There is a very interesting moment during the trial of Jesus right before his crucifixion. A lot of times we see it happen in movies. Someone will say something offhandedly, not meaning it beyond what it appears, but in reality, it means something so much deeper for what is to come. Pilate is trying to convince the people not to kill Jesus, but they are relentless. He offers a loophole, to release Jesus and kill Barabbas the criminal. But the people want Jesus dead. Crucified. Pilate begs for a reason, questions Jesus’ guilt, but the people cry all the louder, “Crucify him!” In Matthew 27:24 it says that Pilate realized he was getting nowhere and had no other choice. So, before he made the final decision, he washed his hands in front of them and said, “I am innocent of this. It is your responsibility.”
And the words from the crowd, when I first read this and realized what they were saying, gave me goosebumps. The crowd, enraged and ready to begin the killing of Jesus, cried out to Pilate, “His blood is on us and on our children!” Do you see what they are saying? What they meant? They declared, “We’ll take responsibility for his death if you won’t! His blood can be on us and on our children for all we care, as long as he dies!” But when we read these words, and when we know the rest of the story, it means something so much more. And remember, Matthew didn’t make up these words to spice up the story. He was only writing what happened then and there.
These people who wanted so much for Jesus to die, released a murderer so that Jesus could die, falsely accused him so that he would be found guilty; the blood of Jesus was poured out for those people. We don’t know the rest of the story, but I’d like to think that when Jesus visited people during his last days, or when thousands joined the disciples at Pentecost, that some of these people were there. And when they chose to accept Christ, and the blood that was spilled for them, I’d like to think they remembered those words they spoke on that day in the crowd. And I’d like to think that in that moment, the death of Christ meant more to them than they would’ve ever imagined.
What does Christ’s death mean to us? What does his blood being poured out for us mean to us? Is it possible that somewhere in our own ancestry, someone was there in that crowd saying “Crucify him! His blood is on us and on our children!”? Don’t forget that we are just as responsible for Jesus’ death as those in the crowd. Knowing that, what does his blood mean for you?