Matthew 27.13-14
Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor. 

“Are you the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked. Caiaphas, the Jewish High Priest, had brought the accusation using Jesus’ own words from the Parable of the Tenants (Matthew 21.33-45). Jesus risked losing his freedom, possibly his life, if he affirmed the charge. The religious elite likely couldn’t imagine a scenario where a man would go to that length. If he denied the charge he might escape legal consequences but, most importantly, he would lose his influence with the people. 

“The universe held its breath as it waited for Jesus’ answer,” imagines Scottish theologian William Barclay. Surely Jesus wanted justice. The trial was anything but just. Jesus’ reply to Pilate revealed an expectant and quiet trust in the face of injustice. “You have said so.” With that, just two words in Greek, Jesus spoke his first and last of the trial. [1]

Even Pilate sensed the injustice of the moment and offered to spare a man’s life as a sign of mercy. First he presented Jesus, in whom he could find no fault. Then Pilate brought them Barabbas, a known violent criminal. Jesus had already prayed to his Father, “your will be done.” The people cried out for Barabbas. In no subtle way, the freeing of the criminal Barabbas was a sign of the people’s foolishness. But it was also more than that. 

In Christ’s condemnation for Barabbas’ freedom we see a foreshadowing of everything God was working on all along.

Jesus seemed expectant for God to bring justice, even in the injustice of this world. Barabbas, whose Greek name translates “son of the father,” walked free because Jesus laid down his life. Barabbas wasn’t the only one to go free that day. All the guilty were set free through the sacrifice of the One, Holy innocent. 

Father, thank you for giving your only Son on our behalf. He endured the worst injustice and absorbed the blow of your justice. He laid down his life, defeating sin and evil, and offered his victory to anyone who would accept. We stand in awe of your sacrifice. We want to sit under your goodness and justice. We fall at the foot of your throne and offer our lives to you.

Justice Through Christ
Part 2 of 5,

Today’s Readings
Genesis 28 (Listen – 3:17)
Matthew 27 (Listen – 8:45)



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[1] William Barclay, The Gospel of Matthew, 2:392.