By Allen White
Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.
While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”
But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.
“Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.
“Barabbas,” they answered.
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”
Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Jesus’ death was motivated by politics, fueled by hatred, and appointed by God. This is hard to reconcile. These things shouldn’t go together. Two wrongs don’t make a right, right?
The mind of God is difficult to understand. God is not like us. The passion of the Christ is not just a clever screen play to unravel. It’s difficult to understand, yet the result is essential to salvation.
None of us wish to think about the torture of our Savior. Yet, none of us wish to think about our own torture in Hell. Jesus paid the price for our sins. In the most painful, humiliating way, God took our place. That’s hard to understand.
Why did Pilate wash his hands of innocent blood, then have Jesus flogged before he turned Him over to be crucified? Was Pilate proving he was tough on crime? Did he have an image to uphold with the crowd? Wasn’t crucifixion enough?
How could the wicked acts of people prove out the will of God? Did God insight this evil? Or, did He just use something that was already there? It’s difficult to understand.
Why did God require Jesus’ sacrifice in order to forgive our sins? After all, you and I can forgive someone without bloodshed. But, God is not like us.
Holiness and righteous are core to God’s Being. These aren’t character qualities God has developed over time. These are essential to Who He is along with love, goodness, and justice. Theologically, we refer to these as the “moral attributes of God.” To lack any of this would cause God not to be God according to Scripture.
Our sin violates God’s character. It doesn’t just offend Him. Sin puts people in direct opposition to a Holy God. We are His enemies. No amount of begging or self-improvement will ever satisfy our need for a Savior.
In His mercy, God sent His Son to take our place. Jesus lived a perfect, sinless life. He was the only perfect sacrifice for our sins.
But, God is a just God. Why didn’t He just reject human beings and move on? He could justifiably give us what we deserve.
God is also Love. By offering His Son for our sins, God created a situation where He accepts even those who reject Him. People don’t go to Hell because God sends them there. It’s our choice to accept or reject God’s forgiveness.
I don’t understand the pain of the cross. I don’t understand the love of God. But, I’m glad He does.
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