March 30 2015
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
This is the sixth blog dealing with Questions Concerning The Cross. Today let’s consider Who Is Most Condemned By The Cross? In Friday’s blog I pointed out that according to John 16:11, “…the ruler of this world is judged.” Satan is the ruler of this world, having usurped that authority from Adam when he chose to obey the devil rather than God (see Genesis 1:26, 28; 3:1-6). The evil one was judged when Jesus died, His death and resurrection redeeming all creation from the curse of sin. The Lord experienced the worst that the prince of darkness could do – the cross – and He achieved the ultimate victory when He arose from the dead and ascended back to the Father. Satan might be a candidate for being Most Condemned By The Cross, but there are other candidates also:
• Is Judas Iscariot the one Who Is Most Condemned By The Cross? After all, he was one of the twelve disciples who were with Jesus for the greater part of His three-year ministry! Judas heard the teachings from the Lord Jesus Himself. He was there helping distribute five little loaves of bread and two fish when Christ fed “…about five thousand men, besides women and children…,” and they had “…twelve baskets full…” of leftovers! (Matthew 14:15-21). In the next chapter, Matthew 15:32-38, Judas helped serve “…seven loaves…and a few little fishes…” feeding four thousand men plus women and children, with seven large baskets left over! (Matthew 15:32-38). He experienced the raging storm on the Sea of Galilee quieted by just three words spoken, “Peace, be still.” (Mark 4:39). He saw the amazing healing miracles performed – even Jesus touching the untouchable leper and instantly curing that disease! (Matthew 8:2, 3). And at least twice Judas was there and witnessed the Master raising people from the dead! (Luke 7:11-15; John 11:38-44).
And yet according to Matthew 26:14 through 16, it was Judas who betrayed the Lord for a measly thirty pieces of silver! (See also Matthew 26:21-25; 26:47-50; Luke 22:47, 48; Acts 1:16-20). But further testimony from Jesus Himself identifies this man Judas as “…a thief…” (John 12:4-6); and “…the son of hell…” (John 17:12 – The Living Bible). So despised is Judas through history that the fourteenth century Italian poet Durante degli Alighieri, in Dante’s Inferno, describes this betrayer of Jesus as occupying the ninth level of hell – the lowest and most torturous place a soul could be! But he the Most Condemned By The Cross?
• Is Pontius Pilate the one Who Is Most Condemned By The Cross? The damning evidence to bolster this charge that a prosecutor might introduce is John 18:37 and 38:
Pilate…said to Him, “Are You a king then?” Jesus answered, “You say rightly
that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come
into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the
truth hears My voice.” Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” And when he
had said this, he went out…
Jesus had plainly stated in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus is the Truth! He speaks the truth! He is the embodiment of truth! Pilate had the Truth standing right in front of him, and he turned away and went out – to his own destruction! Pontius Pilate is rightly condemned, but is he The Most Condemned By The Cross?
• Are the Jewish leaders the ones Who Are Most Condemned By The Cross? Many of those leaders plotted, planned and called for the death of the Lord Jesus Christ! When Pilate tried to expunge himself from guilt concerning Jesus, he publicly washed his hands and said to “…the chief priests and elders…I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.” (Matthew 27:12, 24). The Jewish leaders are the ones who incited “… all the people…[to say] ‘His blood be upon us and on our children.’ ” (Matthew 27:25). Those unrepentant Jewish leaders stand condemned! But are they the Most Condemned By The Cross?
I find the answer to Who Is Most Condemned By The Cross? in Hebrews 6:4 through 6:
…it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the
heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted
the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to
renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the
Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
I believe in eternal security – once you are truly saved, you will never totally fall away again into unbelief. But this discussion is for future blogs. Here, I think those to whom the writer of Hebrews is referring are those who have come close, but never made a heart-felt personal commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ! They were enlightened but never came into the brilliance of “…the light of the world…” (John 8:12; 9:5). They have “…tasted of the heavenly gift…the good word of God and the powers of the age to come…” (Hebrews 6:4, 5), but have never heartily consumed the Son of God as He Himself taught in John 6:51 through 58. These are like the ones described in The Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13:5, and interpreted by the Lord in Matthew 13:20 and 21:
But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word
and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but en-
dures only for awhile. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of
the word, immediately he stumbles.
This one is Most Condemned By The Cross because he has heard and somewhat understood, and yet falls away! This is the one about whom Jesus speaks in Luke 12:47: “And that servant who knew his master’s will, and did not prepare himself to do according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.” Again, from Luke 8:18: “…take heed how you hear. For whoever has, to Him more will be given; and whoever does not have, even what he seems to have will be taken from him.”
The warning of severe condemnation is clear: “…it is impossible…if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.” (Hebrews 6:4, 6). These, I believe, are those Who Are Most Condemned By The Cross!