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Seeds of the Kingdom

Were You There?

by Ron Scurfield

7 November 2022

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I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Galatians 2:20, NIV

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” These words are from a spiritual, first published in 1899. It was thought to have been composed by enslaved African Americans in the late 19th century. They pose an intriguing question. Were you there?

At first it seems an impossible scenario. Jesus died over 2000 years ago. None of us had been born then. How could we have been there? The song continues with the words, ‘Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble’. I wonder if it does the same for you. I know for myself, when I think about it, certain emotions rise up within me, extreme sadness mixed with heartfelt gratitude. I just want to express myself by saying, “Thank you, Jesus.”

Let’s consider this: Where was I when Jesus died? Where were you when Jesus died? The apostle Paul said, “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20). He is obviously talking about an event that has already happened, saying, ‘and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.’ Paul found his new life in Christ, born again of the Holy Spirit, and goes on to explain, ‘If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has gone and the new has come’ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

But where has his old life gone, and when did it go? The answer is that Paul’s old life was put to death on the day Jesus died on Calvary. Similarly, when we are born again, the old is gone and the new has come. Our old life, like that of Paul, is crucified on the cross of Christ.

Paul said, “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3). We too were in Christ when He died. Since His death was on behalf of all mankind, when Jesus took the sins of the world on His shoulders, all died. For Christs love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died’ (2 Corinthians 5:14). ‘For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive’ 1 Corinthians (15:22).

We become born again the moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Saviour. ‘And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit’ (Ephesians 1:13).

Unless we make a decision for Christ and accept the new life He offers, we are still dead in our sins. We can remain in this condition, in denial of the sacrifice made for our salvation, until the end of our time on earth, and beyond. Or we can receive with gratitude the gift of a new life purchased for us through much pain and suffering on the cross of Christ. ‘Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble. Were you there when they crucified my Lord?’

Ron Scurfield with his wife Jill, are part of the Associate Ministry Team at Ellel Grange and occasionally Ellel Scotland. Ron enjoys walking and writing and meeting interesting people, but his greatest joy is seeing God transform lives, setting people free to live the abundant life that Jesus intended.


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