“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!’ All the people answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!'” Matthew 27:24–25 (CSB)
Even after having read it probably more than a hundred times in my lifetime, it still shocks me when I read the words of the crowd here. They willingly invoked a curse on not only themselves, but their children for killing the Son of God. The pride, arrogance, and utter disdain for God seems amazing to me on one hand, and yet oh so unsurprising on the other. Perhaps you are wondering why it seems unsurprising to me in a certain respect. It is because I have seen the way people at large treat Jesus and nothing has changed much. Most people either try to demonize him, syncretize him, or belittle him. Few receive Jesus for who he actually is. In fact, most by far are willing to accept a modified Jesus but not the actual Jesus. Why? Because the actual Jesus offends our worldly sensibilities. In American culture for instance, we like the loving Jesus, so long as we can remove the bite of the wrath of God displayed in Jesus. We like the idea that He died on the cross to prove he loves us, but we don’t like the idea that the Father willingly crushed him because it was the only way to atone for our sins (Isaiah 53:10, Hebrews 9:22). In Buddhism they like Jesus’ teachings about being nice to other people, but they aren’t so fond of his claim to be the one true God of the universe who put on skin. Muslims love Jesus’ moral teachings too, but hate his claim to be God in the flesh. Secular humanists like the Jesus who says, “don’t judge,” but they don’t like the Jesus who sets moral boundaries or the Jesus who turns over tables in the temple. Modern liberals like the Jesus who says “let the little children come to me” but they don’t like the Jesus who makes very exclusive claims such as, “no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Do you see the trend here? Everyone seems to like the Jesus they have made into their own image and as long as he stays where they want him, they are fine with him.
The crowds loved Jesus when he was healing, or teaching what they wanted to hear. It was when he made hard to hear claims that they became indignant. The world would love to dictate to God who he gets to be, but far be it from God to give the world any instruction or communicate any truth that goes outside of the image of the world they’ve created for themselves.
This is why they crucified Jesus. Sure, it was absolutely the Father’s will to crush Jesus. God deeply desires to redeem humanity to himself and to accomplish such a task, only God could stand in and absorb the wrath of God over sin. The crucifixion was God’s idea and no one else’s. Yet the responsibility for the fact that Jesus’ ended up on a cross lays on humanity. We are the ones who chose sin over God. We are the ones who tried to remake ourselves in our own image through sin rather than relishing in and living in the image God put in us. Our pride is what destroyed us and it is what forced God’s hand to crush Jesus. To be clear, I am not saying that God had to crush Jesus in response. He could have left us for dead and been completely just in that. God would have been glorified if he had sent every human being to Hell had he so chosen to do so. Yet he chose to be glorified in another way. He chose to be glorified by redeeming all who will repent and believe the gospel.
When the people boldly declared, “His blood be on us and on our children,” they had no idea how true those words really were. Indeed Jesus’ blood is on the hands of every human who has lived. Our sin is the reason the Father put Jesus on the cross. His blood was shed in payment for our sins and the violent nature of the bloodshed shows how serious our sin truly is. More than the physical blood even, God’s wrath was poured on Jesus’ soul. It was as if he experienced eternal hell for billions of people all at once. In another sense also is Jesus’ blood is on me. It is on me to cover my sins because I have repented and believed in Jesus for my salvation. I pray that my children will receive Jesus’ cleansing blood over their lives as well.
Because of Jesus I will never have to experience the pain that he endured for me and hopefully neither will my children. I own my responsibility for his bloodshed and I teach my kids to do the same. We are guilty. Yet I also own the grace I have been given because he died in my place. I am guilty but he carried my guilt and gave me his reward in return. I teach my children that they must repent and believe the gospel as well if they want to be free. I say the same to you today. We are all guilty with regards to the blood of Jesus. It is also true that we can be clean by it if we repent and believe. My encouragement to you is this, do not die in your guilt. Repent and believe the gospel today. Only in Christ can anyone find true spiritual freedom.
About the author: Nick Tarter is a Crossover Online contributor, a pastor at City Life Church in Bethany, OK, and a Church Planting Strategist for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. He is an avid Jeeper, outdoors enthusiast, sports nut, and family man who loves the church, the Bible, and is passionate about theology. Nick holds a Bachelor’s in Humanities and Philosophy from UCO in Edmond, OK and a Masters in Theology from Liberty University.
Share this article