An angry mob stands at the foot of the cross. No one really sees the Man. Although He had healed their sick, raised their dead, cast out their demons, increased their understanding and filled their mouths, He had not satisfied their personal agendas for justice. The anger and hate that we develop for a man who won’t kill with us is remarkable! Our response to Jesus Christ was the classic childish tantrum: we wouldn’t give to Him what He wouldn’t give to us. So we withheld justice.
The irony in the story is that Jesus Christ actually did satisfy our personal need for justice. “For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification,” Romans 5:16. “Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men,” Romans 5:18. But we were so bent on getting it for ourselves that we arranged for the execution of our own vengeance.
Humanity exists in the midst of a bloodbath. Everyone seeking to take a life. “…the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. …Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse,” Hosea 4:1-4. What begins as the victimization of our ignorance becomes the uncontrollable force of seeking retribution. We don’t really like to see ourselves that way. We like to think that we deserve what we take. We like to believe that we are only fulfilling a need. Even if that need is to take our own lives. But, in the end, it doesn’t matter if we deserved the fulfillment or not. Jesus Christ revealed to us through His willingness to give His life to us, that no one is to demand personal justice. “If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world,” John 18:36. But rather, we are here to do what is good for others….
At the cross, I see that I am only angry because He does not give me what I want. I also see that I only wanted to use Him to fulfill my personal justice. I didn’t love Him. I didn’t care about the welfare of this Beloved Image-Bearer. Although He was everything I really needed, He wasn’t everything I really wanted. His Life could be exposed of for all I cared. Silver? Thirty pieces of silver? Ok. He isn’t helping us overthrow the government and He certainly hasn’t stopped my husband from being unkind. My boss is still stingy and my mother-in-law nags. He didn’t do anything about it. So sure, I’ll say whatever you want me to. I could use the money anyway. God hasn’t helped. I can do without Him. …and anyone else who doesn’t help me.