Several times in the last month or so, there have been stories in the news detailing how some wrongly accused men had been imprisoned for years. Each of these men were finally found to be innocent of the crimes and set free. Our judicial system is far from flawless, sometimes the innocent are charged and sentenced. Other times, the guilty go free.
The chief priests charged Jesus of blasphemy. They cast a net filled with deceptive accusations and false witnesses in order to arrest Jesus and set their plan in motion to have him killed. The trial Jesus endured at the house of the High Priest was anything but fair. Then, having been turned over to Pilate, Jesus’ fate wrested in the hands of the Roman Empire. Pilate had no reason to find Jesus guilty. He also felt no obligation to set him free. The only requirement in Pilate’s estimation was to show Rome’s dominance and control. If it meant killing one more Jewish citizen, then so be it.
Jesus, of course, was innocent. He had committed no crime, was not guilty of any sin and remained truly obedient to the will of God. The only reason Jesus went to trial and received the sentence of death is due to humanity’s disobedience. Ever since Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, humans have trampled over the boundaries God set to guide his people. Withstanding all this, Jesus remained silent before his accusers.
It’s true; Pilate felt no sense of obligation to free Jesus. The judicial system employed by Rome was certainly one sided. Anyone who even came close to stepping out of line became an example of what the Roman government would do to those who stepped out out of line. But Jesus, whom God sent into the world to save people from their sins, willingly took upon himself the guilty verdict for humanity’s short fall.
Yes it is true, sometimes our judicial system fails. There are instances when the innocent are charged and sentenced, just as there are instances when guilty men slip through the cracks and go free. Yet, all are sinners. Jesus endured mock trials, beatings and ultimate humiliation and ridicule for the sake of all people. For truly, only one has ever been innocent of sin and obedient to all God commands. And for this, he was crucified.
Lord Jesus Christ, you took upon yourself our sin, paid our price and saved us from ultimate death. We thank you for your grace. Amen.