Here is the second part of my little speech I'm preparing for church this upcoming Easter Sunday:
But although He created the world, and He came to His own chosen people, Israel, through whom all the promises of Scripture were given, He was not known nor received by them (John 1:10-11).
This is how the Son of God was treated when God came as a man to earth:
• He was sought after to be killed by Herod and became a fugitive in Egypt as an infant.
• He was disbelieved by His own home town, and when His words offended them, they tried to throw Him over a cliff.
• He was disbelieved by His own brothers.
• He was hated by the religious leaders of His time, who repeatedly plotted to have Him arrested and put to death.
• He was accused of being demon possessed.
• While many believed in Him during the time He was healing and doing miracles, everyone forsook Him when He was arrested.
• A man who had followed Him, heard His teaching, saw Him heal thousands and perform countless miracles, betrayed Him for money and afterward, Judas committed suicide.
• Peter, who was one of Jesus' three closest followers, swore with curses that he did not know Him after the betrayal.
• Only false witnesses spoke at His trial, nobody defended Him.
• The high priest and all the Sanhedrin accused God's Son of blasphemy.
• He was punched, spit on, mocked and condemned.
• Pilate wanted to let Him go as innocent, but the Jews insisted that He die in place of a murderer.
• The Romans beat Him and mocked Him and crucified the Son of God.
• Jesus was rejected and hated all His life, from His birth to His death.
• When God came into the world, the world quickly got rid of Him.
The words of Jesus came true when He said, "And this is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their works were evil" (John 3:19). And Isaiah had written long before that, "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3).
Jesus taught that each one of us are in the same sinful condition apart from His saving grace. He said we are slaves to our sin if we do not continue in His Word, because only the truth will set us free (John 8:31-32, 34). Jesus also described our hearts as the source of all kinds of evil in Mark 7:21. No one is guiltless, because Jesus said in Mark 10:18 that "No one is good but God alone." Jesus clearly taught that all human beings, including you and me, are sinfully wicked by nature and need to be born again and cleansed from our sins. Therefore, we should not think that we are somehow morally better than those who rejected Christ, since we have the same sinful nature as they did.
Nevertheless, His rejection and murder, Jesus had said, happened to fulfill what was written in Scripture (Matthew 26:24,31; Luke 20:17; 22:37; 24:46; John 15:25). Isaiah 53:10 said, "Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand."
It was God who sent His Son to die. It was God who worked through the events of the betrayal and crucifixion of Jesus, by crushing him under the wrath and judgment that our sins deserved.
But of course, the story doesn't end here at the cross...