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Sunday, September 26, 2010 pm            Listen to this Lesson

WHAT CRUCIFIED JESUS?

                In times past we have talked about the cross of Christ.  It is a subject we need to visit from time to time.  Each week we partake of a memorial that reminds us of His death, but if we do not in more detail consider His crucifixion every once in awhile, there is danger of it becoming common place. 

                With that in mind, tonight I want to examine an aspect of the cross.  I want to talk about WHAT crucified Jesus.  In times past, I have presented a lesson entitled, WHO crucified Jesus?  In scripture we can establish that it was the Jews who initiated the process and wanted Him executed (John 11:47-53).  We also noted the part of Rome in His execution as they carried it out under the direction of their Roman leaders (Pilate, Herod, etc.).  Also God in His demand for a sacrifice for our sins had a part.  Jesus voluntarily submitted to the cross Himself.  And finally, every one of us had a part in His crucifixion – because it was our sins that led Him to the cross. Consider Hebrews 6:6, 10:26-29

                But behind many of those instrumental in His death there were a number of SINS involved.  Tonight I want to notices some of these sins.  The lesson for us in this is to consider, not only the consequence of sin in general, but the specific sins we will mention – are we guilty of them?  I want us to consider such sins in light of what they did to our Lord, with the hopes that we will think twice before we participate in such.

 I.                    Ignorance led to Jesus being crucified

a.        1 Corinthians 2:7-9 notes that God’s wisdom included “hidden wisdom” which “none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
Acts 3:17, “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.   But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.
Luke 23:34, while on the cross, Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”

b.       Ignorance is never an excuse for sin.  Acts 17:30, Rom. 10:1-3 – Paul notes that even though the Jews were ignorant, they were still lost.

c.        BUT, what is sad is when one is willfully ignorant.  And such was the case with many who crucified Jesus.  In describing why He spoke in parables, the reason given concerned the Jewish leaders. He said in Matt. 13:13-15 they had closed their eyes and shut their ears.

d.       Let us seek to not be ignorant – Acts 17:11 – search the scriptures daily, 1 Pet. 2:2, 2 Tim. 2:15

 

II.                  Religious prejudice led to Jesus being crucified

a.        Throughout His ministry, Jesus clashed with the religious leaders of the Jews.  He exposed their hypocrisy, corruption, arrogance and legalism.  Though He always had truth on His side, many of the Jewish leaders wanted nothing to do with Him.  As time went on their differences intensified.  Jesus continued to expose them and they continued to resist.  Finally, their religious prejudice so blinded them that they were willing to do ANYTHING to get rid of Jesus.  John 11:45-53 describes the Jewish leaders reasoning that for the sake of Judaism it was expedient that Jesus die.   John 12:9-10 records that they even plotted to kill Lazarus because he was a detriment to their cause.

b.       Today, there is much religious prejudice prevalent.  There are many man made doctrines that cause some to blindly reject the truth simply they don’t want to change. 
Many religions today appeal to the ecumenical spirit (i.e. unity without much doctrine).  They are intolerant of those who demand Biblical authority for everything we do calling them “old fashioned”, “legalistic”, etc.
There are also those who adhere to a particular faith or group because of family ties, friendships, ties to some preacher, economical reasons, some moral dilemma that they do not want to give up, etc.   When their faith is challenged, they don’t care what the Bible says, they are going to continue on the path they are on. 
Such attitudes are similar to those of the Jews who rejected Jesus.  Paul in Romans 9:30-33 spoke of their stumbling at the stumbling stone.  Why?  Because they did not seek God by faith.

c.        Such is truly tragic as scripture demands that we have an open mind and that we be willing to change if it is called for (cf. Acts 18:24-28 -  Apollos, Acts 19:1-5 – brethren in Ephesus, Acts 9:6 – Paul, Acts 19:18-20 where many who practiced magic in Ephesus came and burned their books, etc.). 
Again I appeal to Acts 17:11 where they “searched the scriptures daily…”  There was a sincere desire to know the truth and do it.

d.       Religious prejudice led to the crucifixion of Jesus.  It can lead to our rejection of Him as well.

 

III.                Greed led to Jesus being crucified.

a.        Throughout His ministry, Jesus challenged the greed of many.  Recall how twice He cast out the money changers and drove the animals out of the temple (John 2:13-22, Matt. 21:12-13).
When His teaching became a threat to the livelihood of some, they wanted Him to leave (Matt. 8:33-34).
The corrupt leadership was willing to use money to accomplish the removal of Jesus.
Judas was willing to betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver (Matt. 26:14-16)

b.       The love of money has always been an obstacle to some from obeying the truth.  In Mark 10:23-25 where Jesus spoke of how hard it is for a rich man to enter heaven.  This came at the conclusion of His conversation with the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22.  Sadly, like that man, many are sorrowful when they find out the cost of following Jesus. 
Scriptures abundantly warn us against trusting in the riches of this world – 1 Tim. 6:9-10, Matt. 6:19-21, 1 Tim. 6:17, etc.

