Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?

standing by the cross
“Were you there when they crucified my Lord? Were you there when they crucified my Lord……?” So began a song we used to sing every Easter in the church in which I grew up. Imagine an angry crowd, hypocritical religious leaders, the long walk to the cross, the pain and confusion of the disciples, and, finally, the physical and mental anguish of Jesus himself. But then Sunday comes and everything changes. Fear, pain, and confusion slowly give way to awe, amazement, and astonishment.

Those who loved Jesus had watched as he was crucified, but now he’s no longer in his tomb. Finally, they encounter the resurrected Savior, and they are so happy they can’t believe their eyes. But as Jesus appears to them repeatedly over the course of 40 days, they realize it’s really true. Jesus is alive!

Were we there when they crucified him? No, not physically. But, as Christians, we journey daily to the cross, and we are reminded of what it really costs to be a Christian. It’s easy to take grace for granted because it’s given so abundantly. Sometimes we forget that, though we live, we should have died. Every sin we’ve ever committed deserves death. In the Old Testament, this truth was played out in detail on numerous occasions, to the discomfort of many Christians and non-Christians alike. But what was the point? Simply that God is holy, and sin cannot go unpunished. All of us deserve death, but, through Jesus Christ, we obtained life.

At this time of year, we are nearer to the cross than at any other time as we read the Gospels, attend plays, watch movies, and attend church services commemorating the enormous debt that Jesus paid on our behalf. I was there and so were you, as Jesus took upon himself our sins, one by one, and forgave them all.

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