And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” (Mark 15:12-14)
What a crazy moment. Pilate must have been certain that the crowd would beg for the release of their king. Instead they have demanded the criminal Barabbas. Great. So what am I going to do with this guy?
Pilate polls the audience. “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” Imagine his surprise to hear them yell, “Crucify him!” Kill him. String him up. End him. Terminate him.
This was a rabid crowd. Pilate can’t figure out a reason to keep him. What are the charges? “What evil has he done?” What could this man possibly have done to deserve the death penalty? It doesn’t matter. They simply just turn up the volume. “Crucify him.”
What happened to the old “eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” system of justice? If Jesus had killed someone’s spouse or children, the death penalty might be on the table. If Jesus had attempted to assassinate Pilate, he probably would have been executed on the spot. If it had been any other Jewish person, someone in the crowd would have been begging for mercy. Instead they insisted that Jesus be slowly and painfully be put to death by crucifixion.
I’ll bet you’ve had moments when you wondered, “What did I do to deserve this?” From your point of view, you didn’t do anything wrong, but you took it on the chin. Chances are you weren’t totally innocent. You said or did something. You failed to do something. You didn’t know it, but you really messed things up. And now you’re paying for it.
What did Jesus do to deserve the sentence of crucifixion? Nothing. Literally nothing. His death was for your sin and my sin. It’s because of all the things we’ve said, done, or failed to do. Our lives literally scream, “Crucify him!”
Remember the classic parental lecture question, “What am I going to do with you?” The Heavenly Father answers his own question with the same answer, “Crucify him.” And we get to go free. Forgiven, redeemed and alive.
Heavenly Father, what did I ever do to deserve your love? I’ll never fully understand it, but I will thank and praise you for it! Amen.