Isaiah 53:7 – He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter. (NIV)
My husband and I recently had occasion to go to the United States. Ronald dreads going across the border because he has had several bad experiences. On one crossing, he had to wait for hours while his car was searched. It is no wonder he was stopped as often as he was: he was in his twenties and drove a fancy sports car.
We were stopped at the border, and when the officer came out of his booth, he asked my husband where we were all from. It was the funniest thing, but my husband hesitated, as if he had forgotten. The officer looked at Ronald in a questioning fashion, but let him proceed with our trip. Later that day, we were sitting in the living room of a friend's home, when out of my husband's mouth popped this comment, "That officer looked at me like I was a criminal." In a quick-witted retort, I burst out, "You are a criminal; you have stolen my heart!"
Is love a crime? According to the Scriptures it can turn out this way, and we need only to look at the death of Jesus to realize this.
Why did the people want Christ crucified? When Pilate asked the enraged crowds, "What crime has he committed?" they yelled out, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God."
Was there any offence in Jesus? "I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty," Pilate responded to the gathered crowd. Even Pilate recognized the indisputable fact that Jesus was innocent. Pilate could see the real motive behind their accusations. The leaders' hearts were filled with envy, and they resented the people's changing allegiance — because of His miracles — from them to Jesus.
What then was Jesus' real crime? It was His love. He came to steal our hearts away. He loves us with an unshakeable love, infinite beyond our understanding. His crime was not blasphemy; on the contrary, He elevated God to His rightful place of honour with an obedience that is mind-staggering. He knew He had come to give his life as a ransom for many. This is the real Passion of the Christ.
Prayer: Father, we thank You for sending Your Son Jesus into this world and for His dying for us. Help us to rest in You and to know that nothing could ever separate us from Your love. Amen.