| Click Now to Order
What Does God Say
When People Pray? (Part 10)
"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they
do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots."
Why would God become man, suffer the inhumane treatment of his peers,
and die on the cross for my sins? If it was for my sins, He died, am I
guilty of His blood? Was it my fault He died? Is the cross then, a symbol
Billy Joel, a popular musician said: "I wasn't raised Catholic, but
I used to go to mass with my friends, and I viewed the whole business as
a lot of very enthralling hocus-pocus. There's a guy... nailed to a cross
and dripping blood, and everyone's blaming themselves for that man's torment,
but I said to myself, 'Forget it. I had no hand in that evil. I have no
original sin. There's no blood of any sacred martyr on my hands. I pass
on all of this."(Fresh Illustrations: http://www.freshministry.org/illustrations.html)
Is Joel right not to blame himself for the cross? Or is Jesus' blood
on his hands-and mine?
How do you view the cross? Is it a source of shame to you? Or is it
a symbol of victory?
Jesus did not go to the cross without serious forethought. Just a few
weeks ago, we explored the prayer He prayed in Gethesemane. In that prayer,
He agonized over His future and our destiny.
Persistently, Jesus prayed, "
. . .if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but
as Thou wilt." For over
an hour, He agonized in the garden, pouring out His soul to His Father.
What happened? What did God
say in response to Jesus' prayer in the Garden? He said "no," I can't take
this cup from you, but "yes" My will will be done.
Jesus walked from the
garden into the hands of the enemy, who beat Him, mocked Him, and hung
Him on the cross. He drank of the cup-it did not pass from Him. He experienced
His worst nightmare, and when He did, He defeated sin, death, and the grave
and made new life possible to all who believe.
No one forced Him to the
cross. He went willingly.
John 3:16 says, "For God
so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever
believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." When you
hear that verse, do you picture the Father making a decision that the Son
didn't participate in, or do you see the unity of the triune God making
Jesus went willingly. He
wasn't forced. He chose to go.
But do you think He ever
regretted His decision to go to the cross?
In 1996, Surrey British Columbia
teen Kerry-Jo Klingbeil was awarded the Medal of Bravery by Governor-General
Romeo LeBlanc for pushing a friend out of the path of a tow-truck.
Kerry-Jo was 11, in 1995,
when she pushed Amanda Horne, 7, out of the truck's path in Arthur, near
Kitchener, Ontario. However, during the rescue attempt, Kerry-Jo was caught
under the tractor-trailer's rear wheels and received serious head injuries.
The accident left Kerry-Jo
seriously disfigured and mentally and physically disabled. Six years later,
the 17-year-old's family sued the friend and her parents for millions of
The lawsuit, claimed the
Hornes family failed to supervise Amanda properly, or to instruct her on
how to cross a road safely. Further, the claim said Kerry-Jo was "compelled"
to "rescue" Amanda. But Amanda's family disagree. They say Kerry-Jo was
injured because of her own negligence and that she did not have to rescue
Allen Wynperle, the lawyer
representing the Klingbeil family, said"What anyone would say is: 'Look,
there are significant implications for this girl, for her future,' Sometime
she's going to have to take care of things in the future. I'm not sure
she'll be able to do it without help."
Did Jesus regret His decision?
I don't think so. Two things lead me to this conclusion. One is a conversation
He had with a man hanging next to Him, another is a prayer He prayed while
hanging on the cross.
Even while suffering and
dying for our sins, Jesus took time to reach out to one more. Here's the
conversation He had with the thief on the cross: "Then he [the thief] said,
"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom." Jesus answered him,
"I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise." (Luke 23:42-43
Jesus knew full well why
He was hanging on the cross. It wasn't to teach a lesson or show His love;
it was to save His people from their sins. In Matthew's Christmas narrative,
the angel of the Lord said, "She will give birth to a son, and you are
to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their
sins." (Matthew 1:21 NIV) After telling the story of Jesus speaking to
Zacchaeus, Luke wrote, "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save
that which was lost." (Luke 19:10 NASB)
If there was another way
to save the people from their sin, Jesus would not have had to go to the
cross. But there wasn't another way. The scripture says, "the law requires
that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding
of blood there is no forgiveness." (Hebrews 9:22 NIV)
When Jesus shed His blood,
He paid the price for our sin. The scripture says, "For the wages of sin
is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our
Lord." (Romans 6:23 KJV) In one act, Jesus paid the debt for our sin and
provided the way for us to experience eternal life.
The second reason I know
that Jesus didn't regret His decision to go to the cross was this prayer
He prayed while hanging on the cross. "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive
them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and
cast lots." (Luke 23:34 NIV)
Even with the fresh wounds
from the crown that the soldiers thrust on His head and the cat of nine
tails that the soldier wrapped around His body, Jesus looked down upon
those who mocked him and were gambling for his clothes and breathed this
Billy Joel was right for
not blaming himself for Jesus' torment. With this prayer, Jesus forgave
that blame. The cross doesn't need to be a symbol of shame for us.
Instead, it is a symbol of
In the 1970s, Khmer Rouge
soldiers forced residents to dig their own graves before they were executed.
As one woman cowered on the ground, waiting to be shot, a vision of a cross
came, with a voice saying, "None but I can save you." As villagers called
in desperation to various gods, this woman prayed to "the god who hung
on a cross." When the villagers opened their eyes, the soldiers were gone.
For twenty years the villagers
worshiped "the god who hung on a cross," not knowing the name of Jesus,
until an evangelist visited them recently. The Commission, Southern Baptist's
Magazine about world missions, reports that when these villagers heard
the good news of salvation in Jesus, they readily accepted Christ and started
What did God say when people
pray? This time He said, "yes, I'll forgive them for what they've done
to you, and I'll use the cross to save their souls, all they have to do
Paul wrote: "I am crucified
with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and
the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of
God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20 KJV)
When Jesus died on the cross,
he paid the penalty for our sins, and when we confess Him as our Lord,
our old self is crucified and He empowers us to live in Christ.
Has there been a time in
your life when you've confessed Jesus as your Lord? If so, are you living
in the power of the resurrected Lord?
If you've never confessed
Him as your Lord, is there any good reason why you can't do so today?