31st March 2013

Speaking Of Death

“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.”
Romans 6:8-9 NIV (UK)

You probably know the old Spiritual “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” To answer that question, “Yes—you were there,” in a way you may not have thought about before.

Not long after Jesus was crucified, one of the first Christian leaders, Stephen, was hauled before the religious court for blasphemy and heresy. In a bold speech, he told his accusers who Jesus was, and then said, “you have betrayed and murdered him” (Acts 7:52).

Stephen wasn’t only referring to that particular group of men. He realised that everyone, because of the guilt of their sins, had a responsibility for Jesus’ crucifixion. The priests and religious leaders of the time accused him and the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, may have signed the death warrant, but we were all accomplices to the murder of our Lord and Saviour.

But our involvement in the death of Jesus is much more than being an ‘accomplice’ to his murder. We were also included in his sentence of death. When Pontius Pilate gave the order for Jesus to be crucified, he sentenced himself and everyone else to death as well.

The apostle Paul wrote: “We are convinced, that one died for all, and therefore all died.” (2 Corinthians 5:14). Your nosey neighbour, your nearest and dearest, your enemy in battle, your loved one locked in suffering, the hungry child in famine, those caught up in the tragedies of earthquakes and tsunamis, your boss at work, those trapped in false religion, the worst of terrorists, the best of heroes—they all died in Christ Jesus.

A couple of verses later, Paul tells us that on the cross, God “was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them” (2 Corinthians 5:19). Jesus died for everyone who has ever lived and who shall live. No one was excluded from the effectiveness of his sacrifice. Everyone was involved in his death. There were no exceptions.

It means that our past, no matter how desperate or depraved, was nailed to the cross. It means that through Jesus’ sacrifice we have all been forgiven whether we accept it or not. It means that everyone, irrespective of race or religion, was crucified with Christ.

And it means even more than that. It means that there is hope for us all because, as Paul wrote: “now, if we all died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him” (Romans 6:8). That’s why Christians are so committed to spreading the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. It’s a call to believe in the one who loves and gave himself for us—the one who, as Revelation 1:5, puts it: “has freed us from our sins by his own blood.”

Jesus not only died for us, he rose for us as well. Were we there when they crucified our Lord? Yes, we were there.

Prayer
Thank you, holy Father, for the wonder of salvation—that Christ died for all that all may be with him for all eternity. That that is our daily reality, those you have called to you. Truly it is Good News, and we seek now, according to your will, to disseminate that Good News throughout this world, desperate for Good News. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Amen
 


About the Author:

Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA.

You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.

Contact:

Email: admin@daybyday.org.uk

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