When I was a very young child my mother took me to a local church to see the film version of The Passion Players' Life of Christ. It produced a strong reaction in me, and when the crowd on the screen started chanting for the crucifixion of Jesus, my mother took me from the audience. I remember asking how anyone could do such a terrible thing to such a gentle and kind person. I have no recollection of anything following that incident until many years later, following my marriage. One sunny afternoon as I sat alone in our small apartment, I happened to be playing a recording of Harry Belafonte's version of "Were you there when they crucified my Lord?" I broke at that point with the inner revelation that not only was I there when He was crucified, but also I was the one who put Him there. I guess my life changed at that point. I realized that I was a member of that crowd that shouted for His crucifixion and I was revolted that I could be a part of such an atrocity.
I spent many years trying to make up for my part in His death, until I had no more strength left. The Apostle Paul's record of his own experience in Romans 7 came alive to me. The harder I tried to be good in order to show God how I sorry I was for my part in that great atrocity, the more I found that evil was always present. Very slowly, I would almost say agonizingly slowly, He began to reveal the truth of it all...that the cross was His greatest gift to me and that, in truth, the whole world was wrapped up in that raucous crowd. It was God all the whileWho put His Son on that cross FOR me. Then finally, when I took this gift personally, He revealed to me through Paul's Galatians 2:20 that it was Christ AS me on that cross. Sin was dealt a death blow and I was forgiven. More than that (as tremendous as that is), He revealed that just as MY death was accomplished in HIS death, MY life is now His Own Life ... His resurrected and ascended Life. So...it is "no longer I that live, but Christ". No longer self-conscious living under the condemnation of the Law but Christ-conscious living under grace.