Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”
Psalm 2 looks forward in time to the world’s stand against God’s anointed, and all those who were directly involved: Herod, who questioned Jesus and “treated him with contempt and mocked him” before sending him back to the Roman ruler Pontius Pilate (Luke 23:6-12); Pilate, who gave the final permission to execute Jesus; the people of Israel who cried out “Crucify him”; and the Roman soldiers who finally pierced and nailed the Christ to the cross.
God became a man, and man hunted God down. I once heard about a school Easter pageant in London, organized by a lady who was not a Christian. She asked a local minister to give an address at the pageant, suggesting topics such as ‘Peace for our world’ or ‘Love in a loveless world’. But the minister informed the woman, “I will be speaking on the topic, ‘Given half a chance, man’s first inclination when he meets God face to face is to kill him’”.
We need to remember that what they did to Jesus at the cross is what we in our sins have always been trying to do—in essence, remove God from our lives; break free, once and for all.
In their song ‘When Love Comes to Town’, the mega- band U2 captures our personal connection with the events of the cross:
I was there when they crucified my Lord
I held the scabbard when the soldier drew his sword
I threw the dice when they pierced his side
But I’ve seen love conquer the great divide.
As I pondered Ray’s reflections on the plotting of the people against the Lord’s anointed in Psalm 2, I was reminded of the first time that I really understood my sin, in all its terrifying ferocity.
It was Easter time. As part of the service we were shown the crucifixion scene from the Jesus Film, but instead of its usual audio, there was music playing in the background. As I watched the soldiers nailing Jesus to the cross and the crowds scorning him from below, I distinctly recall having a sense of righteous anger towards them. Then suddenly and painfully, I heard the words of the song in the background,
“Behold the man upon a cross, my sin upon his shoulders. Ashamed I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.”
Like a bolt out of the blue it hit me. I was responsible for Jesus death! My sin had put him on that cross as surely as if my own hands had hammered the nails in. It was a shocking realisation but one that needed to come. For it was only in understanding the magnitude of my sin, that I could truly see the magnificence of my Saviour.