Open Your Bible
Mark 15:1-47, Isaiah 52:13-15, Isaiah 53:1-7
Why did they crucify Jesus? Because it was a part of God’s eternal redemptive plan, for starters, but what did they write down in their court records? What was His crime? He was King of the Jews.
Jesus attests to this identity, as does Pilate, and later, the Roman soldiers. The magi came to Bethlehem, seeking Him by this title, and it was the written charge against Him as He hung on the cross (Matthew 27:37). He wasn’t the king the Jewish people expected, nor was He the king they wanted. When “Pilate asked him, ‘Are you the King of the Jews?’ He answered him, ‘You say so’” (Mark 15:2). He made no defense because it was His very person that offended, His Kingship itself is an offense to every sinful heart. The Cornerstone is the stumbling block, the rock of offense. They mocked Him as He hung on the cross, but their tongues unwittingly confessed Him as “Messiah, the King of Israel.”
In his letter to the Romans, the indictment that Paul brings against unbelievers is not that they do not know the truth, but that they know it, and yet suppress it: “For God’s wrath is revealed from heaven against all godlessness and unrighteousness of people who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18). Though He came to humanity in flesh and blood, “he was despised, and we didn’t value him” (Isaiah 53:3).
Pilate and the Jewish people did not need more evidence of who Jesus was in order to believe. They rejected the evidence that was right in front of them. Indeed, when at the end “Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed his last,” even this testified to who He is in such a way that when the centurion witnessed His death, the soldier said, ‘“Truly this man was the Son of God!’” (Mark 15:37,39).
Each Lenten season, the Church remembers the long journey Christ walked to the cross. Each year, we encounter the same evidence, the same professions of Jesus’s Messiahship, the same hardened hearts that do not like the truth before them. The goodness of Good Friday is that Christ came to redeem blind, deaf, and rebellious people just like us. He came to bear upon Himself the guilt of our sin:
“He was pierced because of our rebellion,
crushed because of our iniquities;
punishment for our peace was on him,
and we are healed by his wounds” (Isaiah 53:5).
The goodness of Good Friday is that because He walked silently to the cross, like a Lamb to slaughter, not protesting the punishment meted out upon Him, we have hope. He was rejected by God that we might be made acceptable to God, a people for His own possession. This was the promise given through Jeremiah: “I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). See as the centurion did, the truth that is already before our eyes, that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and He has purchased our salvation! Thanks be to God!