May 13, 2022

Suffering Savior

Luke 23:13-25

With loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand.

—  Luke 23:23-24

Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, is a pitiful figure in history. Though he was conflicted about sentencing Jesus to death, Pilate gave in to the mob calling for Jesus to be crucified.

Why does the Apostles’ Creed note that Jesus suffered “under Pontius Pilate”? This statement points out the historical fact that Jesus was condemned to suffer and die by the governing authority of that day. Pilate represented the Roman government, and his judgment made Jesus’ sentencing and suffering an official event in history, even though Jesus was totally innocent and without sin.

We all need a Savior because we are guilty of sin and deserving of punishment. And in his mysterious wisdom, God used the government of Rome, flawed as it was, in the process of bringing salvation for our sake. By suffering “under Pontius Pilate,” Jesus took on himself the condemnation we deserve. And through his suffering Jesus has extended God’s grace to us, covering us with his own righteousness and granting us peace and the blessings of fellowship with God forever.

Through his weak and wrongful judgment, Pilate served Jesus a hideous sentence. But God, through his power and wisdom, used Jesus’ suffering to redeem us. What amazing grace and love!

What love is this, Father, that caused you to send your Son to suffer and die for us? Thank you for your amazing love and grace. Amen.

About the author — Kurt Selles

Kurt Selles is the director of ReFrame Ministries and serves as the Executive Editor of Today. He is a graduate of Calvin College and Seminary, and received his PhD from Vanderbilt University. Before coming to ReFrame, he served 19 years in Taiwan and China with CRC World Missions. Kurt later taught missions at Beeson Divinity School, where he also acted as the director of the school’s Global Center. Kurt and his wife, Vicki, reside in Grand Rapids and have three adult children.

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