Read through the Gospels in a Year: Matthew 27:27-44
Read the New Testament in a Year: Romans 13
Although Jesus was the long-awaited king, he was not the kind of king that the people expected – such as one who would go from one great victory to another. Rather, Jesus had to deal with envy, false accusations, unjust criticism, unfairness, misunderstanding, weak authorities, mockery and insults from religious people and the secular world – even the robbers. It came from all sides. Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent. He realized that it was ‘out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him’ (Matthew 27:18). (Envy is often the sin of the religious. There is a temptation to envy those whom God appears to be using more than he is using us.) Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent for another reason also. His wife had been warned in a dream and confirmed that Jesus was an ‘innocent man’ (v.19). He foolishly ignored her advice. Ironically, the man who was to be remembered throughout history as the one responsible for the death of Jesus (‘crucified under Pontius Pilate’ – recited in the creed for hundreds of years throughout the world) tried to avoid responsibility by blaming others: ‘I am innocent… It is your responsibility!’ (v.24).
Jesus’ blood was shed as he was flogged and handed over to be crucified (vv.24–26b). Again, ironically those who passed by said, ‘Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!’ (v.40b), but Jesus died as the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. The onlookers didn’t understand that Jesus’ self-sacrifice was voluntary. They said, ‘He saved others… but he can’t save himself!’ (v.42a).
He saved you and me because he was willing not to save himself.]]>