August 18, 2011
When the chief priests and the officers saw Him, they cried out, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "Take Him yourselves and crucify Him, for I find no guilt in Him." John 19:6
About seven years ago, Isaac Turnbaugh was found innocent of killing his friend and co-worker Declan Lyons.
Police had no suspects in the murder until they were told how at a party Turnbaugh had confessed to the murder in front of six friends.
The police along with the prosecutor believed that such a confession would almost certainly bring about a conviction. They were wrong. Turnbaugh's attorney brought the witnesses to the stand and asked them about his admission. They all agreed that Turnbaugh, under the influence of drugs, had admitted to the murder. But at the same time, he also claimed responsibility for bringing down New York's World Trade Center.
The jury declared Turnbaugh innocent and he was released.
There was only one problem: Turnbaugh wasn't innocent. A few weeks ago he showed up at the police department and confessed to the murder. Of course, because of the Constitution's Fifth Amendment, he can't be re-tried for the crime. So the guilty is going to go free.
It seems so unfair -- almost as unfair as that which happened at another trial -- a trial which took place almost 2,000 years ago. Of course, the unfairness is not the only thing these two situations have in common.
In Turnbaugh's case, the guilty has been allowed to live free; at Jesus' trial, the innocent was condemned to death. In Turnbaugh's situation, the prosecutors believed he was guilty, while Jesus' trial was marked by the judge repeatedly declaring Him to be innocent.
Yes, what happened to Jesus was unfair -- incredibly unfair.
But Jesus' trial and His sacrifice were all part of the Lord's plan to save us. As our heaven-sent Substitute, Jesus fulfilled the laws we have broken; He resisted the temptations which have tripped us up; He carried the sins which condemned us, and He died the death which had been our well-deserved punishment.
It was unfair, terribly unfair, but Jesus willingly did all which was asked, all which was necessary so that you, me and all who believe on Him as Savior might be forgiven and adopted into the Father's family of faith.
Unfair, yes, but it is an unfairness for which I shall be, quite literally, eternally grateful.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, let me see with crystal clarity the unfair things Jesus endured so I might be saved. Grant me a grateful heart for the sacrifice my innocent Lord made to save my sinful soul. This I ask in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries