Historians are divided on who killed Christ. The Jews argue their innocence. Pilate washed his hands of the affair! No one will admit killing Jesus Christ! Do you know who killed your Savior?
THIRTY and forty Mongolian pack animals, under the control of no less than twenty Burmese, labored to cover the last hundred rugged miles between Tengchung and Mandalay. The sun pushed lazily over the horizon, that morning in 1943, casting eerie shadows in the mountain foliage. The pack train disappeared in the heavy thicket, then reappeared in an open stretch of continuous sunlight. It was a beautiful, clear, sunlit day — A DAY WORTH LIVING! Mountain birds in search of grubs, insects and the delicacies of sustenance permeated the air with cheerful, spontaneous song. The air was clear and crisp. A blue sky, a wisp of white cloud framed the rugged mountain peaks of the Himalayas, accenting the mighty Irrawaddy River. Life had meaning and purpose. Here was a place of peace in a war-torn world! The elderly, greying packmaster casually spoke to his weary companions about home, their wives and children. Home was a small village of thatch-roofed huts near Tengchung, China, on the Burmese border. Not much in Western terms, but to these happy Burmese it was home, a place to work, love and rest from their labor. The pack train moved southward. Thoughts turned to the strange war that had brought them food and money — it was a war they little understood. The Japanese needed rice for their troops stationed in Mandalay. They paid fantastic prices for delivery of the rice. Two previous trips to Mandalay by the pack train had provided more wealth for their families than any living villager had dreamed possible. The supply job meant full stomachs and prosperity. It meant happiness for the families left behind in the little village near Tengchung.
Order of the Day
Hundreds of miles to the east — but only a few minutes by air — quite a different scene was taking place. A group of young, spirited fighter pilots were engaged in conversation awaiting orders from Kunming — the mission assignment of the day! Outside the pilot ready room stood an array of shark-nosed fighters glistening in the bright sun. Deadly fifty-caliber machine guns protruded from their wing tips, ready to inflict a volley of death and ruin on the triggered command of the pilot. As they waited for orders, the pilots talked about home. It sure would be great to see a traffic light, to drive down Main Street — eat a thick, juicy steak and sleep in a bed that had a mattress. A year and a half was a long time away from home! Discussions drifted to Dad and Mom, to the girl back home, to the wives and children who were waiting for Dad to return from war. Theirs was a fast-moving life — a life that all too often ended in violent death! Privately, each wondered if he would ever see home again!
Several hours passed. The sun rose higher in the sky. The early morning chill changed to warmth and then it became very hot. Beads of perspiration trickled down the foreheads of the Burmese. The shaggy coats of the pack animals turned a dark, sweaty brown and black from prolonged exertion and heat. The sacks of rice grew heavier as the day wore on. Rounding a bend in the trail the elderly packmaster noticed four specks on the horizon. The pack train moved on, gradually descending into an open stretch of twisting mountain trail. Glancing again over his right shoulder the packmaster watched the four specks grow. There was no doubt now, they were some type of aircraft that seemed to be headed north. Then all of a sudden they veered right, heading toward the pack train! The clatter of the horses' hooves dimmed and finally was lost in the heavy sound of powerful engines. No doubt now — they were coming his way — in fact, they were going to pass directly overhead. He smiled, thought again of how good life really was and of home and his wife. He waved — then in an instant of horror he knew something was desperately wrong! The high-flying fighters were in a dive. They were diving directly into the pack train as if to split it wide open. The drone of their engines was now a thunderous roar, an angry whine! Six bright red flames of fire flashed before his eyes — then silence!!
