Today's devotion from Matthew 27. When we think about the crucifixion of Jesus, I think we often think in deep theological terms. We think about His action as a substitute for us. We think about His death paying our sin debt. We think about His blood, and focus on the new covenant made possible by His death. These are all important, each profound and vital aspects of His crucifixion without which we would not have the hope of salvation.
However, when Matthew presents His account of the events leading up to Jesus' crucifixion, the biblical author gives us a truth that breaks my heart. While Jesus' motivation was nothing less than miraculously selfless and eternally consequential, the means of getting this perfect God-Man nailed to the cross was much less noble.
Pilate could find no logic in this man's death. He didn't want to crucify Jesus, but he knew the real reason for the fiasco taking place before him. In verse 18 we read, "For he knew it was because of envy that they had handed him over." (Matthew 27:18, CSB) The reason Jesus died was most noble indeed, but the means to achieving that selfless death was nothing more than jealous envy.
The religious leaders could not stand the fact that Jesus had upstaged them. Didn't He know who they were? Didn't He know they held the power and sway in that culture? How dare He challenge their authority! They would see to it that He paid. And pay He did, but not for His arrogance. He paid for their sins. He paid for our sins.
As the people shouted, “His blood be on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:25, CSB) They surely thought they were accepting guilt and blame for His death, but in His death He offered His own innocence in exchange for their guilt. As they shouted that His blood would be on them and their children, little did they know that this was His plan precisely.