As a prelude to Good Friday, and inspired by scripture in last Sunday's class, I ask (and will offer an answer to), "Who crucified Jesus?"
Was it the Pilate and the Romans? No, they were merely instruments of the crucifixion, in much the same manner as the wood of the cross or the nails that attached Him to it.
Was it Caiaphas (the high priest), the Sanhedrin, and the Jews? No, they completely missed the boat; they were expecting a Messiah, but not the Messiah in the form that Jesus came to fulfill.
Was it you and I? "Everyone"? That's a good, solid, Christian answer, isn't it? No, we are the purpose for the crucifixion, the reason for it, but not the perpetrators.
So, who was it? Who crucified Jesus, the Christ?
Let's look at scripture. In Isaiah 53:10, it says, "the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief." * It was God Himself who crucified Jesus. And, not only that, it pleased the Lord to do so. Pleased. Take that in for a moment... it pleased the Lord to crucify Jesus, to place the burden of your sin on a man, the Son of God, who was blameless, who had no price to pay. And yet, God was happy to do that, for you. (And for me. For everyone.)
And, therein lies your value. Teenagers looking for value in social outlets - how many friends they have, how many twitter followers, how popular they are - that's the wrong place to find your value. Adults looking for value in power, or in status, or in success, or in material belongings - that's the wrong place to find your value. People looking for their value in their "soul mate" or in the love of a partner, or in their children - that's the wrong place. Where is your value? It's in the fact that it pleased God to crucify (execute) His perfect, blameless Son to take your punishment for the sin that you have willfully committed. There's your value.
(By the way, in case you're wondering, yes, you have sinned, and no, there's nothing you can do about it; one of these days I'm going to write a post asking, "Will a good man go to heaven?" The answer is "it depends" - because it's not about how "good" you can be. If you want to know more, check out gospel.com, or head over to listen to the sermons by Joel Faircloth - the series on Romans, quite a large number of sermons, but all good and worth listening to from the very beginning through to the latest one, and especially this one - even my 17-year-old was talking about how great a sermon and worship service that was.)
* Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.