The events of the day that Jesus was crucified were extraordinary. Every rule was broken, every Biblical statement and prophecy was ignored. Jesus was forcible moved from place to place and was judged at night. This violated the laws of the Jews. The “spiritual authorities” of that time knew the prophecies about the coming Messiah, but they would not apply them to Jesus. Finally, the Lord Jesus was brought before Pilate.
“And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.” – John 19:12-13“The Pavement” was an elevated platform from which the Roman governor made judgments and proclamations. I wonder if this was not located at the elevated platform of the former Roman fort, which is protected and honored today by the Dome of the Rock.
After His “trial” by Pilate, Jesus was led out and presented to the Jews.
“And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.” – John 19:14-15
“When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it. Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.” – Matthew 27:24-25Remember the importance of what we say. The Children of Israel declared that the Lord brought them out into the wilderness to die. (Exodus 14:11) When they rebelled against going into the Promised Land, the Lord said,
“ … as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you.” (Numbers 14:28)The Lord told them that they would, in fact, die in the wilderness.
For a person to accept the responsibility for their own actions is admirable. But for them to place that responsibility, and in this case the curse, upon their children is unconscionable. By urging the death of the Son of God, they placed the accountability on themselves and their children. So it has been.
Within forty years of the Crucifixion, Jerusalem was under siege and the Temple destroyed. About sixty years later, the Romans expelled the Jews from Israel and deported them all across the Roman Empire. There, many of them remain to this day. The Romans renamed the Land of Israel to honor the long enemy of the Jews, the Philistines. They named it Palestine.
Shortly after the destruction of Jerusalem, a group of Jews fortified themselves at Herod’s mountaintop fortress, Masada. The only way for the Roman army to gain access was to build a large earthen ramp with Jewish slave labor. When the ramp was completed and the army poised to enter the fortress, they discovered that the Jews had committed suicide rather than allow themselves and their children to be made slaves, or worse.
In the year 1190 A.D. a group of Jews had retreated to a fortified tower in York, England. The people of York gathered around the tower attempting to break in. When they had finally broken their way in, they discovered the bodies of the Jews that had committed suicide, just like Masada.
Throughout history the Jews were placed in isolation (ghettos). They were kicked out of countries. They were hated and persecuted. Perhaps the most infamous persecution is the German concentration camps and death camps of the 1930s and 1940s.
This is all because of a statement made by their ancestors some 2,000 years ago. They were sealing the fate of their descendants. But the Lord is gracious. He has promised that He will bring them back from their exile. (Isaiah 14:1-2, 49:22, 60:3-4) In fact, before the first exile to Babylon, He promised to bring them back to Israel “a second time.” (Isaiah 11:11)
We have all said foolish things. Dear Lord, please help us to remember the importance of our words. Praise the Lord for His wonderful grace to us. May His name be praised forever!