March 18, 2015
John 10:17, 18
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
There are eight blogs to be written before Easter Sunday, April 5. We are going to explore eight Questions Concerning The Cross, the first being Who Put Jesus On The Cross? I have heard the following answers:
• The Romans put Jesus on the cross. After all, crucifixion was the method of capital punishment the Romans reserved for slaves and the worst criminals – murderers, insurrectionists, and sometimes thieves. Romans citizens were supposed to be exempt from this cruel method of death. It was the Roman governor, Pilate who gave the order to crucify Jesus (see Mark 15:15). And it was the Roman soldiers who carried out the order, compelling Him to carry the cross – until they recruited Simon of Cyrene to carry it for Him (see John 19:17; Matthew 27:32). And when they reached Golgotha, it was the Roman soldiers who stripped the Lord and nailed Him to the cross. And one of their own speared Him in the side (see Psalm 22:16, 18; John 20:25).
• The Jews put Jesus on the cross. Many of the Jewish religious leaders, members of the Sanhedrin, including the high priest, plotted to silence Jesus’ teachings. They were too often on the receiving end of the Lord’s strong criticism, especially directed at the Pharisees and scribes who loaded down God’s commands with restrictive man-made laws (see Matthew 23:1-36). So they sought a way “…to put Him to death…,” (John 11:53), finally condemning Jesus by means of an illegal Sanhedrin trial (see Matthew 26:59; 27:1). Then they “…delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor…” (Matthew 27:2) who gave the sentence of crucifixion after “…the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas [an insurrectionist, murderer and robber] and destroy Jesus.” (Matthew 27:20). Also, the Jews took upon themselves the blame of Jesus’ death when they cried out to Pilate in Matthew 27:25, “His blood be upon us and on our children.”
• Satan put Jesus on the cross. From the beginning, the devil tried to thwart God’s plan of redemption – first announced in Genesis 3:15 (see Genesis 4:8; Exodus 1:16, 22; Esther 3:6; Matthew 2:16; Luke 4;1-12 for examples of his opposition). Finally, Satan plotted the death of Jesus by stirring up the hatred of the Jewish leaders and the fears of insurrection of the Roman overlords. In I Corinthians 2:7 and 8, Paul wrote:
But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which
God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of
this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord
The Greek word for “…the rulers of this age…” (NKJV) or “…the princes of this world…” (KJV) is ar-khone’ which means “a first (in rank or power) – chief (ruler), magistrate, prince, ruler.” (Strong’s Dictionary of the Words in the Greek New Testament). In the New Testament ar-khone’ is used more than once for the devil (see Matthew 9:34; 12:24; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Ephesians 2:2). And a related word is ar-khay’ – “…chief (in various applications of order, time, place or rank)” (ibid.). Ar-khay’ is used to refer to the demonic rulers under Satan’s authority, and for the devil himself (see Romans 8:38; Ephesians 3:10; 6:12; Colossians 1:16, 21; 2:10, 15).
Putting this together, Paul is saying in I Corinthians 2:8 above that although the devil and his minions thought they had planned Christ’s crucifixion, it proved to be their ultimate undoing. So “…had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” No, it was not ultimately Satan who put Jesus on the cross.
• We put Jesus on the cross. I am referring to “we” as sinners! Yes, Jesus hung on the cross bearing out sins (see II Corinthians 5:21; I Peter 2:24; I John 2:2). If we had not sinned, He never would have had to go through the suffering and torment of such torture and death to save us! But we did not put Him on that cross (i.e. force Him to die on it)!
So who did put Jesus on the cross? The answer is in our scripture, John 10:17 and 18:
Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life, that I may take
it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power
to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have re-
ceived from My Father.
Jesus is the One who put Himself on the cross! “I lay down My life….No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself.”
And this leads into the next of the Questions Concerning The Cross – What held Jesus on the cross?