DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: I know Christians like to say that Jesus willingly went to the cross for us, but I’m not so sure. I decided to read the Bible some before Easter, and I don’t think Jesus had any choice. He didn’t choose to die. The Roman soldiers caught him and killed him. — P.D.
DEAR P.D.: On one level, you’re right, of course. Jesus was captured by soldiers who were sent to arrest him, and then they mocked him, tortured him and finally put him to death. Furthermore, it was the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, who gave the official approval for his crucifixion.
But if you’d examined the life of Jesus more closely, you would have discovered that almost from the beginning of his ministry Jesus knew he would be put to death. As the final weeks of his ministry approached, he repeatedly told his disciples that it was God’s plan for him to give his life for the sins of the world.
And as he stood on trial before Pilate, he refused to deny the charges that had been lodged against him, accepting instead the inevitable sentence of death. He said, “The reason I was born and came into the world is to testify the truth” (John 18:37).
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The real question I challenge you to face is this: Why did Jesus choose to die? Why didn’t he escape, as he easily could have done? The reason is because he knew he had come into the world for one reason: to become the final and complete sacrifice for our sins.
We are separated from God because of our sins, and we deserve only God’s judgment. But on the cross Christ took upon himself the judgment we deserve. He gave his life for you, and may you respond by giving your life to him.
Write “My Answer,” Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201; or visit www.billygraham.org.
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