What a chilling statement to come from anyone’s mouth, – “Crucify him! Crucify him!” – directed toward the humiliated and scourged Savior headed for the cross, soon to die the most cruel death the Romans and barbarians could impose. Even the worst criminal known was released so Jesus could be so vilified and nailed up for public scorn and ridicule.
This One battered and ripped apart had, with the Father, co-created the universe and was called to a greater task. What a request – and what a response! We know that Jesus had left His position beside His Father to come to Earth for our sake. Even though He walked Earth performing signs, wonders and miracles, healing the sick and delivering the oppressed, even showing them He was the Son of God wasn’t enough.
The world wasn’t buying it. The Father called Jesus to give Himself as a ransom for each of us and for our personal sins. From the Book of Isaiah: “If He was willing, God was pleased to crush him, that we might go free.”
Certainly Peter never said, “Crucify him,” but by his actions and statements denied Him three times. Surely, Peter must have repented over and over for those moments of weakness and wanted to make up for them. Jesus, his friend and Savior, knew Peter’s contrite heart, and forgave and restored him and raised him to the highest place in the church.
I also never said, “Crucify him,” but I had 25 years of denial and rejection of Him. Surely, I thought, “I don’t know the Man” – but He knew me. Now, I know Him. I still repent for those years and actions, but Jesus forgave and accepted me. Many millions of others could attest to a similar forgiveness and acceptance.
Every Good Friday, we get to take up a cross and, like Simon, carry it a ways toward Calvary, just for Jesus. It’s not much, but it’s our little offering – and it’s not over yet.
This rejected man who suffered the most despicable death at the hands of the unbelieving, arrogant scoffers now presides as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Surely none of us would say, “Crucify Him,” but to deny or reject what He says or teaches is to deny Him. By God’s grace we’re still alive, and Jesus knows each of us and gives us opportunity to repent. Any life may yet be redeemed, no matter what we have said or done in the past.
May this Good Friday find each of us well and repentant.