For a second time Pilate asked the hungry-for-blood crowd…
Pilate came back, “So what do I do with this man you call King of the Jews?”They yelled, “Nail him to a cross!”Pilate objected, “But for what crime?”But they yelled all the louder, “Nail him to a cross!” (Matthew 27:21-23, The Message)
“Nail him to a cross!” That Friday morning, April 3, AD33 as what many scholars agreed on, was filled with hatred and breathe of treat to murder. It’s not – ‘shot him dead’ or ‘put him in the electric chair’ or ‘force him to swallow sleeping pills or poison’. It’s not what today popular ways to ending life like jumping from tall building or exhale smokes from car’s exhaust. No, it was ‘Nail him to a cross!’. In fact, it was 3 irons nails each 5 to 7 inches or 13 to 18 cm long that they were longing to see pierced in Jesus’ wrists and feet.
My heart echo the same question, “But for what crime?”
The religious leaders of the people and high priests and scholars accused him, “We found this man undermining our law and order, forbidding taxes to be paid to Caesar, setting himself up as Messiah-King.” Again, “We have a law, and by that law he must die because he claimed to be the Son of God.” They said Jesus claimed to be the Messiah, which was true but they exaggerated and misinterpreted a little. The truth is they had had determine to kill Jesus.
After Pilate investigations, he seems to agree that Jesus don’t deserve such punishment. “Not guilty”, that was Pilate’s finding. So he tried to free Jesus. But the Jewish leaders’ reaction was “Not good enough.” So they threaten Pilate, “If you pardon this man, you’re no friend of Caesar’s. Anyone setting himself up as ‘king’ defies Caesar.” What they meant was that there is no place for two kings. Free Jesus mean defies Caesar as king. Pilate was like a candidate for Sarawak election. If he chooses opposition party, he defies the other party. Majority voice wins the case. Pilate let his political reality settle the case. Stephen M. Miller writes, ‘Irony as thick as a crossbeam, innocent Pilate killed innocent Jesus while the guilty watched.’
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was imminent, he took a basin of water and washed his hands in full sight of the crowd, saying, “I’m washing my hands of responsibility for this man’s death. From now on, it’s in your hands. You’re judge and jury.” (Matthew 27:24, The Message)
Now I want you to focus on Jesus. He went through not one trail, but five. He was accuses badly, but he said nothing. They spitting at him, blindfolded his eyes, hit him, punching and slapping him. Before the nails, he was stripped and tied to a post. Jesus was beaten with a whip loaded with chunks of bone with sharp hooks like a fishing hook. Jesus was tearing up literally. His skin and muscle was open and his bone was exposed when that horrible weapon landed on his body. My mind cannot imagine how cruel he was treated. When you thought it was over, the Gospel of Matthew continues “They plaited a crown from branches of a thorn bush and set in on his head… Then they spit on him and hit him on the head with the stick.”(27:28-30, The Message)
Why he need to endure so much pain and suffer? I wonder what was on his mind. If he wants to be famous, just go for audition with American Idols. If he wants to be known, just making a controversial video and distribute it in YouTube. If he wants more followers, just build mega churches. If he wants to be wealthy, create a website and sell DVDs the sermon on the mount. Okay, I know none of these existed during his time, but my point is: Why the Cross?
The Cross did not happen to Jesus, he came on purpose for it. ‘“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to Him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:22-24 NIV; tree. A figurative reference to the cross.)
Jesus switched the whole of human race back into a right relationship with God. Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest writes: “The center of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much.” This is how far God wants to have a relationship with you.
Along his way to the cross, he remembers you. When he was accused, he blesses you. When he was spitted and blindfolded, he opens your eyes with his love. When he was punched and slapped, he extends his hands to forgive you. When he was cruelly beaten, he gently remind you how much you worth more than his own life. Along the way to Golgotha, he remembers you always. He long to see you in the arms of His Father in Heaven. You may ask, why me? I don’t know why you. But I know this for sure: He died for me and delivered me from my sin – yesterday, today and tomorrow.
You can be sure too. He died for all especially, you. Make your choice today…
THINK BIG. START SMALL. GO DEEP.