Who killed the Lord Jesus on the cross? This morning I was impressed and also reminded that it was not just man who killed the Lord Jesus, but it was also God who put Him to death. On the one hand, man was instigated by Satan to capture, condemn, and crucify the Lord on the cross; on the other hand, God came in and judged Christ on our behalf and put Him to death as the unique sinner in God’s eyes at that time.
Where do we see such a fact? In Psalm 22 we see that man did his best to persecute, mock, deride, scorn at, the Lord Jesus and inflict as much suffering on Him as possible. And then there’s a verse which says, “You have put me in the dust of death” – speaking of God. This morning I was reminded of both of these sides and I was again filled with a sweet appreciation for our Lord Jesus…
Man put Christ on the Cross and Inflicted Suffering on Him
Outwardly and physically, man arrested the Lord Jesus in the garden of Getsemani, unjustly tried Him and “found Him guilty” – by the High Priest and the Sanhedrin, King Herod, and Pontius Pilate – and then crucified Him on Golgotha, just outside the city of Jerusalem. The crucifixion way of killing someone is very painful and very slow, the person crucified dying of terrible pains and axfixiation while hanging on the cross. Besides crucifying the Lord, there were specific other things that the people did to Him(according to Psalm 22):
- Many fierce men encompassed Him(Psa. 22:12) and opened their mouth at Him like a ravening and roaring lion(v. 13).
- Evil men – like dogs – surrounded the Lord Jesus, and a congregation of evildoers enclosed Him(v. 16).
- They pierced His hands and feet(Zech. 12:10; John 19:37; Rev. 1:7) – His hands and His feet were pierced and nailed to the cross, and a Roman soldier pierced His side. Charles Wesley spoke about the “five bleeding wounds” Christ received on Calvary(see Hymns #300).
- They divided His garments among themselves and cast lots for their clothing(Psa. 22:18; John 19:23-24). They stripped Him of His clothes and publicly put Him to shame by crucifying the Lord Jesus naked on the cross; then, they cast lots for His clothes.
- They all looked at Him – they stared at Him, as He was dying on the cross(Psa. 22:17). They were filled with contempt and hatred as they looked at the Lord Jesus crucified.
- His bones were out of joint(v. 14), and He counted all His bones(v. 17) – because of the weight of His body hanging on the cross, His bones were out of joint; much pain and agony was inflicted on Him.
- His heart was like wax melted within Him(v. 14) and His strength was dried up like a shard(v. 15). His tongue was stuck to His jaws(v 15).
God put Christ to death on the cross as our Substitute
What a terrible way to die, in so much suffering! Man inflicted as much suffering as he could on the Lord Jesus – both physically and psychologically. But then Psalm 22:15 says, “…. You have put me in the dust of death“. On the one hand – especially in the first three hours on the cross – man persecuted and crucified Christ; on the other hand – especially in the last three hours He was on the cross – God judged Christ and put Him to death. If Jesus Christ was only killed by man, He would be just a righteous martyr, a good pattern to follow with a tragic ending – but He could never be our Redeemer!
The Lord Jesus was put to death and judged by God the Father – this is why He cried out in the first verse of Psa. 22, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? God put all the sins of the world upon the Lord Jesus Himself on the cross, making Him the unique sinner in God’s eyes. He withdrew His economical Spirit from Him(since God cannot dwell with sinful men) and judged Christ as the Substitute for us. Christ was judged and killed by God on the cross for our redemption in the last three hours of His life – God counted Him as our Substitute who suffered for our sin(Isa. 53:10).
God laid all of our sins upon Christ(Isa. 53:6), and Christ was forsaken by God for our sins(1 Cor. 15:3) becoming sin on our behalf(2 Cor. 5:21) to be judged by God as our Substitute. … wow, what a suffering, what a death, and what a judgement He went through for us – to redeem us and bring us back to God! [sharing inspired from the life-study of the Psalms as quoted in Morning Revival on the Crystallization-Study of Psalms(1); you can get the morning revival book online or become a fan on Facebook for more updates. Intro: Who killed Jesus on the cross?]
Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your redeeming death on the cross. You suffered man’s persecution and man’s crucifixion. You were also judged by God as our Substitute. O, Lord… how terrible must have been to be forsaken by the Father because You were full of sin and the unique sinner in His sight… What a price You paid for us, Lord Jesus. All we can say is that we love You and we thank You…
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