Were You There?
Today’s reading: Deuteronomy 26-27; Mark 15:1-26
25 “‘Cursed be anyone who takes a bribe to shed innocent blood.’ And all the people shall say, ‘Amen.’ Deuteronomy 27:25
12 And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” 14 And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. Mark 15:12-15
Moses instructed the Israelites to bind themselves to the law by swearing curses on themselves should they disobey it. This they were to do upon entering the land and arriving at Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. One of the laws they swore to uphold was the law to administer justice and not to accept a bribe to shed innocent blood. Judges could be bought off by wealthy parties and the poor, innocent person would suffer even death. This was considered a great offense against God who made Man in His own image.
The ultimate violation of this law was committed when Jesus was falsely charged by the chief priests, the scribes, the elders, and the whole council and turned over to Pilate for execution. Pilate saw that an injustice was being done, that it was pure envy that drove the Jewish leaders to accuse Jesus, but he was “bribed” by the desire to satisfy the crowd. So he released the criminal Barabbas, scourged Jesus, and turned Him over for crucifixion.
In all of human history, there had never before been another perfectly innocent man, only Jesus. In all of human history, there has never been a greater miscarriage of justice. There was broad support for this great evil act: the Jewish leaders, the crowds in Jerusalem for the Passover, the Roman governor, the Roman soldiers, even the disciples contributed by their absence.
The old Negro spiritual asks: “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” The correct answer is, “Yes, I was there. I was part of sinful humanity that brought down the Son of God for my sins.”
“Oh Lord, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.”
Does it cause you to tremble? If so, thank God that you grasp what was done that day. Trust Him that though your sins are as scarlet, in Christ, you stand cleansed before Him.
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