Luke 23:1-25 says:
Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”
3 So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
4 Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”
5 But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”
6 On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. 7 When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.
8 When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort. 9 He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. 11 Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. 12 That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.
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.”  [a]
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. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.
Luke 23 takes us into the heart of the one story that I really don’t like to read. I know that the knowledge of Jesus’ suffering is central to the Christian faith; but I really don’t like to think about it, let alone read it. It makes the notion that Jesus, the only truly sinless human to have ever lived, suffered such horrific injustices in the place of every person in the world, including me, 2000ish years later far too real for my comfort. I can’t wrap my head around this incredible love that is shown in Jesus throughout these gut-wrenching passages. He could have defended himself. In my opinion, He should have defended himself. There was no reason on earth that Jesus should have died. However, this is where the heavenly part comes in and I believe shows God’s character and love perhaps more than any other passage in the Bible. God let his Son die, not because he is a heartless Father, but because he is a just and loving King. For the life of me, I cannot imagine God sitting up in heaven, looking down on all of this playing out, and being happy about it. I can only imagine God weeping for His Son as He is watching Him draw closer and closer to the most unjust death imaginable. However, He allowed all of this to happen to allow reconciliation to occur between God and a fallen world.
When sin entered the world, I imagine a great chasm being placed between humanity and God. God could have just swiped away the chasm to be reconciled with us, but that wouldn’t have been just. It says multiple times throughout the Bible that God is both just and loving. The punishment we deserve for our sins is death, so the only just thing to do in this situation is allow someone to die. This is why the Jews have a sacrificial system; to allow something to die in their place. However, this was an imperfect sacrifice, and God desired a perfect sacrifice to atone for the sins of the entire world, forever. What better way than to show incredible love for all humanity than to sacrifice your only Son (Which, if you believe in the Trinity being literal, than the Son is God in human form. That being said, God really sacrificed himself. Talk about true selflessness.), who was the only human ever to not deserve to die, because he never sinned. Ever. The love of God shown in this situation is just too great, too huge to understand with my limited human knowledge. God as a Father didn’t want this to happen (I mean, come on. What parent wants their kid to die?), but he knew that this was the only way to reconcile the world to himself. I believe that this knowledge of God’s incredible love should so inspire and provoke people who claim to be Christians that we should desire more than anything to love radically in ways that don’t make sense by earthly standards. God’s reasoning behind sacrificing his only Son certainly doesn’t make sense from an earthly perspective. We are kingdom people. We need to live like it. My favorite saying is that we are all called to love. (I mean, come on. Look at the title of this blog.) And I think this passage gives a great example of how deep the love should go.