June 1, 1998 Issue
by Cecil Smith

    When we consider the crucifixion of our Lord, we find certain attitudes among the people that lead up to the death of our Lord. Seeing that these same problems are often found in people in our day, it is certainly worthy of our time to consider what attitudes were directly linked to the crucifixion. Many divisions and digressions have resulted because of these same reactions to the word and to the brethren. Could it not be said that when we react to our brethren in the ways of which we will notice we are guilty of driving the nails deeper into the hands of our Lord? Paul spoke of those who crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame, Heb 6:6. Paul also wrote to the Philippians in Phil 3:1 8-1 9 of those who were the enemies of the cross of Christ. Are we guilty of crucifying our Lord by allowing the same problems the Jews had to go unchecked in our lives?


One of the first things that we observe as being responsible for the cross is the state of mind which we call ignorance. In Acts 3:17 Peter delivered the following charge unto those whom he held responsible for the death of our Lord; "And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also, your rulers." Many people believe ignorance is bliss, yet, Peter delivers a striking blow to this idea as he accuses them in vs. 13-14 of delivering up and denying Christ and allowing a murderer to be released in his stead. He goes on in v. 15 to accuse them of killing the Prince of life. Peter held these people responsible even though they acted in ignorance. We find that ignorance is one particular characteristic that is very prevalent in society even to this day. We very much need to heed the warning of Hosea in Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee." Many today are destroyed for the lack of knowledge. They have rejected it much like the Jews who saw many miracles that Jesus performed, yet, they chose to be ignorant. Many today choose to be ignorant when we consider such issues as homosexuality, women teachers, bobbed hair, baptism, etc. . . In Proverbs 15:32 the Bible states, "he that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding." How often are we guilty of selective hearing, hearing only what we want to hear? We need to wake up! Religious ignorance has caused thousands to face the grave unprepared and has divided the Lord's church. Let us study to show ourselves approved unto God, workmen that need not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth rather than acting in ignorance and taking the chance of crucifying the Lord afresh.


    The second attitude responsible for the Lord's death was pride. This was the basis of the reaction of the religious leaders. Their own pride caused them to reject the promised Messiah. They could see nothing good coming out of Nazareth, Jn 1:46. Also in Mk 6:3 they were offended at the thought that Jesus was able to perform miracles. They saw him as an humble carpenter, the son of Mary, whose brothers and sisters they were all familiar with. They were looking for a king to come from some great city, from a royal lineage, to lead them forth into battle. But, Jesus came from a little community right up the roads from an humble family and came riding (triumphantly albeit) into Jerusalem upon a little donkey, rather than in a chariot of fire, Mt 21:5 . These people were too proud to accept this, and thus they denied his claims and delivered him up. This is also a characteristic found on every side to this very day. When we become too proud to serve the Lord and accept his word on any Bible subject, we are guilty of crucifying the Lord afresh. Jesus, in Mk 7:22, listed pride right alongside the sin of blasphemy and placed it in the category of things which defile a man.

    Pride is also one of the causes of divisions and problems in the church, as people refuse to humble themselves and be defaced if necessary in order to have peace and harmony.


    The third attitude that caused our Lord's death was envy. We find this particular problem was very easy to see, even for those on the outside looking in After Jesus was brought unto Pilate. Pilate sought to release him for he knew that for envy they had delivered him Mt 27:18 Pilate knew that these men envied the relationship that Jesus had with the people, and moved with envy they quickly decided to deliver him up and destroy him. Envy is also prevalent in our society. Often we also become envious of one another. Maybe someone else is a better song leader or teacher or someone's child is bragged on more than our own. Do we weep with those that weep? Do we rejoice with those who rejoice even if we are not blessed to enjoy the same benefits that they are? Paul would tell us, Rom 13:13, to walk honestly, as in the day not in strife and envying.


    The last attitude that we want to notice is anger. We see this exemplified in a number of places. In John 8:59 the people were so enraged by the words of the Lord that they tried to stone him. Then in John 7:30 they sought to take him for the purpose of doing him bodily harm. They were so angry that they closed their ears to the truth and sought to destroy Jesus. Anger played a crucial role in the crucifixion of our Lord. Wrath or anger often has the same results in our day. When we become angry with someone, we become blind to the things he may be striving to teach us and react out of anger rather than love Paul wrote unto the Colossians in Col 3:8 for them to put off anger and wrath. This doesn't mean that we are in sin when we become angry, for Paul wrote in Eph 4:26 "Be ye angry and sin not." But, we must learn to control our anger and never react out of anger. We need to consider the end result of the anger of the Jews and learn to listen to the words of Jesus in Mt 5:9 "Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God." Brethren, we need to consider these thoughts with all our hearts. There are many issues troubling us today, even threatening to divide the church. I submit to you that some of these issues are not so much the problem, as are the attitudes of the people behind these issues. We need to remember the words of the apostle Peter in 1 Pet 3:11 and learn to seek peace, and ensue it. Let us never be guilty of reacting to the word or to our brethren in any of these ways, seeing that they are directly responsible for the death of our Lord. Please, brethren, consider the question of what crucified our Lord before we are guilty of crucifying him afresh before the world and before we cause a division among the Lord's people!

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