Friday, 29 March 2013
Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!” Matthew 27:22
Two men, probably very close in age and both having the same name – Jesus Barabbas (son of a father) and Jesus, Son of the Father (bar Abba) stand before the ruler Pontius Pilate. One was a robber who was imprisoned for his crimes and the other, the sinless Son of God who was being accused falsely. The record of His life testifies to both His innocent state and His fulfillment of the Scriptures. The law was satisfied in Him, and though He stood before the judgment seat in innocence, His life would be given as a Substitute for the sins of the people.
A picture of this act is found recorded in Leviticus 16. This chapter provides the instructions for the Day of Atonement rituals for the people of Israel and every detail is realized in the bringing of these two before Pilate. Two goats were to be presented and lots were to be cast: one lot for the Lord and the other lot for the scapegoat. The goat on which the Lord’s lot fell was to be offered as a sin offering. The goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat was to be presented alive before the Lord, to make atonement upon it, and then to let it go as the scapegoat into the wilderness.
The goat for the sin offering was slaughtered, its blood was brought inside the veil, and it was sprinkled on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. In the same manner, Jesus was offered for the sins of the world. Hebrews chapter 9 explains what occurred –
“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:11, 12
The cross of Jesus Christ wasn’t a mistake and it wasn’t something that came out of nowhere. Instead, it was determined by God before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8) that Jesus would be slain for the sins committed by the people He created. Peter told the people of Israel that He who was “delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death…” Acts 2:23
God in His infinite wisdom, mercy, and goodness, determined that man was worth redeeming from the power of sin. He knew that sin would come and that without working salvation by His own arm, the chasm could never be crossed. But through the incarnation, Jesus could stretch His human hand out and place it on finite man and He could stretch out His divine hand and place it upon His infinite Father, thus bridging the gap and restoring what was lost.
Two men, standing before the throne – one guilty, one innocent. The decision was rendered, the Innocent was taken, and the cross was His reward. Thank God for the cross.
Life application: Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.
Glorious Heavenly Father, as I learn the Old Testament, time and time again my eyes are opened to the glories which are hidden there and which become apparent and obvious when seen through the lens of the Messiah. I stand in awe of what You have done though Him and I make my boast in His cross… thank You for the cross. Amen.