c.        Never forget that money sold out Jesus.  Let us not be willing to sell Him out for the possessions of this life.  As Jesus Himself said on another occasion, “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matt. 16:26)

 IV.                Deceit and lying led to Jesus being crucified

a.        Throughout the events leading up to the death of Jesus there was dishonesty.
Mark. 14:55-59 records how they sought witnesses against Jesus.  This was AFTER they arrested Him!
A study of the trials of Jesus indicate that when He was condemned before the Jewish council the charge was blasphemy (Matt.26:65-68), but when He stood before Pilate the charge was insurrection (Luke 23:1-2).
In condemning Jesus to death, Pilate was less than honest as well.

b.       As Christians, we are taught the importance of honesty in all things. 
Contrary to what some believe, lying is never acceptable to God (cf. Rev. 21:8)
Eph. 4:25 says, “Therefore, putting away lying, ‘let each one of you speak truth to his neighbor’, for we are members of one another.” (Cf. Zech. 8:16-17)   Col. 3:9-10 also tells us to not lie to one another.
We live in a society where people use lies to destroy each other.  It is truly sad how many brethren (as well as non-believers) are maligned because our dealings with them are less than honest.
Soapbox: I am bothered by many of the emails I receive that are filled with lies and distortions of the truth (still lies), yet if I don’t forward them to everyone I know I am accused of not caring.    The lies some spread on the internet are of the same caliber as the enemies of Jesus.  I want nothing to do with such.  So before you start forwarding emails, you make sure it is COMPLETELY truthful.
2 Corinthians 8:21 describes Paul’s conduct was above reproach as he was “providing honorable things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.”

c.        Deceit and lies is a tool of the devil used to crucify Jesus.  Will we be guilty of the same?

V.                  Hatred led to Jesus being crucified

a.        As Jesus spoke to His apostles before His betrayal He warned them that the world would hate them as they had hated Him.  He then says, “But this has happened that they word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated me without a cause.” (John 15:25, cf. Psa. 69:4, Jn. 15:18-25)   This would have included their crucifying Jesus.
Matthew 27:18 records that Pilate knew that it was because of envy that they had handed Jesus over.  Their envy (as it often does) had produced a hatred for Jesus and His followers.
Consider the way they treated Him, spitting upon Him and mocking Him, allowing a known insurrectionist and murderer go (Barabbas – Matt. 15:6-15), while accepting the condemnation of Jesus whose accusations were unfounded (and they knew it).

b.       Hatred of this sort has no place in the life of a Christian.  Jesus early on taught us to love those who hate us (Matt. 5:44).  He is the ultimate example of one who loved, even His enemies.

c.        Hatred  motivated all sorts of evil conduct the night of our Lord’s betrayal and it will produce the same even today.

 VI.                Cowardice led to Jesus being crucified

a.        Surrounding Jesus’ crucifixion were many cowardly acts.
Judas acted cowardly as he hanged himself instead of facing his sins and betrayal - Matt. 27:3-5
Pilate KNEW that Jesus was innocent.  Combined together in all the gospels, Pilate declared the innocence of Jesus at least 7 times.  Matt. 27:24 – he took a bowl of water and washed his hands, as if that would absolve him.
The Jewish leaders acted cowardly in staging a false trial and their hypocritical accusations. Matt. 27:12-14.  They didn’t want to face Jesus on a level “playing field”.  They knew they would lose, so they resorted to bribery and coercion to get their way.
LATER, after Jesus arose they refused responsibility for their actions – see Matt. 27:25 where they said to Pilate, “His blood be on us and our children.”  Then in Acts 5:28 they said to Peter and the other apostles before the council, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name?  And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!”  How quickly they changed their story.
Many in the crowd who shouted, ‘CRUCIFY HIM’ were cowardly in knowing better.
Even His disciples forsook Him at His hour of  greatest need (Mark 14:50) – the ALL forsook Him.

b.       Friends, as difficult as it is, we need courage.  We must stand up for Jesus instead of hiding from Him. 
1 Corinthians 16:13 says, “Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.”
Rev. 21:8 begins its list of those who will be cast into hell by saying, “But the cowardly…”
1 Peter 3:13-15 challenges us not to be afraid of wicked men who intend to harm us.  This is a difficult thing to do. 
Yet how often do we fail to defend our Lord.  Consider how many demonstrated cowardice which resulted in His death.  Don’t act like that!

 

In this lesson we have examined some sins that were instrumental in the crucifixion of Jesus.  Let us never forget that ANY sin we commit requires the blood of Jesus to have it forgiven.  While we are grateful His blood was shed for us, let us NOT act in such a way that we need His blood again for our forgiveness.  May we realize that the sins that drove Jesus to the cross can be committed just as easily today – and let have nothing to do with such.  Live with gratitude for His sacrifice, NOT with the type of conduct that was instrumental in causing it.   Don’t drive another nail in His hand, even figuratively.  Think about it!