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When I was eight-year-old, my parents warned me not to run down our gravel driveway in swim shoes. But to eight-year-old Amber, that was a bit like a child whom you tell, “don’t touch the hot stove,” and they do it anyway.
If you tell someone not to think about elephants, chocolate cake, or granola, for instance, that is the thing they find themselves wondering to think about most.
So, like any wise child, I disobeyed my parents. I ran down the mailbox in my swim shoes and felt proud. I felt especially proud when I reached the mailbox to fetch the mail and was on my way back with no harm insight. Until that is, my foot got stuck in a large pothole, and I tumbled to my knees.
Quickly attempting to cover the wound on my shin, I was embarassed. I wouldn’t even have to tell my parents what happened, because they could see the blood dripping down my leg.
I didn’t understand that my parents only told me not to run down the driveway in my swim shoes because they were trying to protect me. It was their love and their experience that said, “Amber, don’t do that,” yet I did it anyway.
Now while it might seem a bit unrealted, I feel that people of Jesus’ time needed to learn this lesson as well.
Jesus Before Pilate
In Matthew Chapter 27, verses 11-26, Jesus stands before Pilate shortly before His crucifixion. When the people accused Jesus, however, He remained silent. And even though Pilate and his wife knew the truth, Pilate chose to please the people.
He did not see or understand that the man standing before Him was not trying to keep him from living, but to offer him the fullest measure and expression of life.
Pilate and those shouting to crucify Jesus did not comprehend that the man saying, “I am the way, the truth, and the life,” was not there to condemn them and leave them in their sinful states, but to offer them forgiveness and love in a way they never thought was possible.
Because shortly after Pilate handed Jesus over to the people, the Scriptures tell us that he washed his hands and said Jesus’ blood would be on the people. But did that really wash the sin from his heart? Did Pilate truly understand that the statement he made and the people agreed to would later have such depth and meaning?
“When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified” (Matthew 27: 24-26, New International Version).
We Aren’t Innocent
As much as Pilate, the people, and even us today would like to believe that we are/were innocent of shedding Jesus’ blood, we aren’t. And while we are tempted to say that we would never do what they did to Jesus, we do every single day.
We are all Adam and Eve who sinned in the Garden.
We are all Israel who prostituted our love and abandoned the God who recklessly loved and pursued us anyways.
We are all Judas’ kiss, and cause of the blood dripping down Jesus’ face.
We are sinners in the hands of a God who should have killed us, yet sent His only Son to die for us instead. Those deserving of punishment, but receiving love instead.
His Blood Set Us Free
Because today, as much as it was true back then, the blood of Jesus was on us and our children and we were/are guilty. But isn’t it crazy that a man we crucified, Jesus Christ, His blood shed on that cross saved not Himself, but you and me?
The blood we caused would later set us free because He paid the penalty for our sins, though He had done nothing wrong.
The innocent man condemned guilty was more than a Tom Robinson or good person, pure mockingbird put to death. He was our Lifeline and we nailed Him to a tree.
But unlike other sources of electricity or heat, physical lifelines that have to be replaced, Jesus did not need that because He was the Lifeline itself, and He conquered both death and the grave.
The blood we caused would later set us free, break chains, bless nations, bring freedom, and establish new life for those who never deserved it.
There Is Power In the Blood
At one time or another, we have all said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” and blamed Jesus’ death or our sins as someone else’s responsibility.
We have blamed bad moods, periods, annoyances, mishaps, wrongings, and rejections on anyone but ourselves. Rarely do we like to or feel comfortable taking the blame for something that makes us look bad or guilty.
But the truth us, His blood is on all of us, and we are the guilty ones. And that is exactly why Jesus had to die so He could set us free.
Not from a crime He committed, but one we did.
Not from a punishment He deserved, be we did.
Not to condemn us any longer, but to offer us new life and hope through Him. To offer salvation, and show us our need for Him.
To show us the blood we caused to pour from His body did not kill Him, but resurrected soemthing greater as Life Everlasting.
The blood we caused was on our hands.
Only a true and loving King of Kings could use something so horrific to set us free.
Only a true and loving Kind of Kings could look at us with blood on our hands and say, “I have washed you clean.”
“Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love. Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins. Wash me clean from my guilt. Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. You will be proved right in what you say, and your judgment against me is just. For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you. Then I will teach your ways to rebels, and they will return to you. Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves; then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness. Unseal my lips, O Lord, that my mouth may praise you. You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God. Look with favor on Zion and help her; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings. Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar” (Psalm 51:1-19, New Living Translation).