This essay is about the crucifixion of Jesus and God’s grace.
Who killed Jesus? Who nailed him to the cross on which he died? Both Jesus’ countrymen, who called for his crucifixion, and the Roman soldiers, who carried out their orders, were responsible for his death.
However, Jesus is quoted as saying this:
“Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’” (Matthew 25:44-45, NASB)
Therefore, it really doesn’t matter who killed Jesus 2000 years ago. What matters is how we behave today, at this moment. If we are angry at our “brother,” Jesus knows that and feels that. If we mistreat each other, he is grieved. It is important to realize that our actions, here and now, make a difference, not only in our own lives but also in the lives of all who surround us.
While we should do our best to think and act in the best way possible, we should also realize that God’s grace is greater than any mistake we have ever made or will make. When Jesus was dying on the cross, he said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34, NASB) Do you think that God would disagree with Jesus’ request? Do you think that God’s grace only extends so far, or that there is a limit to his love and acceptance?
In a sense, anyone who acts in a bad way doesn’t know what he is doing, for no one would hurt himself and others if he knew that he was doing so and was able to stop. It is not for us to judge others but to forgive them, as Jesus’ example makes clear. It doesn’t matter how bad we think we have been, or how lost we feel—God’s grace is greater.
If we look for a better way to live, we will receive the assistance we need. That doesn’t mean life will always be easy, but our efforts will be rewarded. I don’t believe that God ever banishes people from his presence, but until we choose to follow his way, we will suffer. We can either go towards God or go away to nowhere. Is that choice, when it is seen as such, hard to make? Maybe it is, if everyone around us is going the other way, but Jesus told us:
“If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. (John 15:18-19, NASB)
The “pioneers” are those who choose to make new paths where not many people have gone before. Those people prepare the way for others, as Jesus’ example prepared the way for his followers, and his followers prepared the way for us. Eventually, all of our work will pay off, and the path back to God will be as easy as speeding down a highway. Until then, we must do our best to not cause grief to our brothers or to Jesus.