Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
“It’s not fair!” the five-year-old pleads as his mother takes away his toy truck.
“It’s not fair!” the teenager protests when her father grounds her for two weeks.
We all want life to be fair. Or so we claim. One of my professors in college had formerly served as the vice-principal of a high school. As such, he was responsible for disciplining students. He told us how often students would insist, “That’s not fair!” after he announced their punishment. He always responded the same way, “You don’t want it to be fair. You want it to be unfair in your advantage.”
This is truer for most of us than we would like to admit. As the police officer approaches your car after pulling you over and you KNOW you were going fifty-five miles per hour in a forty mile per hour zone, you are not hoping he will be fair. You are hoping he will be unfair in your advantage and let you go without giving you a ticket.
In the history of this world there has never been an event less fair than the sentencing of Jesus Christ to die on a Roman cross. He had broken no law. He was, in every sense, completely innocent. He was not just innocent of crimes against the government; he was innocent of a single sin against God. Yet, the Roman Governor, Pilate, sentenced Jesus to death and freed a known murderer named Barabbas. It was not fair.
And we can thank God that it was not fair. You see, it was not just Barabbas who was set free on that Friday in Jerusalem. We were set free as well. Our sins against God deserved his eternal anger and punishment. But, Jesus was punished instead. He went to the cross. We were set free. By faith in him, we are free from our sins, free from guilt, free from fear, free from punishment.
What Jesus endured was not fair. But he was willing to endure it because of his great love for us. When it comes to our salvation, thank God it’s not fair!
Lord Jesus, how grateful I am that you were willing to take my place. Rather than object to the injustice, you accepted it. I can never thank you enough. But, may my life this day be a demonstration of my gratitude. Amen.