Saturday, 12 April 2014
…which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 1 Corinthians 2:8
Paul is continuing the thought from the previous verse which said, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory,…”
This “wisdom of God” was hidden from the eyes of the “rulers of this age,” both Jew and Gentile. Paul says that if they, in fact knew what was coming, “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” And yet, this is exactly what was needed in order for we as humans to be saved from our sins. There had to be a perfect Substitute to take our place.
The question then arises, “What does it mean that if they had ‘known, they would not have’ done what they did?” The reason this is important is because it can be looked at from two different perspectives:
1) If they knew that Jesus was the incarnate Word, the Son of God, they wouldn’t have dared to crucify Him, knowing who He truly was.
2) If they knew that His crucifixion would prove that He is Lord, they would never have crucified Him; thus they would have attempted to thwart God’s plans.
In Acts 2:36, it states this, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”
Knowing this even after the resurrection, they still rejected him for the most part, though many believed. So the question remains open. What does it mean that if they knew the outcome of the cross of Christ, they wouldn’t have crucified Him? These people were utterly and completely ignorant of the wisdom of God revealed in Christ, but today the “wise” of the world have heard the message of Christ and they still reject it. In fact, from time to time someone will utter the immensely stupid words, “When Jesus comes back, kill Him again.”
If Jesus is to come back, it implies a few things: 1) He is alive (and thus over 2000 years old in His humanity); 2) He really came out of the grave, having prevailed over death; 3) Death cannot hold him (see Acts 2:24) and so “killing Him again” is utterly ridiculous; 4) He must be God incarnate; 5) If He is God incarnate, then the words of the Bible which testify about Him must be true; 6) He then is the only way to be saved.
And yet, despite these logical deductions, His rule and authority are still rejected! Thus, it is not inconceivable that Paul is saying that rather than not crucifying Christ because they would have loved Him, instead they may not have crucified Him in order to thwart the plans God had to exalt Him because of His work; in essence they would have hated what the cross meant, just as the world hates it and fights against it today.
The leaders of Israel knew Him to be a man of God, they saw His miracles, they heard His words, and yet they rejected Him. But the very rejection that they planned was a part of God’s own plans for them, or for anyone who would be willing to drop their fists, humble their hearts, and call on this wonderful Lord of glory. This is the amazing thing about the work of God in Christ. Even those who participated in His crucifixion could only be saved because of His crucifixion. What an amazing demonstration of the wisdom of God in Christ.
Life application: Never underestimate the hardness of the human heart. Those who reject Christ are at enmity with God. Even knowing who Jesus is and what He did for us, many hate Him all the more. Be ready to defend your faith, proclaim it boldly, and sometimes to do so many times. With witness, prayer, and perseverance even the hardest heart may soften.
Heavenly Father, my prayer today is for those who have heard of Your immense love in the giving of Your Son and who have yet to receive this beautiful gift. Help me to be a strong witness of the great change that can take place in even the hardest heart. Be glorified in calling them to Yourself through Jesus. This is my prayer to You this day. Amen.