"You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish."
“HEY, if you don’t keep up, you’re going to be the one who gets caught!” Everybody remembers when we were Kids running away from a broken window or a fight. Once the parents or police were on the way, you did not want to be the slow one. Sad to say, some of us were devious enough to actually include in our group someone we knew to be slower to be the designated “fall guy.” Unwittingly they were so happy to be included only to figure out that they were chosen to purposely be left behind. Sad that sometimes that person did not figure this out- which only magnifies the guilt of you who rooked us into this designated “lamb for the slaughter.” (I hope I am tugging at all the consciences of you older brother and sisters who let us younger ones tag along only to be left to pay.)
NOBODY would rightly volunteer for this role. Sometimes it was who didn’t make it back to the car before the engine roared to life. Sometimes it was who had on darker clothes which could blend into the night. Sometimes it was who knew the territory and hiding places better than the rest. Sometimes it just boiled down to Speed! The guilt of the act, the guilt of the group was piled on this one who might even be innocent except that they were now “the Caught”!
Jesus filled this Role
Caiaphas volunteered Jesus for this Role in the verses quoted above. The Sanhedrin wanted the Romans to see Him as the upstart rather than see the whole nation as rebels. How telling it is that Pilate sees through their jealousy to know that Jesu is not a rebel while indeed He is a King. Pilate had to wash his hands of Innocent blood.
Jesus shared that Role
Two thieves hung on either side of Jesus. He was dying the death of a criminal- crucifixion- in the company of criminals. Who could doubt His guilt having been condemned by “just Roman” and dying with “unjust thugs”?? But one thief stated it best: “we are dying justly for what we deserve, but this Man is innocent- LORD remember me when You come into your Kingdom.” A Roman centurion saw through it all when He said, “surely this man was the Son of God.”
Jesus was predicted for this Role
“Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows yet we did think him to be smitten by God and afflicted.” “Strike the Shepherd and sheep will be scattered.” … the sheep who were already going astray.
But Jesus VOLUNTEERED
He was not taken because He was last in line; He cut the line right to the front and said: “Take me but let these others go.” He did it in the Garden and He does it at the Cross. -He was not taken because He was unwitting; He told the disciples, “You do not understand what I do now, but the day is coming when you will.”- He was not taken because He shared in the Guilt; He was taken because His Innocence made Him the only One who could die for the guilt of All. -He was not the one who was left behind; He was the one who stayed behind so that you and I would not be left behind in our Sin and Guilt!
Pastor Stephen Willoughby
Pastor Steve grew up in Columbia,South America, where his parents served as missionaries for 25 years. After graduating from Capital Bible Seminary, he was invited to serve as Assistant Pastor at FBCP. He has served in that capacity for twenty years before taking on the position of Senior Pastor.