“Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.” -Matthew 27:25
The desperate wickedness of human nature.
The behaviour of Pilate afforded the chief priests and elders an occasion of reconsidering what they were about. The difficulties he raised about condemning our Lord, gave time for second thoughts: but there were no second thoughts in the minds of our Lord’s enemies. They pressed on their wicked deed; they rejected the compromise that Pilate offered: they actually preferred having a wretched felon, named Barabbas, set at liberty rather than Jesus. They clamoured loudly for our Lord’s crucifixion; and they wound up all by recklessly taking on themselves all the guilt of our Lord’s death, in words of portentous meaning: ‘His blood be on us, and on our children’.
And what had our Lord done, that the Jews should hate Him so? He was no robber, or murderer: He was no blasphemer of their God, or reviler of their prophets. He was one whose life was love: He was one who ‘went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil’ (Acts 10:38). He was innocent of any transgression against the law of God or man, and yet the Jews hated Him, and never rested till He was slain! They hated Him, because He testified of their works that they were evil: they hated the light, because it made their own darkness visible. In a word, they hated Christ, because He was righteous and they were wicked, because He was holy and they were unholy, because He testified against sin, and they were determined to keep their sins and not let them go.
Let us never be surprised at the wickedness there is in the world. Let us mourn over it, and labour to make it less, but let us never be surprised at its extent. There is nothing which the heart of man is not
capable of conceiving, or the hand of man of doing. As long as we live, let us mistrust our own hearts: even renewed by the Spirit, they are still ‘deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked’ (Jer. 17:9).
*Excerpted from Day By Day With J.C. Ryle: A New Daily Devotional of Ryle’s Writings by J.C. Ryle (Christian Heritage, 2011).
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