- Shawn Gerbers
Luke 23:13-24 - Innocently Condemned
Jesus was unfairly convicted so that you could be considered innocent.
Read / Listen
Read Luke 23:13-24
13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.” 
18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)
20 Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. 21 But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
22 For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”
23 But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. 24 So Pilate decided to grant their demand.
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 38
Q. Why did he suffer
“under Pontius Pilate” as judge?
A. So that he,
might be condemned by a civil judge,
and so free us from the severe judgment of God
that was to fall on us.
Anyone who has heard the crucifixion account before knows that Jesus was unjustly crucified. The chief priests conspired against Jesus because they believed he was blaspheming God. Jesus had been speaking boldly and performing miracles, which got their attention. What drew their anger was his refusal to deny the claim that he was the Son of God.
The chief priests had Jesus arrested and ultimately brought before Pontius Pilate. When he was brought before Pontius Pilate, Pilate found no reason to crucify him. Three times Pilate tried to reason with the chief priests, even stating that Herod, a second Roman official, found no reason to punish Jesus by death. Pontius Pilate did not want to crucify Jesus, he wanted to release him.
The chief priests, elders, and teachers of the law would not let that happen. They stirred up the crowd and eventually the shouts and demands of the crowd prevailed and Pilate decided to crucify Jesus for no reason, other than to appease the crowd. Jesus was innocent, but he was going to die.
The Heidelberg Catechism ensures that we know that Jesus was innocent. There is very good reason for that: there should be no doubt or question of his innocence. Jesus did not deserve to die; he committed no crime.
Whenever a crime is reported on the news, oftentimes the suspect’s past behavior is shared. Has the suspect been arrested before? Does the suspect have past criminal behavior? Has the suspect been convicted of crimes before? This information may or may not help the audience in discerning the suspect’s guilt.
If Jesus’ trial were to happen today, there would be no past criminal behavior to bring forth. There would be no evidence of malicious intent or conspiracy to overthrow the government. All the public would find is Jesus, the Son of God, preaching boldly to anyone who would listen that the kingdom of heaven is near. There would be thousands of witnesses to Jesus’ miracles who would corroborate the report that he has done amazing things.
All that to say, Jesus did not deserve to die on that cross. There is no doubt whatsoever that he was wrongly sentenced to death. Jesus was innocently condemned to death by the early judge, Pontius Pilate, so that you would not experience the judgment from God you actually deserve for your sin.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father is a holy and just God who will judge all people righteously
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Confess the many times you've unfairly condemned others, and thank God Jesus endured unjust judgment so that you'd be freed from God's righteous judgment
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Matthew 5