It’s very trendy these days to bow to the pressure of postmodernism and avoid discussions of truth, or at least absolute truth. But it seems to me that Jesus was crucified for defending the truth. The truth of his identity.
I thought I’d use this post to highlight the points in the final hours of Jesus’ life where his identity plays a key role.
- Judas (22:3-6): Many writers have suggested that Judas betrayed Jesus because it became clear that he was not the type of Messiah that Judas expected or wanted.
- Peter (22:31-33): Peter didn’t blatantly challenge Jesus, but his contradiction of him indicates that he did not fully accept Jesus’ identity as God in the flesh.
- Sanhedrin (22:66-71): In v71, it was Jesus’ confirmation, or at least lack of denial, that he was “The Son of God” [emphasis mine] that in the mind of the council justified the charge of blasphemy.
- Pilate (23:3): Since the charge the Jews brought against Jesus was “subverting the nation”, Pilate sought to determine if Jesus posed a threat to Caesar. “Are you the king of the Jews?”
- Herod (23:6): Herod wasn’t really interested in Jesus’ claims, but the fact that Jesus was a Galilean was what brought him before Herod.
- Soldiers (23:36): “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”
- Sign (23:38): The charge for which Jesus was being executed was nailed above his head, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.“
- Criminal #1 (23:39): “Aren’t you the Messiah?”
- Criminal #2 (23:42): He accepts Jesus claim of kingship and even seems to grasp the nature of the kingdom, which Jesus own disciples struggled to do.
- Centurion (23:47): The final testimony on the life and identity of Jesus, in this scene, comes from a Roman soldier, “Surely this was a righteous man.“
Yes, Jesus died so that the sins of the world could be forgiven, but he died defending the truth that he was/is “THE Son of God” and “King of the Jews”.
- How important is the identity of Jesus to your faith?
- Do you think churches do a good job of teaching and emphasising this point?
- What are the implications of this truth in our attitudes toward other religions?