So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will (Luke 23:24-25).
Read Luke 23:24-25.
Pilate weighs out his options. He could defy the Jewish leaders and the crowd, which grows more and more agitated every moment. He could bring in his Roman troops to quell the rising protest, but what would that mean for his career?
Then he looks at Jesus, standing silently by his side. No one steps forward to defend Him and Jesus doesn't do anything to defend Himself. If Pilate wants to save his career, he has to sacrifice Jesus.
Luke tells us that Pilate "delivered Jesus over," using the exact words he used of Judas' action. Both betrayed Jesus to those Jewish authorities who sought His life. According to Matthew 27:24, Pilate takes water, and in the sight of all the court washes his hands and says, "I am innocent of this man's blood. See to it yourselves."
But Pilate can't simply hand over his responsibility and shift the blame for this miscarriage of justice. He will go down in history as the one under whose authority God's innocent Son was crucified.
But Jesus was no helpless victim in this whole process. He didn't need Pilate's troops to protect Him. If He wanted, He could have called upon His Father and He would have had vast angel armies at His disposal (see Matthew 26:53). But He permitted this to happen-even taking Pilate's guilt upon Himself and suffering God's wrath in His place-as well as yours and mine.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, like Pilate I often try to shift the blame for my sins to someone else, or find excuses for what I've done. Through Your sacrifice I can stop and confess my guilt-knowing You already paid the full price in my place. Receive my heartfelt thanks. Amen.
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