“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
“Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
For me, this text conjures up a painful image of harsh faces shouting uncontrollably and violently. Yet what most strikes me about this image is that I must count myself among them—not only because I am marred by sin and so would have this innocent man crucified anyway, but because I actually need this Jesus to be crucified. It breaks me to recognize that I must shout with this crowd, “Crucify him!” It would be a terrible injustice, a terrible sin, to demand the death of an innocent man, as Pilate asks, “What crime has he committed?”—how much more the death of God Himself! Yet astonishingly, it is because of this greatest of sins, the demand that my God must die, that I am finally released from my sin. The death of God secures my own life, the illumination of my blind state and the liberation from my own dark heart. Because of this, I must cry with the crowd, with trembling heart, “Crucify him!”