Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional thoughtfully penned by leaders in DUMC arising from their daily devotions. The devotional’s title, “Our Best Thought” is taken from the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” as a reference to God: “Thou my best thought, by day or by night.” Receive direct updates through a Telegram Channel: https://t.me/ourbestthought
“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.” But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand.”
Luke 23:22-24 (NIV)
“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.””
Luke 23:39-41 (NIV)
After being arrested, Jesus was held and brought before several parties for questioning. First, to the religious assembly, then to Pilate the Roman governor, then to Herod and the religious authorities in Galilee, before going back to Pilate for the final verdict. In these trials, Jesus was subjected to strong accusations and mockery.
In the passages above, Pilate told the chief priests and the rulers of the people that he found no grounds for capital punishment – the accusations were baseless. Despite this, the people insisted on having Jesus crucified.
As Jesus was taken and crucified next to two criminals, soldiers continued to mock him. Even one of the criminals by His side taunted Jesus, suggesting that since He was the Messiah he should save Himself, and them along with it. But the other criminal rebuked him, for they were receiving just punishment, but Jesus was not.
When faced with the question of how Jesus is to be punished, Pilate appealed to release him because he found no reason to kill him. The crucified criminal, hanging next to Jesus who was still being condemned and mocked by others, spoke up to say that Jesus had done no wrong.
Jesus was without any doubt, an innocent man. By our human, societal standards that to this day is far from perfect but holds people accountable to their actions as a standard of morality, Jesus was innocent and did not deserve to be punished. All the more, by God’s standards, Jesus is perfect, blameless, holy. By all accounts Jesus was innocent, YET he faced the most gruesome punishment of the day.
Reflecting on Christ’s journey to the cross, the weight of Jesus’ innocence makes his death that much more scandalous; to know that Jesus died for absolutely no fault of his own, serving no sense of recognisable justice, in fact the very picture of injustice. But Christ died so that I can live. He did not deserve to die, I did.
Lord Jesus, You are holy and blameless. You were innocent and spotless, yet you willingly subjected yourself to the cross to die for my sins and the sins of the world. May I never lose sight of how glorious Your sacrifice is on the cross and how great Your love is. Amen.
Gabriel Ngui is Head of Resonate ministry. You can respond to this devotional by writing to .