The Innocent for the Guilty

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Reading the Word

Luke 23:13–16 (ESV)

13 Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15 Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. 16 I will therefore punish and release him.”

Parallel Text: John 18:38

Understanding and Applying the Word

Pilate informed the religious leaders that both he and Herod had found no guilt in Jesus. He had done nothing wrong to deserve the death penalty that the chief priests were calling for. There are two things that are interesting to note about this. The first is that the religious leaders were not happy about this ruling. The second is that even though Pilate admitted that Jesus was not guilty of any wrongdoing, he was still willing to punish him before releasing him. What was the purpose of punishing him if he was innocent? Surely, it was to appease Jesus’ accusers.

We see clearly that Jesus was an innocent man who was going to be sentenced to die as a criminal. This is the message of the gospel. Jesus, the sinless and innocent one, died as a substitute for sinners. We are all guilty before the holy Creator and without the means to do anything to clear our name. Thankfully, Jesus paid the price that none of us could by giving his sinless life as a substitute. He bore our penalty. For those who repent of their sin and call out to Jesus in faith, there is pardon and reconciliation with God.

Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free
For God the Just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me

(Before the Throne of God Above – Sovereign Grace Music)

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