— Matthew 27:15-22
“This is an innocent man.” Unfortunately innocence and guilt will not be the basis of Pilate’s decision. He is a politician and has political concerns that are more important to him than innocence and guilt. He knew the Jewish leaders’ motivations and ambitions. Jesus’ apparent powerlessness made him expendable. With no disciples or friends there to plead Jesus’ case, he is doomed. In a political fight, you need numbers. All of Jesus’ friends had forsaken him and fled except for a handful of women. But the issue of innocence and guilt is magnified when Jesus’ opponents ask for a murderer to be released in Jesus’ place. Not only is Jesus innocent, he will be sentenced to death and a murderer will go free. Pilate uses the crowd’s input as a way of giving them what they want. They ask for Jesus to be crucified, a punishment reserved for the scum of criminals. The only justice served in this mess, is God’s. He uses Jesus’ death to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
Holy and loving God, the travesty of Jesus’ crucifixion strikes me fresh again as I read this account of his mistreatment. I can clearly see the injustice he faced as he died for sin. But what most profoundly humbles me, your perfect son died for my sins, he was executed in my place. Thank you for this grace and please forgive me for the times I have not lived with passion and grace because of this tremendous sacrifice. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
- Mark 15:6-11