Who Killed Jesus?

(Written on the Thursday before Easter, 2010)

My heart is burdened tonight with the overwhelming love and devotion that Jesus has for us. I pray you will read on and take a moment to reflect on the importance of this week. While there are differences in beliefs as to exactly what happened on which day of the week, I’m asking you to look beyond those details to the greatest love story ever told… the story of the One who laid His life down for you. I don’t want you to think of Jesus in terms of “He died for the sins of the world,” I want you to read this and think in terms of “He died for YOUR sins.” Make it personal… because it is.

Scholars estimate that over 2000 years ago tonight (Thursday), Jesus began to drink from the cup that He wished could pass from Him…..

The gospel accounts tell us that Jesus had just finished the Last Supper with His disciples. (Today we call this the Lord’s Supper or Communion. He was sharing with them the bread and the wine and telling them the symbolism to his body and blood.) He then washed their feet and told them that His appointed time was near. They were very confused and unsure of what He meant by all of this. And then He told them that one of them would betray Him. Just imagine yourself in Jesus’ shoes… you’re sitting and having this meal with 12 of your closest friends, yet you know that one is about to betray you and bring you great suffering. Even so, you wash his feet and serve him…

Late in the evening they go to the garden of Gethsemane and Jesus asks them to pray with him. While He prays, they fall asleep. And at the same time His once devoted follower, Judas Iscariot, (who just shared a meal with Him and had his feet washed by Him) is in the process of leading the Pharisee’s to arrest Him, in exchange for 30 pieces of silver.

He [Jesus] withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.  And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Luke 22:41-44

Suddenly they were there to arrest Jesus. Judas Iscariot had led them to him. The gospels tell us that Peter jumped up and pulled out his sword, cutting off the ear of one of the arresting soldiers. But Jesus stopped him… (and healed the guys ear by the way!)

Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into the sheath. Shall I not drink the cup which My Father has given Me?” John 18:11

Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” Matt 26:53-54

NOTHING was going to stop Jesus from fulfilling the will of His Father! NOTHING! Remember, Jesus is God. He had the power to stop it all at any moment. But He didn’t. Why not? Hebrews 12:2 tells us that it was for the JOY set before Him… and that JOY was YOU. He knew that without a Savior you would be eternally separated from the Father. You would experience eternal damnation to the pit of hell. He HAD to shed the blood necessary to atone for your sins… YOU are the JOY set before Him!

So the next day, now known as GOOD FRIDAY (good for us, not so good for Jesus), He proceeded on His journey to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull.

Everything was coming against Him.
Peter, James and John had just fallen asleep after He asked them to pray.
Judas had betrayed Him for 30 pieces of silver.
Simon Peter would deny even knowing Him three times!

Throughout the wee morning hours and into the (Good Fri) day…

His enemies would beat Him, whip Him and scourge Him.
His enemies would mock Him.
His enemies would lie about Him.

He had every opportunity to turn away.
He had every opportunity to do His own will.
But…for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross and was crucified….

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last. Luke 23:46

Then they buried Him in the tomb. The disciples weren’t sure what to make of this. How could this be? They believed He had come to be their Savior and King, yet it appeared He had been defeated.

But on the third day, He rose from the grave! Jesus appeared before them and said:

“This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Luke 24:44

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”  Luke 24:45-49

And soon He ascended into Heaven to the right hand of the Father. Because of the blood that He shed, death was conquered forever just as He said it would be!  Fifty days after his crucifixion, on the Day of Pentecost, He sent the Holy Spirit as promised to lead us, guide, comfort us, teach us and remind us of all we need to know.

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  John 14:25-26

Interestingly enough, I had to go to church every Sunday as a child. But never once did anyone explain to me that I needed a Savior. Sure, I heard about Jesus. But He was nothing more that some religious figure. He certainly had no bearing on my life day to day. I personally thought that all those people who went to church just needed to get a life! What was the point, I wondered? I certainly couldn’t see one.

Then one day… January 31, 1999 I heard the story. That Adam and Eve sinned in the garden of Eden and all of mankind from that point on was born with a sinful nature. A sinful nature means that you are separated from God.  And I don’t care who you are… if you haven’t invited Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Savior to forgive your sins, you are still separated from God.

Being a good person or living a nice life won’t reconnect you to God. And if you’re separated from God, you will not go to Heaven when you die. Children who are not old enough to understand and make a personal decision will go to Heaven. But once you are able to decide for yourself, you must acknowledge His love, His grace and His forgiveness of your sins and receive this in your life. And while sin entered the world in one garden, you must acknowledge what happened in another garden… Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus sealed His commitment to the Father’s will to save your soul… where they arrested Him and He began His journey to the Place of the Skull. There must be a moment of surrender in your heart where you truly acknowledge Him as Lord. This is the only way to no longer be separated from God.

This is why Jesus had to endure the pain He endured! It was the ONLY way! And remember… it IS personal. He did this for YOU. God may be pulling at your heart right now as you are reading this… He may be saying… “I love you, I died for you, I long to be part of your life and no longer be separated from you.” It doesn’t matter where you’ve been or what you’ve done. He loves because He loves you. Not because of your performance. (In fact the majority of the New Testament was written by someone who used to murder Christians!)

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.  John 3:16

…if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Rom 10:9

Put your trust in Him today. Here’s how: http://www.maryloveslife.org/A-Gift-for-You.html

No one killed Jesus. He laid down His life for YOU.

Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13

He loves you more than anyone else ever will (or can.)

Happy Resurrection Day…. truly the most important day of all.

PS) The enemy will use people to try and stop God’s plan for your life, and he may make things difficult for a season. But God will allow certain things to bring Himself glory in the end. Learn from Jesus to say “Forgive them Father for they don’t know what they’re doing (or what they’ve done)”  Keep pressing on for the JOY set before you…. the fulfillment of God’s will in your life and God getting the glory!

About Mary L'Esperance Held

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