Rushing through the quite streets, the air was cold and grey. The singing birds were a stark contrast to the grim and pressing news I had awoken too. Jesus of Nazareth was before Pilate. As I approached the courtyard a growing din broke the stillness of the morning. Louder and louder the noise grew. Entering the gate i saw an angry mob shouting, “crucify him!” Pilate argued, “But this man is innocent. I will release him and execute Barabbas.”
“The crowd roared back, “Take him away! Release Barabbas!”
“No!” I screamed pushing though the crowd. My eyes searched the platform, my heart begging for Pilate’s mercy. Then I saw Jesus and froze. Standing there, blood dripping from his robe, beaten so badly I hardly recognized him, he didn’t flinch. In a flash, I saw myself there. In the place of judgement. He was before Pilate, like I stood before God. But he was innocent.
He was the kindest man I had ever met. I chose to follow him because no other person made me feel so free to be myself. His words brought peace to my heart and gave my life purpose. A purpose that was as simple and profound as knowing God. Yet, how could I possibly deserve to know God?
The truth? I didn’t. Even the best, most pure parts of my life didn’t come close to even my definition of good. And if my human efforts could earn me an audience with God? … Then that god must not be very great.
But then I met Him. This builder from Nazareth spoke of a God of justice. One who could not accept my efforts. This I understood. But He also spoke of a God of Love. A God of Mercy who was doing everything in His power to reconcile his relationship with me. He loved me and was determined to make a way. Even if it cost Him everything.
Standing in the middle of the crowd, I saw for the first time, this was the way. Jesus was the bridge between mercy and justice.
Slowly a sob rose in my throat. My lips moved but no sounds came. I tried again. Looking at the bloody man in front of me I whispered, “Crucify him.”
My body shook with sobs, but I called louder “Crucify him.” His is the only way.
“Crucify him!” I cannot do this alone.
“Crucify Him!” He is my only Hope.
Pilate sat down on the Gabbatha, the judgment seat, and passed his verdict. “Crucify him.”
But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. The punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed Isaiah 53:5
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33