Many of my religious friends are convinced that God could not possibly have permitted wicked people to kill Jesus Christ. Instead, they say, “Someone else was put on the cross and God made people think it was Jesus.”
But when I ask, “Who was it?” they have different answers. Some say it was Judas Iscariot. Others think it was a volunteer who was promised Paradise if he would take Jesus’ place on the cross. Still others say it was a passerby.
I have heard 12 different views in all. Many of my religious and moral friends believe their view to be true, but I cannot agree with their theories about the cross. And here are my reasons.
First, many prophecies, written hundreds of years before Christ came, speak of His death on our behalf. Although these prophecies condemn the Jews for killing Christ, they are still in their Holy Book. The Jews dare not change a word. For example, Isaiah says: “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities … All we like sheep have gone astray … and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all … He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors” (53:5,6,12).
Most Jewish teachers tell their people not to read this chapter. But this is only one prophecy about the death of Christ on our behalf. The prophet David in the Psalms (El Zaboor) wrote about Christ’s hands and feet being pierced (22:16). This happened in the crucifixion.
Second, eyewitnesses recorded the death of Christ. They had nothing to gain in making up a story about insulting their beloved Teacher and Lord. They do not have 12 theories. They have the facts. They were shocked at His death, but when He rose from the dead they were overjoyed. Christ already told them this would happen. This alone is proof that no one else died on the cross.
Once my friends see there are definite proofs that Christ died on the cross they ask: “Could not God have delivered Him from the hands of the wicked?” I reply that Christ could have asked the Father to send twelve armies of angels to destroy these people (Matthew 26:53).
When they ask why He did not, I have a chance to present the most important point in the whole argument. Christ was not forced to die, nor was He defeated. Christ came to this earth to die for our sins. There was no other way for us to be saved from the eternal damnation we all deserve as sinners.
The Savior had to be sinless, and Christ is the only One who never sinned. He willingly died on our behalf and bore the punishment of our sins so “that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission (forgiveness) of sins” (Acts 10:43). “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which men must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Dear Reader, our own efforts will never save us. The Bible clearly states this: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Do you want God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life? Then receive Christ by faith in your heart!
Scriptures from The New King James Version, © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. By permission.
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