WHEN WE WERE WITHOUT STRENGTH
Leslie M. John
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6) Jesus had embarrassing situations earlier when Jews tried to harm Him, but no one could do any harm to him, because the due time for Him to die on behalf of us had not yet come (Ref. John 7:30).
Until the determined hour was come no one could do any harm to Jesus, and when the appointed hour was come, He was taken into custody by the chief priests and elders who took counsel against Him to put Him to death. “And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified” (John 12:23)
The events on the day of trial, as before the trial, and after the trial of Jesus, and the plan of man’s redemption were determined by the eternal counsel of the Almighty God.
“And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8)
All the disciples of Jesus scattered away, from the scene when Jesus was arrested, and left Him all alone in fulfillment of the prophecy by the prophet Zechariah. (Ref. Zechariah 13:7).
Peter denied Jesus three times in fulfillment of the prophecy from Jesus. Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus in fulfillment of the prophecy by the prophet Zechariah (Ref. Zechariah 11:12-13)
“Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones” (Zechariah 13:7)
While Peter repented and chose to serve the Lord, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus and committed suicide.
“But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:32)
“And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly” (Luke 22:61-62)
The chief priests and the elders of the people delivered Jesus in the morning to the governor, Pontius Pilate, for executing Jesus to death. If only they said Jesus violated their religious laws, Pilate would have let Jesus go even before the trial began, because Roman Government had no authority to deal with cases related to religious laws. Knowing this well, the Jews leveled false charges against Jesus; and the charges were related to treason, insurrection against Government. It was only few years ago before the crucifixion of Jesus that Roman Government stripped Jews from their power to inflict Capital punishment on those who broke their religious laws.
It was because they did not have any powers over Him, neither did Roman Government, unless they were given from heaven above, no one by his power could execute Jesus. Ultimately, after the trial of Jesus was over, He was found innocent. There was nothing, He did in His lifetime, which made Him worthy of death penalty.
Even secular law provides chance for the accused to be acquitted of unproved charges, but in the case of Jesus, Pontius Pilate, who boasted that he had the power to execute or release Jesus, delivered innocent Jesus to be crucified. Because it was the purpose of Jesus to die for men in their stead, He did not plead for his innocence or acquittal. All that Jesus did was good for mankind; such as healing the sick, casting away the devils from those who were afflicted by them. He taught repentance and the way to receive everlasting life.
The chief priests, the Jews and the elders of people feared that Jesus would become prominent among them, and would replace them in power. Therefore, they leveled false charges against Him and were determined to see that He was put to death. They even cried that the blood of Jesus to be upon them and their children.
Pilate found no fault in Jesus. Pilate’s wife was troubled in a dream about the illegal trial of Jesus and cautioned him; yet he delivered Jesus into their hands to do what they desired to do. The last attempt Pilate made was to release either a criminal, named Barabbas or Jesus according to their choice, and they preferred Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus. What a choice they made! They preferred to kill Jesus, who was good to them all His life, and to be robbed by Barabbas, the criminal.
They made a choice that the blood of Jesus to be on them, and their children, at the cost of some secular benefits. They preferred lies instead of truth saying Jesus resorted to insurrection. “The Son of man” would have gone as it was written about Him, but the tragedy was that they invited troubles for them, and preferred to receive punishment from God.
It is not that we loved God first but He loved us first, and that is the reason why He sent His one and only begotten Son into this world to die in our stead. He died for our sake and was buried. His body did not see corruption and He rose on the third day and after forty days He ascended into heaven.
“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”. (Philippians 2:8)