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#95. On the road to Easter - part three

Bruce Stanley

March 28, 2022

On the road to Easter - part 3

The Trial

Justice.

We all want it. We often don't get it. And it never makes up for what we have lost.

Your friend is killed by a drunk driver.

Your house is burgled and you lose everything.

Your TV breaks just after the warranty runs out.

Little or big, justice plays a part in our everyday life. And as Jesus moves closer to the cross, Luke chapter 23 is difficult to read. It seems that there is no justice.

Luke 23:13-19

13Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”

18But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19(Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)

Pilate finds nothing deserving death. Hardly anything even deserving of punishment. Yet, he agrees to punish the innocent one. But the crowd push harder. "Release the murderer." "Punish the innocent one." It is enough of an evil that the innocent would face punishment, but to call for the freedom of a known criminal and the death sentence of an innocent seems wildly unjust. What will Pilate do? Will this governor do the right thing?

Luke 23:20-25

20Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”22For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”23But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24So Pilate decided to grant their demand. 25He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.

Pilate wanted to do the right thing. But the crowd shouted louder and "their shouts prevailed".

How easy it is to let the shouting of the world prevail. We know what is right. Yet we can often go with the crowd. We see injustice in our world every day. Yet we are often reluctant to go against the shouting of the crowd. We want justice, but we are often not prepared to shout louder for it. We are often not prepared to take action.

The story of Easter, however, is not one of injustice. It seems like it is. But what we will see on the cross is complete justice. The wrath of God is poured out on Jesus for the sins of all humanity.

Is it fair? No.

Is it justice? Yes.

How?

Justice means that the price is paid. The joys and laments of Easter are that the innocent one paid the price for the sins of the guilty ones. The innocent one chose to walk to the cross. He paid our debt. Therefore, our debt is paid. Justice is served. And death was the penalty.

Easter is a time to lament our sins. But it is also a time to rejoice because justice has been served not on us, but on one who is powerful to overcome the penalty of death.

It is very easy to be disappointed when we fail to see justice for the guilty in this world. But we can also rejoice that God's justice has not been paid out on us directly. Imagine if God made us pay for our sins? That weight, that punishment of death, would be unbearable. Thank God that his justice has been met in Jesus.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, we thank you that our innocent Lord faced the penalty of death to meet the justice of a holy God. We lament our sins, but we rejoice that our punishment has been carried by Jesus. As we continue to be saddened and frustrated by the injustice of our world each day, help us to be reminded of this fact - that the justice we ourselves deserve has been taken by Jesus to the cross. Amen.

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