“Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.” Our Lord did not defend Himself against the accusations of His adversaries, nor did He do anything calculated to win His release. Therefore, “Pilate was amazed.” The Roman governor would have been very happy to release Him, but the crowd had an unusual request regarding the Man who had no sin: “Crucify Him.” Pilate finally went along with their demand.
All of these events were a fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies. The great Healer was now “despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3). Soon He could rightly say in His heart, “They have pierced My hands and feet” (Psalm 22:16). Despite the fact that so many publicly “derided” Him at His weakest moment, He would speak no angry replies. When three hours of unusual darkness suddenly lifted, He simply cried out the words of Psalm 22:1, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” and “breathed His last.” The remainder of the psalm would explain not only Christ’s suffering, but also His eternal victory.
Who could understand this sad moment? A Gentile centurion caught a glimpse of the truth: “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” One member of the Jewish ruling council asked Pilate for the “corpse” and buried Him in his own tomb (Isaiah 53:9).
Jesus, the Hope of God’s chosen people, was dead. How could it be right for an innocent Man to suffer like the worst criminal? We know what only the Scriptures revealed. “He was wounded for our transgressions” (Isaiah 53:5). His death and burial could not possibly be the end of His story. Because of His perfect life and His atoning sacrifice, “All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the Lord” (Psalm 22:27). Regarding Jesus, we join the faithful throughout the ages and rejoice in the conclusion to David’s ancient song of agony and triumph: “He has done it” (Psalm 22:31).
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Glorious God, Your Son suffered indignities for our sake. An angry mob would choose Barabbas to be set free, rather than have our Savior released from unjust bondage. The crowd yelled out, “Crucify Him!” How could this be? Envious leaders had delivered Him up to the Gentiles. People created in Your image scourged Him and led Him away. They mocked Him and spit on Him. May we be rightly moved at these horrific events. We follow this true King of the Jews, though we too may face the attacks of brutal men. Many reviled our Redeemer and taunted Him, urging Him to turn from His mission and save Himself. Yet our strong Lord was faithful, even facing the divine abandonment that we deserved. Finally, our Friend breathed His last. Through the powerful death of our Passover Lamb, a way of access into Your holy presence has been made for us. Our prayer to You this day, offered as it is in Jesus’ Name, is possible only because of His cross. His body was laid in a tomb, but before long His grave would be empty as a testimony to the power of His indestructible life.