Like children on a playground who like a good fight, guided by peer pressure into things they wouldn’t normally do, promised good things by influencers, or coerced to join them because they are more powerful, the crowds yell, “Crucify Him!”
God’s Chosen People have betrayed their long-awaited Messiah. Prophets said they would and they did. The prophets also told of the way Jesus would be killed for the sins of the world. Isaiah, centuries earlier, gives the clearest description of how the Messiah would take the sins of world, yours and mine, beaten and put to death to pay our debt. What crime? Our crime of sin. The wounds Jesus endured from his beatings brought healing to us. Camp on that thought this morning.
Let’s visit Isaiah 53 before reading Matthew’s account;
“Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely, he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied;
by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53, NIV)
Matthew—God’s Word Fulfilled
Matthew 27:11-23, NLT
Jesus’ Trial before Pilate
11 Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him.
Jesus replied, “You have said it.”
12 But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. 13 “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. 14 But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.
15 Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. 16 This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas. 17 As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)
19 Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”
20 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. 21 So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?”
The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”
22 Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”
They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
23 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”
But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”
24 Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”
25 And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!”
26 So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.
Even Pilot, a Roman official, caught in the middle of the plot to kill Jesus by the Jewish leaders, “knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.”
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
“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.” John 3:16
From the beginning of Creation, God made humans in his image, (Imago Dei) with a desire and delight for his created to love Him back in an intimate, holy relationship. He made a way for this to happen—Jesus.
“If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
Saved from what? I’m a good person. Being good isn’t the point, being saved by grace is essential to our faith in God and our growing relationship with Him through Jesus, His Son. By the way, no one is “good”.
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.” Romans 3:23-25
Our crime led to our punishment for our sin. Jesus took the punishment for our sin as only “he who knew no sin” could. Debt paid in full. Praise God for a way out and back to Him in holy relationship!
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6, NIV Jesus came to provide the Way to God, was Truth by example who led all who believe to Life, real life, eternal.
Lord and Savior,
Thank you for saving my soul and making me whole again. Thank you for taking on the punishment we deserve for our sins in such a horrific way. Thank you for leading us to God, telling the world about God then dying and rising again so we could have a pure, intimate, growing relationship with God! I have not arrived. The more I learn from you the more I want to learn more about You. Continue to transform this saved soul into all you created me to be, then do according to your will and purpose. Because now, I’m set free! All because of You! To You be all glory, honor and praise forevermore!
In Jesus Name, Amen