Our Savior Is Handed Over
Open Your Bible
John 18:28-38, Luke 23:5-16, Matthew 27:15-23, John 19:1-16, Isaiah 50:6-7
BY Erin Davis
I know the events of Holy Week unfolded more than two thousand years ago. I wasn’t there, and yet, as I prepare my heart for Easter morning, I keep bumping into reflections of myself in the text.
Here I am in John 18:
I am the Jews who escorted Jesus to Pilate. They thought they were righteous because they stayed in the front yard, yet convinced themselves their hands weren’t dirty as they handed over an innocent man for the slaughter. How often do I rely on all manner of rules to make me “clean” while willfully rebelling against a holy God? How often is my heart soiled by sin that I ignore because I’ve stuck to some arbitrary list of dos and don’ts?
I am Pilate. I want to wash my hands of the matter of sin and suffering. Don’t you? Don’t we all? How often do I utter, “What is truth?” when the truth is inconvenient to me? The answer, I’m afraid, is all too often.
Look, there I am in Luke 23:
I am the crowds, offended by the ways Jesus interrupts the status quo and upends my paradigms. As He strips me of my comfort and convicts me of my obsession with self, my heart becomes indignant. I want to yell, scream, and stomp my feet.
I am Herod. I am willing to use Jesus to suit my purposes, to elevate my own power.
I see myself most clearly in Matthew 27:
I am Barabbas. There’s no use in trying to deny it. I am a sinner, guilty of violating the holy law of God. Barabbas was a “notorious prisoner” of the Roman government. Without Christ, I am a prisoner to my sin. I deserve whatever punishment God could hurl at me, but He takes my place instead. Because of Him, I walk in undeserved freedom.
Friend, I know you are these things too. We all are.
We are prone to value rules over righteousness. We are capable of distancing ourselves from inconvenient truth. We are irritated by the ways that following Christ can stir up trouble for us in this world, yet more than okay with using Him to elevate ourselves in the eyes of other believers. We are guilty of sin—undeniably so—and are so often imprisoned because of it. And we are as responsible for sending Jesus to the cross as the crowds who yelled, “Crucify him!”
But there is none like Him. Amen? His grace and mercy transcend time and geography. His actions on Holy Week have the power to save us just as much as they have the power to save the ones who lined the streets to see Him punished. Go on, see yourself in the story. Feel the sting of your sin. But let your eyes move quickly to Jesus, who willingly took our place so that we might be a people who walk in undeserved freedom.