Read: Matthew 27:11–25
“When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’
“All the people answered, ‘His blood is on us and on our children!’” (Matthew 27:24–25 NIV).
Reflect: Matthew 27:24–25 gives a beautiful picture of how Jesus’ kingdom is quite different than what we expect. Pilate wanted to wash his hands of the blood of Jesus, while the crowd said that they would take His blood on them. Isn’t that interesting?
Today, we know that having the blood of Jesus on us really is the only way to wash away our sins as Pilate was trying to do. But Pilate did not understand how Jesus’ kingdom would occur. Pilate had been warned by his wife about Jesus. “While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: ‘Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him’ ” (Matthew 27:19). Pilate’s response was to try freeing another prisoner. When that didn’t work, he washed his hands.
This Passover feast, celebrated since the angel of death passed over the Israelites while they were in Egypt, had been celebrated every year. However, at the time of this Easter week’s Passover celebration, God would provide the Passover lamb. Jesus tried to explain all of the elements of His sacrifice to the disciples by telling them that His body would be the bread and that His blood would be the wine. He even washed their feet to serve them and to show how His sacrifice would call each of them to take up His cross for the sake of the gospel.
Respond: In the eighteenth century, William Cowper penned the words, “There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s veins, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains.”
What a beautiful picture of this terrible day for the disciples and all of those who followed Jesus.
Yet, the miraculous resurrection was soon to come. Imagine that you are at the fountain of blood being spilled at the cross this Easter. How will you respond? Will you be washed clean by the blood of God’s sacrificial lamb?
Claudia Johnson, CWLC leadership consultant