People opposed Jesus during his time on Earth for a variety of reasons, all stemming from evil, the Rev. Billy Graham says in response to a questioner who asked why people plotted to have our Savior killed.
The renowned pastor explains on the "My Answers" section of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's website that Jesus was not loved by all 2,000 years ago or even today.
People opposed Jesus for various reasons, Graham explains, including Jesus' call to end oppression, pride and greed, or Jesus' claim to be the son of God.
Graham notes that while some "didn't want to change" or "repent," others didn't want to believe Jesus' identity. All of these sentiments stem from evil and Satan's influence on human hearts.
"Behind it all, however, was the stark reality of human evil — evil that comes ultimately from Satan, the enemy of our souls," Graham writes.
"Satan rejoiced when Jesus' enemies nailed Him to the cross; Satan thought he had won. But he hadn't — because three days later Jesus Christ conquered death, and Hell, and sin, and Satan by His resurrection from the dead."
The Baptist minister then asks Christians to reflect on which side they would have been on. Would they have demanded that Jesus be nailed to the cross? Or would they have followed Him to the end and believed in His resurrection?
Graham concludes his advice column by referencing John 3:16, which states: "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."
The 97-year-old evangelical leader has spoken on the importance of maintaining faith in God despite naysayers and daily doubts.
In a December 2013 post, Graham encourages Christians to avoid letting their "doubts crowd out Jesus."
The preacher says that while some may wish to witness a greater presence from God in their daily lives, that presence is already there.
"Yes, you wish God would speak to you so you could know for sure that He exists. But He has already spoken to you — and to the whole human race! Do you want to know what God is like? Look at Jesus Christ, and when you do, you'll discover not only that God exists, but also that He loves you and wants you to come to know Him personally," Graham explains, adding that Christians will feel God's presence once they "turn to God in repentance and faith, and turn your life over to Jesus."
"Don't let your doubts crowd out Jesus, but let Jesus crowd out your doubts. And He will, as you come — like the shepherds on that first Christmas — and humble yourself before Him," Graham adds.
In an August post, the preacher calls on Christians to not wallow in their religious doubts, but rather offer them to the Lord and allow Him to nurture their faith.
"What will you do with your doubts? Will you let them take root and grow in your heart and mind? Will you even take pride in displaying them (as some people do)? Or will you turn them over to God and ask Him to help you grow stronger in your faith?" Graham questions.
Ultimately, the evangelical preacher encourages Christians not to "stand still in your faith."
"Instead, make sure of your commitment to Jesus Christ, and then learn to walk with Him every day. Build your life on the foundation of God's Word, the Bible, and seek His help in prayer and in fellowship with other believers," Graham says.