Friday 22 April 2022

Matthew 27:11-26 (NIV)

11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” “You have said so,” Jesus replied. 12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor. 15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 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?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him. 19 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.” 20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. 21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor. “Barabbas,” they answered. 22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” 23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” 24 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!” 25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

When I was younger, both in age and in faith, I would read passages such as these in the Bible and essentially have thoughts and questions that went like this: “How could these people have done this to Jesus? Why would they have wanted Him dead when He never did anything wrong, and only helped and healed people? I guess they couldn’t see the big picture, they didn’t know who He was and what He was about to do.”

To me, the crowd and others in this recount were the ‘bad’ people in the story, evil and vindictive for no good reason, killing an innocent man – Jesus no less.

As I have grown, I can read this now and see that I am more like these people than I wish to be. While I was not there on that day physically shouting in a mob for Jesus’ death, I too have sinned and am in great need of a saviour, of the atonement and forgiveness that Jesus bought for me at the cross. Worse still, I don’t have the excuse of not knowing who Jesus was or what happens next. I need forgiveness for sin when I know what I am doing is wrong, and I take God’s gift of forgiveness for granted. How good and kind and gracious Jesus is, that He went to the cross knowing that He was innocent, and yet was willing to pay the price so that we could be made right with Him.

God, the gift of your son Jesus is too great to even understand. Thank you for all that you have saved us from, how immense is your grace. Forgive us for taking the gift of forgiveness for granted and help us to follow you. Amen.

Written by Madelaine Tarasenko

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