Behind the Guns
The lead pilot peered down the electric gun sight of his deadly weapon of destruction. The pack train moved into position "center." The range was right — he instantly squeezed the trigger. The fighter shuddered in response to guns and bullets. A lethal barrage of lead was on its way — ! Then horrified, the pilot pressed the throttle mike button crying out to his wingmen — "MY GOD, DON'T SHOOT, DON'T SHOOT!" — But it was too late! The ground was already red, streams of blood flowed from man and beast alike — DEATH WAS EVERY WHERE! At the last instant, AFTER squeezing the trigger, the lead pilot had seen a little, old, white-haired man wearing a smile, waving — all perfectly framed in his gun sight! But it was too late to prevent the reality of war, the slaughter of helpless victims. I WAS THAT LEAD PILOT! I was the pilot of the lead plane — I killed the little old Burmese with the greying hair along with his companions and a good part of the pack train. Just as surely as I killed that little old Burmese — the men and horses of that pack train — I KILLED JESUS CHRIST — AND JUST AS SURELY, SO DID YOU! A startling experience and a startling statement! Yet it is easily proven that YOU killed Christ as surely as if YOUR hands were on the spear that pierced His side. This article gives the proof — proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that EACH ONE OF US and YOU in particular killed your Savior! You need to understand this truth and comprehend what kind of a Savior you killed. YOU NEED TO KNOW WHAT HE SACRIFICED FOR YOU AND FOR ME!
Notice in Acts the second chapter, verses five through thirty-six. Christ was crucified fifty days prior to this passage of scripture. Jews and devout men out of EVERY NATION on earth were gathered in Jerusalem. There were Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Judaeans, Turks, Egyptians, Libyans, Cyrenians, Arabians, strangers and Jews alike gathered in Jerusalem (verses 9-11). The men from every nation dwelling in Jerusalem were there to witness a great event. Yet none had been told that such an event was about to occur. Even so there was a feeling that something big was about to happen. Everyone was talking about that man called Jesus of Nazareth. The events surrounding His death and crucifixion were strange indeed. Evidence of the great earthquake which had split huge rocks wide open were everywhere to be seen. The quake happened at the precise moment of His death! Then there was the rent in the great veil of the Temple — strange signs indeed! Some even said they had seen dead men, risen from their graves, walking the streets of Jerusalem. Rumors were that the eleven, who had been with Him, were hiding out in the city. They had been heard to say that Jesus of Nazareth had instructed them to wait for some sort of power from on high. Some said this was to be "the Day of the Lord," the day that Joel the prophet had written about! Others laughed and said the men were fanatics and that nothing would be altered, that all things would continue as from the beginning of the creation! Then on Monday morning, June 18, 31 A.D., it happened! It shook the city with its power. There was a great rushing of wind that caused the populace to shrink in fear. Everyone living in Jerusalem heard it. As they regained their composure, their courage, they began to walk, then run toward the spot from which this sound seemed to emanate. A crowd began forming around a house that had an upper room. The multitude stood outside bewildered, not knowing what to make of this strange phenomenon. Then the door opened and the eleven plus one stepped forth — and others with them. There was a hush as they began to speak. Then an amazing thing happened — every person, regardless of his nation or language, heard them speak in his native tongue. They were amazed and dumbfounded. What did all this mean? In an attempt to explain, some began to accuse the apostles of drinking too much wine — of being drunk! The man called Peter held up his hands, stilling the crowd. He began to speak in a powerful voice, delivering the first recorded sermon of the New Testament. He denied their mockings. He preached the Word of God, ESPECIALLY INSPIRED, by Divine Power for this SPECIAL OCCASION! He brought an electrifying message that YOU and I are to UNDERSTAND! Peter addressed the men of Israel, AND the men of EVERY NATION ON EARTH and said, "Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, YE HAVE TAKEN, AND BY WICKED HANDS HAVE CRUCIFIED AND SLAIN" (verses 22 and 23). How could Peter say such a thing? How could he accuse such a large group of crucifying Jesus Christ? These men, the men from ALL OVER THE EARTH had not participated PHYSICALLY in the crucifixion! Yet Peter said under inspiration, "You have taken, and [YOU] by [your] wicked hands have crucified and slain." To make doubly sure they got it, to make doubly sure YOU GET IT, Peter said in verse 36, "Therefore let ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL KNOW ASSUREDLY, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom YE HAVE CRUCIFIED, both Lord and Christ." Brethren, you are of the House of Israel! Therefore, I repeat, by the authority of Jesus Christ — YOU KILLED JESUS CHRIST! YOUR WICKED HANDS CRUCIFIED THE SAVIOR JUST AS SURELY AS IF YOU HAD BEEN there thrusting the spear in His side!! You killed Christ just as surely as I killed that old, white-haired