Luke 23:13-31 records part of the greatest travesty in human history. As a lawyer, it astounds me that a person could be condemned to death despite his “judge” Pilate finding he had done nothing wrong, but bowing to the pressure of a heated crowd who would rather have a murderer released to them.
This reveals the difference between the sinful nature and God’s holiness at its starkest – that our sinful nature would corrupt us so badly that humanity condemns the holy One to death. The great thing for us is that God is as perfectly gracious as he is perfectly holy – submitting himself to that condemnation in order to save those who would recognise the depth of their sinfulness, and repent of it.
Looking to the travesty of the Cross recorded in this passage, through which Jesus has revealed himself as Lord and Saviour, I wonder if I acknowledge Jesus as Lord far more often than I do as that Saviour. That is, having known God for a number of years I can, albeit far from perfectly, acknowledge to others my faith in Jesus as Lord. However, hand in hand with that length of time is the fact that I can often forget what I’ve been saved from by my Saviour.
In our culture it is easy to put up a veneer, whether as as a Christian or non-Christian, that everything in life is good and I can look after things myself. Relatively speaking, many of us and our friends are comfortable, nice people apparently without the need of being “saved” from anything. We can even persuade ourselves that everything is good and comfortable. As the years go by in faith, I wonder if it can get easier to overlook the less obvious faults within ourselves, and harder to remember the sin from which we have been and are being purified in the Spirit. Is it also easier to think our non-Christian friends are not in need of saving as a result?
This is why I’ve found the events of the crucifixion so important to take in when reading this passage. It reveals the depths of the sinful nature from which I am being saved by the Saviour, and helps to reflect on how he’s changed me and where I need to keep letting him change me. I hope he can do so for you as well, and prompt us to greater concern for those currently outside the Kingdom.