Sunday School 101 teaches us to be good Christians so God can work through us. However, the story of the crucifixion takes that methodology and throws it out the window. God didn’t utilize our good works to get Jesus to the cross. He accomplished that mission by using our sins. Our sins led to the arrest of Jesus. Our sins mocked Jesus. Our sins beat and hung Him on the cross to die. If the Bible is true, God proved that He can accomplish just as much with our sins as He can with our good deeds. Ouch!
If the above statements make you mad, it’s probably why God chose to accomplish the crucifixion the way He did, without our help. He didn’t want us to become prideful by thinking we had a role in overcoming sin. I’m not saying that God won’t use a good Christian person to accomplish a task or calling. I’m saying that God is so powerful that He can work through both sins and good deeds. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:20, “but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles.” The crucifixion of Christ is a stumbling block because prideful people can’t comprehend how something that important didn’t include them. The crucifixion is folly to sinners because they can’t understand how someone could love them that much.
The story of how Jesus was crucified and raised from the dead is the good news! It’s good news because the only thing He had to work with was our sins. He didn’t take our good works and turn them into salvation. He took our sins and turned them into salvation. This is good news for the believer trying to live a righteous life; perfect performance isn't required for God to show up and make an impact. This is also good news for the unbeliever; the only requirement is to hand over your sins, repent, and confess that He died for them. He can do wondrous things with your sin—even if that’s all you have to give Him.
God didn’t require any effort from us on crucifixion day. He did it alone. It's hard to accept that statement if we have the smallest amount of pride in our lives. However, realizing this and genuinely believing in His power can free us from the lie that perfect performance is required. I’m not claiming that we shouldn’t strive to be perfect (read Romans 6:12). I’m saying that we should stop putting limitations on when and how God can work within our lives and those around us. It’s possible that God can take that moment you failed as a parent and turn it into a cornerstone of your child’s life. It’s possible that God will allow addiction to manifest in a region because He knows that someone will rise from that sin and point people to the cross with the same passion the Apostle Paul had.
The enemy has us believing that because sin is present, God is somehow not in control and is unable to do His wonders—the cross says otherwise. At the time of crucifixion, the government and church were corrupt, the people were clueless and sinful, and the court system operated on public opinion (read about Barabbas in Mathew 27). With all this chaos, it would be easy to assume that God wasn’t present. However, He was physically there! We must look at that moment in time and determine that chaos doesn’t mean a lack of God’s presence. It could point to the fact that He is at work and up to something.
The crucifixion is a true love story. We had nothing to offer but our sins. He had everything to give. He purposely orchestrated the whole event to avoid any confusion on what He was dying for. Sinners arrested Him. Sinners beat Him. Sinners crucified Him. He died for sinners. “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love” (Romans 8:38).