“But he said, ‘What evil has he done?’ But they screamed with more intensity, saying, “He should be crucified!’”
“Pilate said to them, ‘What evil has he done?’ But they screamed with more intensity, saying, ‘Crucify him!’”
“And for the third time he said to them, ‘What evil has this man done? I find no grounds in him for death, therefore after punishing him I will release him.’ But they pressed him with loud voices demanding that he be crucified. And their voices prevailed.”
Luke has an interesting way of relating what is taking place. The language he uses is in essence military and the picture that is being portrayed is that of a battle where the voices of the people have gone to war against Jesus and even against Pilate. Pilate raises his voice in opposition, appealing to the principle of justice. The people raise their voices and press him with them, almost like an army pushing back in hand to hand combat, and their murderous cries push back against Pilate, forcing him into submission.
Pilate is no hero and his motivations to appeal to justice are anything but noble. But like wisdom crying out in the streets in Proverbs, so too is Justice crying out in the streets of Jerusalem — and like their choosing to ignore Wisdom, they also choose to ignore Justice — one of those things that their God demands of them. Of course, like Pilate, when it comes to the pressure that others place upon us, how often we too ignore justice.
And here, the greatest of injustices is being done. He who had no sin is being condemned for the sins of the wicked…not just the wicked in his own day all of those years ago…but the wicked through the ages — your wickedness and mine as well. And he will go to the cross to bear the punishment for our sins. That is injustice, though a blessed injustice it is. Because of this injustice that is being done, in God’s design, we are given life and hope and reconciliation with God. What could be more blessed than that, yet it ought to cause our heart to grieve to see our Lord undergo this for us. May we indeed lay down our lives for him who first laid his life down for us.