Today is when the Church celebrates the Sunday when Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey. Today we wave palm branches around and sing songs about Hosanna to the coming King, much like the people did on that day.
We in present day know what’s coming. We know that in five short days, Jesus will go from hero to accused. He will go from riding victoriously into Jerusalem to being led to a criminal’s execution outside the city. In five days, Jesus will be dead.
I also remember that when I was younger, I went to a youth conference led by a well-known speaker and author. He went into graphic detail about every step of the journey that took Jesus from the trials to the cross, including the whips, the crown of thorns, the robes, and every gory detail of what happened on that cross. Then he told us that it was us who killed Jesus. Specifically, it was our sin that killed Jesus. A lot of students made decisions for Jesus, and while some did it out of true faith, a lot did it out of guilt and manipulation.
I’ve heard a lot about who’s to blame for killing Jesus. Was it the Jewish leaders who demanded that He be crucified and Barabbas released? Was it it the Romans who actually nailed Jesus to the wooden cross? Was it you and me and our sin that put Jesus to death?
Ultimately, it wasn’t any of these who killed Jesus. It was Jesus who made the sacrifice and willingly gave up His life. In John 10:17-18. Jesus said, “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
My sin didn’t have the power to kill Jesus. Neither did the Jewish leaders or the Romans. If Jesus had wanted to, He could have easily overcome all of them, but He chose the way of Calvary. He chose the whips and the crown of thorns and the nails. He chose it all for you and me.
It’s wasn’t sin that kept Jesus on that cross. It was love that held Him there. The cross wasn’t the result of defeat at the hands of the Jews or Romans. The cross was the ultimate victory that made it possible for you and I to know true and abiding life that lasts forever. While you do see in the book of Acts where Peter said that those Jewish leaders were responsible for Jesus being crucified, it was Jesus who allowed it to happen and who became the perfect Passover sacrifice, once and for all.