expecting Jesus to use his power and miracles to overthrow the hated Roman government.

Suspect #2
The religious order the scribes the Pharisees the Sadducees certainly had a political and religious motive. Jesus was basically exposing them for who they were and in the process showing them up with real power and authority.
It is noteworthy that Herod who felt threatened by the king he had been told would soon be born went to the scribes to inquire as to where this promised king would be born. Searching Old Testament prophecies they found it would be Bethlehem. When the prophecy was fulfilled along with many other prophecies the scribes would surely be familiar with how could they have missed Jesus as the expected Messiah?

Suspect #3
Pilate had political motive to allow the death of Jesus although he did not at first go along with it.
He found Jesus guilty of no crime and even after being warned by his wife to have nothing to do with this
“innocent man” caved to the pressure brought by the religious order fearing reprecussions from his bosses if he couldn’t keep things under control.

Suspects #4
This group had more reason to be suspects than any of the others.
Because they were the reason Jesus said He came to die.

Who killed Jesus?
You and I.
Whether we leave him on the cross and write it off as a fable a myth or failed experiment, or celebrate Him risen from the dead His purpose for coming cannot be denied.

He came to die.

Willingly laying down His life for you and I.
Judas had a part in it, the religious order had a part, as did Pilate but in the end it was you and I. And everyone who has lived and died since the garden.
There are lessons and hope in this story. The lesson is no matter where you are or what you have done you can change your mind, change direction.
Judas could have,
The religious leaders could have (some did),
Pilate could have. The consequences of rejecting Jesus were severe.

Judas hung himself.
The beautiful temple revered by the Pharisees was reduced to rubble. Just as Jesus predicted it would be.
A few years later Pilate was relieved of his duties, transferred into oblivion, sent away in disgrace.

The hope- When we ask “who killed Jesus?” The answer is all of us. But in this story Jesus was no victim, and the perpetrators have a chance for full pardon and the opportunity to receive everything Jesus died for.
Forgiveness
Restoration
Grace
Love
Eternal life.

What We Can Do

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   The state of New York passed abortion legislation on January 22nd, 2019 legalizing  abortion up to 9 months gestation. Ironically, this date also marks the 45th anniversary of Roe v Wade. Social media is in full attack mode…

      I have read many conversations, most of which would not pass for conversation but instead people on both sides of the issue yelling at each other through social media. This issue is deeply personal for some and deeply emotional for most, and one post I read on Facebook summed up what I think many probably feel: pro-choice individuals feel like pro-life individuals  couldn’t care less about women who have been raped or face the choice of carrying a baby full term that will have little or no chance of any quality of life, and pro-life individuals believe that it is the agenda of pro-choice individuals to, simply put, murder babies.

       I think that neither of these statements represent what most people think about this issue. While there are always extremes on either side pro-choice or pro-life, I believe people on one side struggle with deciding if it’s okay to end the life of a child, and people on the other side care about the mother who faces a difficult, devastating decision.

I am pro-life.

I believe that all life is precious.

     However, if I care about the mom who faces a difficult choice or has perhaps made a choice that would not align with what I believe to be right, I think that’s where I and everyone else who feels strongly about the right for a child to see life, can ask the question “what can I do?” The next question should be “what can we do, if we believe that these little ones are precious and should be protected?” How do we we speak as scripture instructs for those “who cannot speak for themselves”?

        Maybe we begin by showing compassion.

1 Corinthians 13 tells us that even if we speak with the language of men and angels or (my emphasis added) we are sure that we represent the right view, if we do not do it with love we are just making noise. I believe there are several areas where we have the opportunity to show compassion.

When we as Christians (followers of Christ) are the loudest voice in the room (or Facebook), announcing our convictions to whoever may be listening, is our conversation guided by compassion? When we speak through a variety of medias to let everyone know what we think, do we really know who our audience is?

Possibly, it’s someone who is pregnant due to a variety of circumstances, maybe by choice, maybe not…

                        Possibly, it’s someone who is in conflict over what to do…

 Possibly, it’s someone who has received the news that their baby has medical conditions that will make a normal quality of life impossible .

Possibly, it is someone who has already had an abortion, devastated by the choices that they made, whatever the reason.

 

If it were you in any of these situations, who would you want to confide in and discuss your situation with? Is it the person who shouts the loudest that you are wrong and possibly bound for hell because of your choices? Is it the person who can back up their thoughts with chapter and verse, but offer little in the way of understanding and grace? (See John 8:1-11) Or is it the people who support your decision and are willing to go to the mat to defend it? Sadly as people who have received much grace and forgiveness we often find ourselves in the seat of the first two scenarios. And leave support to those are the other side.

I am not defending abortion.

As I stated earlier, I am pro-life. But in one of the biggest issues of our time really for the last 45 years I believe that this issue should be approached with the same grace and love that we have all been extended for our shortcomings.

What can we do?

Compassion is the most important but there are practical things as well.

1. Whether it be your daughter, a friend, or someone you don’t even know, be that person they can confide in. We live in a sexually-charged culture. Hooking up is a big part of our social scene regardless of age. Pregnancies are often not intended but they happen. We the followers of Christ need to be the ones that people feel comfortable talking to when that happens.

2. Get involved. Do you know where the local Pregnancy Care Centers are? People have been quick to picket Planned Parenthood, but are you just as willing to volunteer and support your local alternatives to Planned Parenthood? Are you willing to get involved in youth groups or  young adult groups in any forum where you have the opportunity to listen and to help?

3. Adopt – if you are in a place where you can do it. If you can’t, become a foster parent. Many young women elect to carry their children to conception but find themselves unable to care for them once the baby is born. There are many groups that advocate and prepare you for adoption or foster care.

4. Pray. Pray for your pastors and church leaders that they would have the courage to speak up in a way that is welcoming and not condemning to those who may be considering abortion or who have already had one. There is no sin that is beyond forgiveness. Pray for leaders in our nation that would be willing to stand for the rights of the unborn and not be swayed by opinion or votes.

And finally, remember everyone is precious and loved even those you don’t agree with. We cannot cease to fight for the life of these little ones. But if want a voice to speak we have to do things differently.

Your opinion may be right, but does it make a difference?

emoji by the Babylon Bee. Great Christian satire.

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