Christ cross

DON DAVIS: Living on which side of the cross | faith and values

Years ago I heard a sermon from the Bible verse Matthew 27:22, where Pontius Pilate asked people, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” The Bible says they answered, “Crucify him!” To the astonishment of the majority present at the service, the minister said: “If I had been there, I too would have said: ‘Crucify him.’ to think that we would have defended Jesus and even died with him if necessary. Nevertheless, we have to admit that most of us would probably have followed the crowd and chanted, “Crucify him!”

Moments later, the speaker clarified his statement by saying that if Jesus had not been crucified, no one would have had the chance to have eternal life. He was right—if Jesus had not been crucified, thus paying the price for our sins, we would have no hope of eternal life.

After hearing his rationale, I figured the answer to such a “what if” has to do with which side of the cross we are looking at. If we had been with these people who were mainly Jewish, we would probably have accompanied the religious leaders and the crowd. Without a doubt, we would have played a major role in the verdict, had we not known what we were doing. We know that the disciples who lived with him for three years were not fully convinced of the true identity of Christ until after the resurrection. Therefore, why should we think that we would have immediately believed and defended Jesus?

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Those who lived on the other side of the cross had no proof of death, burial and resurrection. Jesus had told his disciples what was going to happen, but “seeing is believing”. What the disciple Peter became after Jesus’ resurrection is proof that the cross made a difference in his life and that he ultimately died holding up the banner of Christ. Thomas wouldn’t believe until he saw Jesus’ nail-scarred hands and pierced side, but after that day he became a mighty warrior for Christ.

A young man was asked why he was so dogmatic about his belief in Jesus. His response was, “You can afford to be dogmatic when you know you’re right. Christians should not be arrogant or argumentative about their beliefs. However, our testimony should be the same as that of Paul when he wrote to Timothy: “For I know in whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that he can keep what I have entrusted to him to this day. . (II Tim. 1:12b.NKJV).

Living on this side of the cross, knowing what we are doing now, there is no reason to doubt. The record is clear – whether we said, “Crucify him” or not doesn’t matter. Jesus forgave those who sang these words out of ignorance and still forgives us for the sins that put him on the cross. Our goal should be to live for him because he died for us.