Burmese so many years ago! We have all read Mark 14:63-65 and been horrified at the conduct of the High Priest who blasphemed and condemned Jesus Christ to death. We have been appalled that they "spit on Him," and that they struck Him with rods, sticks and their fists! Many of us have read and never understood that WE, that YOU and I are PERSONALLY guilty of condemning Christ to death, of spitting in His face, of striking Him with our fists until we bludgeoned His face, turning it purple and red. You haven't realized that you didn't stop until His face was raw and swollen, until His skin parted, ruptured and bled! Most of us have never understood that we literally cursed Jesus Christ every day of the year that we wiped our dirty feet on God's Holy Days. Truly YOU spit in your Savior's face every day that you mocked Jesus Christ by keeping another day than the true Sabbath! Jesus Christ created and made the seventh day of the week HOLY!! He said to sanctify the seventh day and to KEEP IT HOLY! We have despised Jesus Christ in our disobedience to this command. "... They cried out again, crucify Him" (Mark 15:13). Brethren, YOU are part of those from every nation on the earth! YOU are of the House of Israel! YOU — with those that stood before Peter and those who stood with the Roman mobs — cried out, "Crucify Him," just as surely as if you had been there in person! YOUR ACTIONS, YOUR WORDS have crucified Jesus Christ in a THOUSAND DIFFERENT WAYS!! "For when we were yet without strength," Jesus Christ died for us, the ungodly sinners of the earth! While we were still cursing God, crucifying and condemning God our Savior by our evil behavior and deeds, Jesus Christ was commending His love toward us. He died for us (Rom. 5:8). Jesus Christ was beaten more than any man. He was punched, jabbed, kicked and then beaten with a cat-o'-nine-tails until he was marred beyond recognition. In the scourging of Matthew 27:26, Jesus Christ was delivered JUST SHORT OF DEATH! The beating tore open the flesh on his body until his bones were exposed (Ps. 22:17). The scourging was preparatory to the most vicious crucifixion yet devised by man. It was a crucifixion in which Christ was nailed face up to a pole. You were there when a grizzled, uncouth Roman soldier knelt — one knee on the ground, another in Christ's chest! Then slowly, methodically, you began the hammer blows that drove the square-cut nails deep into the red, raw flesh of your Savior and mine, pinning His hands and feet to that stake. The blood that spurted out of those nail holes at Golgotha did not all run down the stake onto the ground — some of it spurted in your face, on your clothing and on your hands, brethren!! You were there — driving the nails just as surely as I killed the little old Burmese twenty some years ago in a place called Indochina! When they raised the pole and dropped it in the hole, when his flesh tore on the nails as the pole hit bottom, you were there cheering. You WERE THERE PUTTING TO DEATH THE ONLY SAVIOR THIS WORLD HAS EVER KNOWN! You despised and rejected your Savior, "... a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and WE [you] hid as it were OUR [your] faces from Him; He was despised, and WE [you] esteemed Him not. Surely he hath borne OUR [your] griefs and carried OUR [your] sorrows yet WE [you] did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for OUR [your] transgressions, He was bruised for OUR [your] iniquities: the chastisement of OUR [your] peace was upon Him: and with His stripes WE [you] are healed. All WE [of us] like sheep have gone astray; WE [you] have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us ALL (Isa. 53:3-6). That's what YOU did to Christ, however innocent you feel your rebellion has been to His laws and His commandments. YOUR DISOBEDIENCE to God's laws caused His death — every last agonizing minute of it!!!
Are You Concerned?
How concerned are you over this terrible death YOU inflicted upon Jesus Christ? Do you feel and know your responsibility? Do you take it lightly or seriously? DO YOU TAKE IT LITERALLY? God the Father and our Savior have forgiven us if we have repented. Their forgiveness has been according to our realization of the seriousness of the crime committed. Everyone is naturally, selfishly, carnally concerned over his own life, his own health. Most of us have even imagined accidents where our wives or children were concerned. We have found ourselves deeply involved and worried over danger for self and family. Are you concerned over Jesus Christ's sacrifice? Not if you sin! Not if you just drift along!! Not if you are filled with pride and vanity!!! Not if you are glorifying the self, the number one — the big you! We all need to be concerned over our gigantic sin and part in crucifying Jesus Christ. We need to be genuinely humble, "... for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God ..." (I Pet. 5:5-6). In so doing we show our concern and exercise true repentance of our past misdeeds. When we come to this attitude, when we come to true repentance and are properly baptized and, by God's Spirit, put into the true Church of God, the living body of Christ — then we have God's complete forgiveness, His love and His deep concern. God — the God we crucified abounds in loving-kindness. Through a multitude of tender mercies He is able to blot out our sins, our transgressions — no matter how wicked we have been (Ps. 51:1).
