As we read through the Gospels, we see that Jesus – who was for the most part loved by the masses – was perceived as a growing threat by the religious leaders of the day. Consumed with jealousy, pride, and spiritual blindness, the woefully inadequate spiritual leaders of Israel set in motion a plot to destroy Him. That plot was carried out on the day Christians mark as Good Friday.


Leslie Strader

By the time we get to Matthew 27, Jesus has had His last meal with His disciples, been betrayed and denied by His own, been spat upon, beaten and mocked through the night in an illegal trial hosted by the religious leaders of Israel, and amazed the Roman governor Pilate with His humility, gentleness, and startling truth.

In His sovereignty, God had been moving toward the sacrificial death of His Son Jesus since before time began. Isaiah wrote 700 years before this moment, “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief.” (Is. 53:10)

We see an act of mercy as the sovereign plan of God unfolds: the Lord used Pilate to give the Jews one more chance to receive their Savior. Of course Jesus knew the outcome; there was no other way but the cross. Yet still, the custom of releasing a prisoner on Passover was put before the crowd. 

Who would it be: the notorious criminal Barabbas? Or the Lamb of God, the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, the Good Shepherd, the Son of Man, the Word made flesh –  Jesus? 

“Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!’” Matthew 27:20-23

Pilate then washed his hands, symbolically (and futilely) absolving himself of the death of an innocent. 

“… “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.” Matthew 27:24b-26

It is hard to imagine, knowing what we know, that anyone would so eagerly accept responsibility for the murder of the Messiah. But in verse 25, that is exactly what happened: “His blood be on us and on our children!” We will take the guilt for the execution of Jesus

And so this demand was met. Indeed, it was their sin – and ours and the sin of all who came before and after us – that nailed Jesus to the cross. 

We spit in His face. We stripped and mocked Him. We pressed the crown of thorns into his head. We held the whip that tore the flesh from His back. Our hands drove the nails. And we abandoned Him in the darkness. It was not just “those people.” It was us. He took on our sin and drank the cup of God’s wrath, poured for us, until it was dry. (Matt. 26:39)

Charles Spurgeon says it this way: “I slew him—this right hand struck the dagger to his heart. My deeds slew Christ. Alas! I slew my best beloved; I killed him who loved me with an everlasting love. Oh eyes, why do you refuse to weep when you see Jesus’ body mangled and torn? Give vent to your sorrow, Christians, for you have good reason to do so.”  

And while this cry of pure evil indicts us, the words take on a different tone on the other side of the cross. Jesus’ death was the perfect atonement for sin, so these words become a plea. A confession. A deep heart desire. Oh Father, let the blood of Jesus be on us and on our children.

What does this mean? See in Scripture of the power of the blood of Christ:

 “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace.” Ephesians 1:7  

 “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” Romans 5:9  

 “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.”  Ephesians 2:13  

But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7  

 “And through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:20  

He entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:12   

And they sang a new song, saying,“Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.’” Revelation 5:9-10  

The blood of Jesus is our redemption, our justification, our nearness to God, our fellowship with our Savior, our security and forgiveness, our atonement and reconciliation, our present peace and our future hope. This cry from the depths of hell has become the song of the redeemed. A once-fatal indictment has become a desperate yearning and a precious promise. 

With this perspective, it is right to cry out for the blood of Jesus. Truly, we cannot – we do not – live without it. Thank you Father, that His blood is on us, that it flowed down from His hands and feet to wash us clean and purify us from our iniquity. By His wounds we are healed. Let His blood be on us all!

“Beloved, it is a thought which ought to make our hearts leap within us, that through Jesus’ blood there is not a spot left upon any believer, not a wrinkle, nor any such thing. Oh precious blood, removing the hell-stains of abundant iniquity, and permitting me to stand accepted in the beloved, (in spite of) all the many ways in which I have rebelled against my God. … The blood of Jesus! sin dies at its presence, death ceases to be death: heaven’s gates are opened. The blood of Jesus! we shall march on, conquering and to conquer, .. (trusting in) its power!”  ~ Charles Spurgeon

Former Abilenian Leslie Strader is a freelance writer in Tyler


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