WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
APRIL 3, 2021
TOPIC: WHY WAS JESUS TREATED LIKE A HARDENED CRIMINAL?
BY T. O. BANSO
“He willingly gave his life and was treated like a criminal. But he carried away the sins of many people and asked forgiveness for those who sinned” (Isaiah 53:12b New Century Version).
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He was highly anointed. John 3:34 says God’s Spirit was upon him without measure or limit. He opened the eyes of the blind, healed the lame, the deaf, and the dumb, and raised the dead. He went about doing good healing them that were oppresses for God was with Him (Acts 10:38).
Nevertheless, He was arrested and didn’t resist it. He cooperated with those who plotted against Him. Those who might have anticipated any problem must have been surprised that everything went smoothly. He did not present any strong defence before the Jewish court and later before Pilate.
Within a short period, Jesus was crucified. Even the Judean governor, Pilate, who approved the execution without convicting Him of any offence was surprised that He was dead. He had to confirm that it was actually true when Joseph of Arimathea came to ask for Jesus’ body for burial.
Mark 15:43-45 says, “An honored member of the high council, Joseph from Arimathea (who was waiting for the Kingdom of God to come), gathered his courage and went to Pilate to ask for Jesus’ body. Pilate couldn’t believe that Jesus was already dead, so he called for the Roman military officer in charge and asked him. The officer confirmed the fact, and Pilate told Joseph he could have the body” (New Living Translation).
Throughout Jesus’ arrest, trial and execution, He was humiliated. He was not treated like the Son of God. He was not given the honour deserved by someone who had done good to a great number of people. He was arrested in the night in violation of the Hebrew law by a mob or troops sent by the religious leaders.
John 18:3 says Judas, having received a detachment of troops, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees came with lanterns, torches, and weapons to the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus. Verse 12 says the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him.
The book of Mathew also records His arrest. Matthew 26:47 says while Jesus was still speaking in the Garden of Gethsemane with His disciples, Judas Iscariot, the betrayer, with a great multitude holding swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people. Commenting on their attitude, Jesus asked, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me?” (Verse 55 New King James Version).
In his account, Mark says Judas, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders (Mark 14:43). Mark also records that they came out to arrest Him as against a robber, with swords and clubs (verse 48).
This was somebody who was daily with them teaching in the temple, as Jesus Himself said. But He didn’t resist arrest. Even when one of his disciples drew his sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest, Jesus fixed it back! He wasn’t bitter.
Jesus’ quietly surrender not out of weakness, but meekness. He had the power to use against the conspirators, but He retained Himself from using it. He rebuked the sword-wielding disciple, saying, “Do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” (Matthew 26:53-54 New King James Version).
A legion in the Roman army consisted of 3,000 to 6,000 infantry troops and 100 to 200 cavalrymen (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary). Imagine what twelve legions would be. Jesus was simply talking of multitudes of angels. He had access to multitudes of them to defend them during His arrest, but He didn’t ask for them.
As a result, Jesus was treated like a hardened criminal. The Hebrew law forbade arrest at night, yet He was arrested at night. Also, contrary to the law, they bound Him and led Him away first to a former High Priest, Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the current High priest then (John 18:12-13). After Jesus answered a question by Annas, one of his officers, who felt that He didn’t answer the High Priest the right way slapped Him (verse 22). That physical assault was a violation of His right. He had not been convicted.
The conspirators continued to treat Him like a hardened criminal. After being questioned illegally by the Sanhedrin in the house of Caiaphas, some began to spit on Him, blindfolded Him, and beat Him, asking Him to prophesy! The guards also hit Him as they led him away (Mark 14:65). Luke 22:63 and Matthew 26:67-68 also record this.
Why should Jesus Christ, the Son of God, be treated like a hardened criminal? All the humiliation so far happened in the night. But it continued in the morning before Pilate. Matthew 27:2 says they bound Him and led Him to Pontius Pilate.
After His trial, Pilate handed Him over to the Jews to be crucified. “Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. And when they had mocked Him, they took the robe off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him away to be crucified” (Matthew 27:27-31 New King James Version).
Jesus was crucified in the midst of two robbers as if that was His right company! (Matthew 27:38). After all, all along they had been treating Him like a criminal. But that was in fulfilment of the Scriptures. Why? Why must He be treated like a criminal? Because of you and me. Isaiah 53:12b says, “He willingly gave his life and was treated like a criminal. But he carried away the sins of many people and asked forgiveness for those who sinned” (New Century Version).
Jesus suffered like a criminal because of your sins and my sins. Because you and me they gave Him sour wine mingled with gall to drink, which He tasted, but would not drink (Matthew 27:34). In order to hasten the death of Jesus and the two criminals crucified with Him, their legs were broken, but before they could break Jesus’ legs they discovered He had died. One of the soldiers, however, pierced his side with a spear, and blood and water flowed out (John 19:31-34). These two incidents were a fulfillment of prophecy (Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalm 34:20; Zechariah 12:10; Revelation 1:7).
The soldiers divided His clothes among themselves by casting lots, which was also a fulfillment of prophecy (Matthew 27:35; Psalm 22:18).
Jesus suffered all this humiliation like a criminal because of you and me. Isaiah puts this succinctly, “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:4-6 New King James Version).
The prophet Isaiah continued, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked — but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth” (verse 7-9 New King James Version).
Jesus didn’t open His mouth to defend Himself but suffered injustice because of your sins and my sins. It pleased the LORD to bruise Him and put Him to grief. He made His soul an offering for sin. He bore our iniquities. The LORD said He would give Him the honours of one mighty and great because He exposed Himself to death; He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners (Isaiah 53:12).
Philippians 2:8-11 says, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (New King James Version).
What is your relationship with Jesus who was treated like a criminal because of you? Crucifixion was the Romans’ most severe form of execution and was reserved only for slaves and criminals (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary). Jesus loved you so much to die for you on the cross like a criminal.
Have you given your life to Him? Have you accepted Him as your Lord and Saviour? Are you telling others about this love of God manifested in Christ? Jesus’ suffering and death must not be in vain.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto you today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and resurrected the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like the palm tree and grow like the cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Jesus, my Lord and Saviour, thank You for Your suffering and death to save me from sin and hell-fire. Father, help me to love Jesus and serve Him to the end. Cause those who are yet to receive Him as their Lord and Saviour to do so this season.
(For about 600 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit: www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President, Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
Phone No: +2348155744752, +2348033113523
WhatsApp No: +2349081295947