What Kind of God Was It That You Killed?
The God that you killed MADE THE WORLD! He was appointed heir of all things by His Father. He was the very express image, brightness and character of the Father and His power. This God, Jesus Christ, purged our sins and then sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High, God the Father (Heb. 1:2-3). He is made perfect, the One who works to bring us, the first begotten, into perfection. He is worthy of angels' worship (Heb. 1:6.)!! "Behold your God" — THE GOD YOU KILLED!! He, in His magnificence, is fully capable of measuring all the oceans in the hollow or palms of His hands. He can weigh all the mountains of this earth as easily as we would weigh a few pounds of salt on a scale! We have not counseled this great God in His wisdom or instructed Him. In reality, we are in comparison as a fraction of a speck of dust. All "nations [on earth] are as a drop in a bucket and are counted as the small dust of the balance ...." (Isa. 40:9-15). No, we never counseled this great God — but we did kill Him — just as surely as I killed that little old Burmese twenty some years ago! Have you ever contemplated how great you are by comparison — or contemplated the net worth of you, your value to God — your worth in terms of Christ's sacrifice?? When all nations in totality are only a DROP IN A BUCKET — how large are you? That drop of water in Isaiah 40 represents the billions of mankind! We as men would be totally incapable to separate a drop of water to the fraction that would represent ONE OF US!! Yes, this great God we now worship is not likened to anyone or anything. No one, no thing is equal to the Holy One — OUR GOD! He is merciful, kind and full of compassion! YET FOR ALL HIS GOODNESS — WE — YOU KILLED JESUS CHRIST!
He Gave All — For Your Life
This God, the One who suffered and died, laid down His life for His friends — friends that spit in His face and cursed Him in wicked disobedience (John 15:13). And He commanded thy repent and bring forth the fruit which leads to eternal life in His soon-coming kingdom — the Kingdom of God! He was made a man, just a little lower than the angels to suffer death for you and for me! He tasted death for EVERY man. He humbled Himself to be flesh and blood that He might destroy death, pain, sickness, disease and misery (Heb. 2:9, 14). Jesus Christ, the God that YOU killed was tempted just like you are tempted — yet He resisted without sin (Heb. 4:15). Our Savior fought the downward pull of the flesh just as you and I fight the battle. He was wearied by the flesh that cries out, "Oh wretched man that I am!" (Rom. 7:24) But He conquered this pull of death and sin perfectly to qualify to die for YOU! He resisted the carnal pull of flesh even unto blood. In agony He prayed earnestly for you and for me. "... and His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground" (Luke 22:44) None of us is worthy of so great a sacrifice, yet it took this Great One to pay for YOUR sins! His life as Creator of all mankind, of all matter of the earth and the universe is greater than all our lives rolled into one! He sat down with the Father and made the plans to come to this earth and suffer that we might live! He did this with joy. He took the job willingly. He predetermined to endure the cross that we might live (Heb. 12:2). Yes, this is the God in the flesh that YOU killed!! Just as surely as I killed that old Burmese man — you killed Jesus Christ! All of us individually are responsible for His death. His sacrifice, the thousands of years of POSITIVE, UNFAILING prophecy from Exodus 12 to Matthew 27:50 that predicted His death should inspire you to work harder — to resist evil with greater determination, to put sin out of your lives so that you can qualify to sit with Jesus Christ and rule from His throne. Christ's sacrifice, His love, inspires me to write of this great God who has given His all!! One day I'll be there with Jesus Christ when that old white-haired Burmese headmaster of the pack train is raised from the dead! I'll have one hundred years to teach him God's way! I'll be able to tell him, with tears in my eyes how sorry I am — and how his death twenty-five years ago helped clarify the fact that each one of YOU KILLED JESUS CHRIST! "For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore LET us KEEP THE FEAST, not with old leaven, with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread [the bread of life- Jesus Christ] of sincerity and truth!"