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Innocent of His blood?
- Jacob Ninan
When Jesus stood before Pilate he knew Jesus was innocent of the charges against Him. But a riot was likely to start, and it would have personal and political implications for Pilate. So he chose a political game to protect himself at the cost of condemning the innocent. He washed his hands with water publicly and declared, "I am innocent of this Man's blood" (Mt.27:24). But was he? Certainly Pilate was guilty of causing innocent blood to be shed (that of the Son of God in human form, no less) which couldn't be wished away by political statements!
Many people point out that it wasn't really Pilate, or the Roman soldiers subsequently, who put Jesus to death. It was the Jews, instigated by their rulers who were really the masterminds behind the move, who forced Pilate to do it. The people even said without thinking, "His blood shall be on us and on our children!" (v.25).
But really, who was guilty of His blood? "He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our wellbeing fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed" (Is.53:5). It was for bearing the just punishment for our sins that He had to suffer and die such an ignominious, unjust, excruciating and cruel death that has been recognised as the greatest mockery of justice in the world ever. If we weren't sinners, He needn't even have come down or gone through this at all.
So we are the ones guilty of His death. It was our sins that actually cried out, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" Every scourge, every spit, every insult, every pulling of His beard, every nail that went in, every thorn that pierced Him, every agonising breath He had to take--every part of His suffering and death was to get us forgiveness for our sins.
Many times we totally forget this when we ask God to forgive some sin we have fallen into. We tend to take forgiveness even as some right! We think God will of course forgive! But every sin cries out, "Crucify Him!"
Thank God for forgiveness, because it is a gift of God's mercy which we don't deserve at all. We are really blessed to be given this grace of forgiveness (Ps.32:1). But let's not presume on it and go ahead and sin carelessly. He who taught us to forgive others as much as seventy times seven (Mt.18:21,22) will do it even more. But let us not forget what it meant to Him to earn our forgiveness. We cannot earn our forgiveness, but He had to earn ours. Now He gives it to us freely, but it wasn't free for Him, far from it.
When we get into some problem don't ask, "Lord, what have I done to deserve this?" Don't talk of what we really deserve! (I am not saying that whatever happens to us is what we deserve!)
On the other hand some of us wonder how God can ever forgive this particular sin we have fallen into. When the sinless Son of God died on the cross, that is sufficient to pay for the sins of the whole world (1Jn.2:2). Now we can be forgiven if we confess our sins (1Jn.1:9).