God Knows…When I Wonder if Anybody Loves Me – Part 2
After questioning Jesus, Pilate announces that he finds no fault in Him. Pilate knows he should just let Jesus go. But it’s not what the crowd wants.
To Herod and Back
Angry voices shout “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place” (Luke 23:5). This gives Pilate an idea. Maybe he can get out of this yet. Herod, the ruler of Galilee, is in town. He will send Jesus to him. Let him make this tough decision.
At first Herod is happy to see Jesus. He’s heard a lot about Him. He’s curious. He gives a command for silence. He asks Jesus many questions. He is sure Jesus is innocent. But Herod loses his temper when Jesus does not perform a miracle on demand. Jesus will not use His power just to save Himself or to satisfy curiosity. Herod and the soldiers heap abuse on Jesus. They mock Him by putting a gorgeous robe on Him. Then Herod, afraid to condemn Him, sends Him back to Pilate.
Pilate is upset. He knows that Jesus deserves to be set free. But Pilate is fearful. He wavers. He tries another angle. It has become the custom to set a prisoner free at Passover time. Pilate picks the worst criminal he can think of—Barabbas—a thief, political rebel, murderer.
“Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asks. He is shocked by the answer he gets. “Barabbas!” the crowd roars.
Maybe the question was misunderstood. Pilate asks, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” Louder swells the chant, “Barabbas! Barabbas!”
“What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” asks Pilate.
Back come the terrible words, “Let Him be crucified!”
Pilate tries a compromise: How about if I have Him beaten and then let Him go? It doesn’t work. The crowd watches the cruel flogging as strong soldiers beat the faint and weary Jesus. Like a pack of wolves closing in, their fury grows. A crown of thorns is shoved on the head of Jesus. A piece of reed is put in His hand and the people say it’s the King’s scepter. They scoff as they bow. Jumping up, someone grabs the reed and beats Jesus Christ over the head with it. The thorns go deep. The crude insults cut even deeper.
By now it is nearly nine in the morning. Pilate loses patience with the clamoring mob. He cries out, “You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.” Pilate is afraid he will lose his job if he goes against the crowd. A bad report to Emperor Caesar in Rome would ruin him.
The great wooden cross, built for Barabbas, is put on Jesus’ bleeding shoulders. He staggers and the crowd laughs. He faints from pain, exhaustion, and loss of blood. He gets up and struggles on, but falls.
A stranger, Simon of Cyrene, is coming in to the city and stands amazed at the scene. Simon no sooner speaks a word of sympathy than he finds the cross put on his shoulders by the tough soldiers.
At the top of Calvary (or Golgotha, the Greek name) the cross is laid on the ground. Hammer and spikes are brought. Blow after blow, the hands and feet of Jesus are nailed to the cross. Though sweat and blood run down His face, He neither resists nor complains. The soldiers raise the cross and carelessly thump it into place. Can you hear His faint words as He prays for His enemies?
“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” He means you and me, too. Remember, Jesus is dying for you and for me, when He doesn’t deserve to die at all.
Still the mockery, the low blows, the abuse goes on. “If You’re the Son of God, come down from the cross,” taunt the leaders. On each side of Jesus, a thief is also crucified. “If You’re Christ, save all three of us,” one of them jibes.
The other thief, watching all that goes on and remembering what he has heard about this Man, is now sure that here is the Savior. “Lord,” he cries, “remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Jesus promises that He will.
At noon it becomes dark on Calvary. It stays dark for three hours. People are scared. Lightning flashes. It looks as if God has forsaken His Son. Jesus bears the guilt for every sin. It’s agony for Him. With His last breath Jesus cries out, “It is finished! Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.” His head bows.
Jesus is dead.
The earth shakes. People fall flat on the ground. A Roman soldier’s voice is heard: “Truly this was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54). Solemn and silent, the crowd scatters.
“Why? Why?” we ask. We know Jesus is the Son of God, the Creator who put the worlds into space. He made each flower and bird and formed the first human beings to be much like Himself. WHY did He leave the perfection and happiness of heaven? Why did He come down to this dumpy, sinful world, knowing what would happen to Him here? Why did He hang there in pain, agony, and the anguish of guilt? Wouldn’t it have been easier to give up on the human race?
Love for you and me kept Him on the cross. He cares about us. Jesus loves us enough to want to forgive our clumsy blunders. He is willing to go out of the way to help us. He wants us to have hope and happiness. He wants us to be with Him, to share the joys of heaven forever.
If YOU were the ONLY one on earth who had disobeyed His law of love, He still would have come to rescue you. Such love goes beyond understanding.
Someone loves you. Don’t ever forget it.
Your Story Hour
PO Box 15
Berrien Springs, MI 49103