Matt. 27:11-24(CSB) ‘ Now Jesus stood before the governor. “Are you the King of the Jews?” the governor asked him. Jesus answered, “You say so.” While he was being accused by the chief priests and elders, he didn’t answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Don’t you hear how much they are testifying against you?” But he didn’t answer him on even one charge, so that the governor was quite amazed. At the festival the governor’s custom was to release to the crowd a prisoner they wanted. At that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Who is it you want me to release for you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew it was because of envy that they had handed him over. While he was sitting on the judge’s bench, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for today I’ve suffered terribly in a dream because of him.” The chief priests and the elders, however, persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to execute Jesus. The governor asked them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” “Barabbas!” they answered. Pilate asked them, “What should I do then with Jesus, who is called Christ?” They all answered, “Crucify him!” Then he said, “Why? What has he done wrong?” But they kept shouting all the more, “Crucify him!” When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that a riot was starting instead, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. See to it yourselves!”
When Jesus was accused by the chief priests and elders, Jesus remained silent (vv.12-14). Hear Isaiah’s prophesy, Isaiah 53:7, ‘He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. Why didn’t Jesus answer? First: The accusations were false. Jesus was sinless! Second and most important: Jesus was willing to die for your sins!
Pilate offers a choice to the crowd, Barabbas or Jesus (vv.15-17). Releasing a criminal was a Passover Festival custom of the Governor. Again, Jesus is silent. Jesus does not object to taking guilty Barabbas’ place. You and I are guilty like Barabbas, but Jesus intentionally has taken Our Place. Jesus intentionally died to pay your sin debt!
Pilate knew Jesus was innocent (v.18) Pilate’s wife tells him not to have anything to do with righteous Jesus (v.19). But, Pilate ignored his wife, and released Barabbas, giving in to the crowd, sending Jesus to His crucifixion, including mocking and flogging. Pilate washes his hands in an attempt to wash away his guilt and participation in Jesus’ crucifixion. Pilate tries to absolve himself, to wash away his sin. Is there anything you and I can do to ‘wash away our sin? NO! There is nothing you and I or anyone can do to wash away our sins, but all persons, even Pilate, who turn back to God and ask forgiveness are forgiven because of Jesus! Amen!
For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person—though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, since we have now been declared righteous by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation (Romans 5:6-11; CSB).
O God, thank you for forgiveness through Jesus. No matter the sin, every person who turns back to you in repentance is forgive for Jesus’ sake. Thank You Dear Abba for Jesus! Through the Power of the Holy Spirit we pray. Amen!