12 As a result of this Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”
13 Therefore when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out, and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.
14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. And he *said to the Jews, “Behold, your King!”
15 So they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him, crucify Him!” Pilate *said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”
16 So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified.

“I would never do that.” Most people have said or thought this phrase at some point. Children proclaim they will never operate in the same way as their parents. Pastors proclaim they will not make the same mistakes they experienced in their spiritual upbringing. Spouses confidently believe they will never make the same missteps as those who have experienced the brokenness of relationships. Inevitably, almost everyone who has made this claim has committed the mistakes they promised to avoid to some degree. As Proverbs 16:18 wisely warns, pride comes before destruction.

As we think about the crowd who called out for Jesus to be crucified, we may have likewise thought or said at some point that we would never do that. However, we should also be slow in making this claim. It is easy to pass judgment on this crowd and believe that we would have chosen a better way. Yet, our lives tell a different story. We have all rejected God at various points in our lives. From our birth, we were prone toward sin and separated from God. Even if we have not literally cried out for Jesus’ crucifixion with our words, our sinful deeds have repeatedly cried out, “Crucify Him!” And the reality is that our sin, along with the sin of the world, is the very reason that Jesus had to go to the cross.

It was only by the cross that we could be restored to right relationship with God. Through the cross, Jesus has paid the penalty for our sin and given us His righteousness before God. We should remember that we are guilty for Jesus’ death on the cross and be slow to claim that we would have responded differently than the crowd before Pilate. At the same time, our hearts should overflow with thanksgiving that Jesus did go to the cross. It is by His death that we have received life.

• How often do you reflect on the fact that even your individual sin was enough that Jesus had to go to the cross?

• How should a deep recognition of the debt of our sin and God’s love for us on the cross motivate us to share the gospel with others?

• Pray and thank God for the cross. Confess where you have rejected God and thank Him for the great love He has shown us in Jesus.