The rulers of the Jews wanted the Roman authorities to find Jesus to be a criminal deserving death. Pilate’s assessment: “I find no guilt in this Man.” Herod also had an opportunity to conclude that Jesus was a lawbreaker, but he sent Him back to Pilate without accusation. The governor assumed that he would be able to simply “punish and release Him,” but the crowd shouted for Jesus to be crucified! Pilate finally “decided that their demand should be granted.”
Luke’s account of Jesus’ words and demeanor suggests He exhibited surprising strength given all He had endured. He was able to speak eloquently and with sympathy to the “daughters of Jerusalem.” Regarding those who were executing Him, He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” He even extended eternal life to a thief crucified next to Him. “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Those observing these events and listening to Jesus’ words might have reasonably assumed that He had quite some time left before His heart would stop beating. Instead, after three hours of darkness when “the sun’s light failed,” He simply yielded His life to His Father. Quoting Psalm 31:5, He called out with a loud voice, “Into Your hands I commit My Spirit!”
These unusual events had a big impact upon the centurion who observed them. He said, “Certainly this Man was innocent!” Many in the crowd who had gone out to witness a “spectacle” were deeply moved by what they saw. They returned home in great grief, “beating their breasts.”
A member of the Jewish ruling council gave Jesus a grave of “a rich man in His death” (Isaiah 53:9). Christ was the epitome of a godly Servant who displayed faith as He died. As we consider His sinless perfection and His willing sacrifice, we should offer up our “bodies as a living sacrifice” to the Almighty (Romans 12:1).
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
O God, liars came against Jesus with false accusations, but there was no evil in Him. Others desired only to see Him do some sign, but they had no heart to hear Your Word. Your Son did nothing deserving death, but the crowds strangely preferred the release of a murderer and demanded the crucifixion of our Savior. He carried a burden that only He could have borne. Through Him, You have delivered us from eternal destruction. Have mercy on us, for we have not followed our Redeemer in the way that we should. He was willing to save us, though it meant the cross. Now He has been publicly declared to be the King of Your people. Remember us, O Lord, and bless us with a true life of Christian obedience. We have been granted access into Your presence through the blood of the Lamb. Christ was most certainly innocent, but He took upon Himself our great guilt and achieved all that was necessary for our salvation.