Three Against One
Christ was crucified due to three differing influences:
- The Imperial State of Rome
- The Religious Majority - Sanhedrin
- The Mob of Masses
Each played a role. Each cried "crucify Him!" Each sought to see Him remain in the grave so that His influence and teaching might die with Him. Yet all their efforts failed, having had their verdict overturned by the great Judge of Heaven. However, the enemies of the Crucified One do not retreat very easily. Each of them still seeks to crucify the Living Lord in each of us - even this very day.
What do I mean when I say this?
Literal Truth and Spiritual Truths
The Three Enemies all literally crucified Christ as a fact of history. There is no claim here that the understanding of these is spiritual or mystical only, as some deniers might have. However, as with most of Scripture, the events that God has set into motion as part of His plan have layers of manifold understanding. In these three enemies of Christ, we find the same at war with Him today.
The Imperial State seeks to crucify Christ afresh by tempting man to solve the soul-sickness of man through political means. Often, men who claim to be citizens of the Kingdom forgo the means by which their King has prescribed to vanquish sin, and instead seek to enact laws of men to try and curb wickedness. Rather than offering all men to come into the Kingdom, they go door to door and offer men to join their political coalition.
Yet we know that the sanctifying work of God cannot be achieved by obeying laws. If it were possible, the ancient nation of Israel would have succeeded. And yet, it transgressed and transgress again - and this was in a nation where men were willing to follow the commandments of God. In the present age, to attempt to make godless nations obey the laws of God, which is by nature contrary to the natural man, is a fool's errand. We cannot use worldly means to achieve God's ends.
This is why we are meant to be a holy Nation unto ourselves - A Kingdom which is not of this world. Let us realize that we are strangers and pilgrims upon this earth, and let us not crucify the Lord afresh by siding with Rome.
We are marching out of Babylon, not reforming it. Though Nero blame us for the burning of Rome, it is not our doing.
A living Christ within us will separate us from of the world outside of us. He will cause us to change, person by person, through sanctification, rather than through the paltry means of scheming men.
The Religious Majority seeks to crucify the living Lord in us by making the traditions of men as if they were the commandments of God. The Pharisees of Christ's day were formed from the long-term gathering and collecting of doctrines and reasoning over the centuries. These surmisals pile up, tainting the original message with the thoughts and commentaries of others coming after the fact.
In our case, this often manifests not only in doctrines and ways of thinking that do not exist in the apostolic forms of Christianity, but it also makes the modified version more palatable and acceptable to all. The true message of Christ will draw fewer. Though the invitation is broad, few answer, few follow.
As our brother, Deitrich Bonhoffer said, "When Christ calls a man, he bids him to come and die." For we all daily take up our cross and follow Him, die to self, and allow the Lord to raise us from the grave, fresh, new and glorified.
A Christianity without a cross is a Christianity without a crown. And this crossless, crownless Christianity is the message of the majority. Beware of it. First you shall die, but then you shall live.
The Mob of Masses crucifies the living Lord in us by means of ignorance and superstition. Knowledge is the companion of a lover of Truth, and nothing that is truly true is contrary to God, the Author of Truth. Our trust in God is not born out of fanciful stories and superstition, but upon fact and history. No other religion bears up under such claims.
Do not be swayed by group-think and the spirit of the age which seeks to mold your opinions based on hearsay and half-truths. Therefore, fulfill the commandment of Paul to his spiritual son Timothy - "Study to show thyself approved, as a workman that need not be ashamed."
We are not those who will be ignorant of the times, nor of the facts. Have a ready answer for the hope that is in you.
Do not be one who withers when questioned about the spiritual reality you experience. Do not be one that the prophet Isaiah spoke of, saying, "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge."
We are not naturally minded, carnally minded, covering our ears and our eyes to things that challenge us. Lovers of Truth have a love of hard questions. The world continues to ask the hard questions. Let us give them the hard answers, unashamed.
In short, the three enemies that seek to crucify the living Christ in you are:
Rome: Using the means of men over the means of God. Worldliness as a means to seek God's ends.
Sanhedrin: Traditions of men over the commandments of God. Spiritual Compromise.
Mob of Masses: Ignorance and superstition. Group-think.
If you deny these enemies their will upon you, you are surely on the golden path and through your own victorious life of resurrection, "ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men."