The word for this week is: Humanity.
The thought for this week is: Jesus’ crucifixion was done by humanity as well as for humanity.
Many of you are familiar with the legal trial process where decisions are handed down by a jury. Quite often, the jury selection process is very involved and can take as long as the actual trial itself. This is because both the prosecution and defense hope to seat a jury that is not predisposed to decide against their side. In-fact, they work diligently to select jurors they hope will be sympathetic to their side. When Jesus was brought to trial, it became quickly evident that he was not going to be afforded a just verdict. Everyone involved had made up their minds before the trial even started. Pilate was convinced that Jesus was innocent; however, he wanted to avoid handing down a sentence that set Jesus free as the Jewish leaders believed he was guilty and were very vocal on this matter. We watch as Pilate comes up with several clever ways of how to avoid making a decision one way or the other and attempts to release Jesus and pacify the Jews at the same time. In other words, he was content to sit on the fence and try to be just and unjust at the same time.
Read Matthew 27:11-26 and try to understand why Jesus had to die. What do you learn about Pilate’s character? Notice the fears that he displays. In verse 22, Pilate asks “What shall I do then with Jesus who is called Christ”? We see Pilate trying to remove himself from this decision and avoid the responsibility of the decision. What do you think Pilate is trying to do when he displays the washing of his hands? The response to Pilate’s question is a profound prophecy by the people as they shout, “Let his blood be on us and on our children”. It is obvious that Jesus is brought to the cross by human sin, but note that he was not a martyr. Instead, he goes to his death willingly and with purpose.
Before we can begin to recognize the cross as something done for us, which leads us to faith, we first must understand that the cross was something done by us, which leads to repentance. Jesus’ trial becomes a parallel to the ways that humanity tries to avoid submitting to Christ. We are in-fact the people in the crowd shouting let his blood be on our heads. And, we are Pilate sending Jesus to the cross. Meditate and pray through the following scripture: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole”. He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” (Gal. 3:13-14)
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we are grateful for Jesus’ willingness to endure the cross for us. Allow your Spirit to dwell within us so that we will have a more complete understanding of your will in our lives. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
By Rory Barneche