A third time he (Pilate) said to them, "Why, what evil has He done? I have found in Him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release Him." But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that He should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. (Luke 23:22-23).
Read Luke 23:18-23.
Pilate offers his compromise. Instead of condemning Jesus to death, he will have Him scourged. But Jesus' bloody, battered body isn't enough for the Jewish leaders. They demand His death.
So Pilate tries another tactic, he offers the Jewish people the choice of one of two prisoners he will release in honor of the Passover: Jesus or Barabbas-the worst criminal he has in custody. Matthew, Mark and John record that Barabbas was a notorious prisoner who was guilty of murder in an insurrection. To Pilate's astonishment the Jewish leaders convince the crowds to call for Barabbas' release and Jesus' execution. Ironically, Barabbas' crime was insurrection and leading the people in revolt against Rome-the very charge these Jewish leaders had falsely leveled against Jesus. But now they demand the release of the true insurrectionist, and the execution of the Innocent One.
Desperately, Pilate addresses the crowd two more times, demanding they give a valid reason Jesus should die. They ignore him and keep shouting for Jesus' crucifixion. Pilate knew Jesus was innocent and had said it over and over again. Still, he let the crowds drown it out. Luke ends today's reading with the chilling words, "And their voices prevailed."
And what was Jesus doing this whole time? He was standing by silently, accepting His Father's will that He be crucified so that by His death He could give us life, pardon and forgiveness.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You willingly suffered such injustice and hate from the creatures You came to save. Thank You for bearing the punishment for my disobedience. Amen.
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