I have found in Him no guilt
Luke 23:13-43 from the daily reading in the One year Bible
Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. 15 No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. 16 Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” 17 Now he was obliged to release to them at the feast one prisoner.
18 But they cried out all together, saying, “Away with this man, and release for us Barabbas!” 19 (He was one who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection made in the city, and for murder.) 20 Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, 21 but they kept on calling out, saying, “Crucify, crucify Him!” 22 And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” 23 But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail. 24 And Pilate pronounced sentence that their demand be granted. 25 And he released the man they were asking for who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, but he delivered Jesus to their will.
26 When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus.
27 And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. 28 But Jesus turning to them said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”
32 Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him.
33 When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” And they cast lots, dividing up His garments among themselves. 35 And the people stood by, looking on. And even the rulers were sneering at Him, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His Chosen One.” 36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming up to Him, offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself!” 38 Now there was also an inscription above Him, “THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”
Many today love to point out Jesus criticism of the religious leaders of His day. They surmise that if Jesus were here today, He would prefer the company of sinners over the company of the church. In today’s text it says: Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined Him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against Him. No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him. Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.” It was the religious leaders who insisted on Jesus being crucified. It was they who were responsible for turning the people against Him. But, today, who is it who finds guilt in Christ? Who is it that is offended by Him and His righteousness? It is not the religious leaders or the church, as it was in Jesus day. Rather, it is the government, the culture and the society who seek to crucify Jesus today. The church may be far from perfect, and even many in the church might not truly know Jesus, but it is the world; the culture and the government of man who seek to eliminate Christ. They are the ones who are offended by His words, His righteousness and even by the very cross on which He died for their sins.
There is good news and hope for the world in today’s text. It says: One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” For any person, regardless of what they have done, regardless of what point in life they are at, even if they have been among the mockers, there is hope if they, like the criminal, recognize the righteousness of Christ and ask, there at the cross, that Jesus would remember them. The church cannot save anyone. They themselves need the salvation of Christ. He alone saves all who come to know and believe in Him at and by the cross. If the world, the culture, the society and even the government of man eliminates the cross and Christ, how then will anyone be saved? Fortunately no one can put an end to the eternal message of the cross.
In Mark 16:15 Jesus says: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” In Matthew 28:19-20 He says: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” In Acts 1:8 Jesus says: “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” He has called His church to be His witnesses, to share, preach and teach His message and His commandments. Jesus acknowledged that His church would have a kinship with Him. In John 15:18-24 He says: “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. He who hates Me hates My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well.” It is not the church who hates Jesus, but rather the church is hated for His name’s sake.
In Luke 9:23, along with Jesus calling and commissioning His disciples to share the gospel, He also says: "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.” In today’s text we see a different perspective of what it means to take up the cross and follow Jesus. It says: When they led Him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus… Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him. When they came to the place called The Skull, there they crucified Him. Simon of Cyrene, shows us a different way to take up the cross and follow Jesus. He carried the cross of Christ itself, when Jesus human body was no longer able to bear its burden. He though could only carry the cross to the place of Calvary. There only Jesus could bear the real burden of the cross, not its physical weight, but rather the sin of all mankind. There church has been called to carry the cross and its message of salvation, redemption and restoration through and to a hostile world which seeks to eliminate it. Like Simon, we can only carry the cross and its message to Calvary. There we must lay it down. We must point those who have followed, even those who have followed to mock and destroy, to Jesus, the way, the truth and the life. (John 14:6) There at the cross they may, as the thief, recognize Jesus and His righteousness. They might hear the words of Jesus Himself as He says: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ; precious Holy Spirit there is no guilt which can be found in You. Thank You for the cross, the demonstration of Your love and the instrument of Your forgiveness and redemption. Though some will hate and some will mock, I will bear the cross and its message through this hostile world so that even one might see and know You. That even today You would say to them: “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” Amen.