Luke 23:1 – 7, 11 Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.”
So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.
Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”
But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”
On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.
. . . Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate.
No matter how hard they tried, no one could find any crime with which to charge Jesus. Both Pilate and Herod were corrupt men. Still, they were politicians, and they had reputations to uphold. They knew better than to convict an innocent man to death. This man, this Jesus, hadn’t done anything worthy of death.
Sure, He was a little strange. He walked around like a pauper, yet claimed to be a king. He talked of tearing down temples and rebuilding them in three days. But he seemed to have a good heart. They had heard all sorts of stories of pretty words and powerful miracles.
They tried to appease the crowds. They mocked Jesus. They humiliated Him. They even offered to punish Him for a crime He hadn’t committed, then set Him free. But truly, they didn’t want to kill Him. The death penalty was for the worst of criminals. As far as they could tell, this man wasn’t guilty of a thing.
The reason they couldn’t find any guilt in Him was simple. He wasn’t guilty.
But that didn’t matter. You see, Jesus didn’t need to die for His own guilt. He needed to die for our guilt.
And when you look at it that way, then yes. There was a crime – committed by each and every one of us. Yes, it was punishable by death – Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death.
So there you have it. Jesus was executed for our guilt. He owed nothing for Himself, yet He paid all for us. And He did it willingly, because He loved us.
Thank You, Jesus, for enduring the shame and humiliation and pain and suffering. Thank You for taking my punishment for me. Forgive me, Father.