Palm Sunday March 20
Punishment and Peace - Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)
"…upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed."
Pontius Pilate used a familiar tool of the powerful over the powerless at the trial of Jesus: the whip. “I have found in him (Jesus) no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” (Luke 23:22 ESV) It is an episode of the Passion story that still confuses us. After declaring Jesus to be guiltless, Pilate turns around and has him flogged. What kind of “innocence” is this?
Isaiah’s prophetic eye gives us the insight: this is “the chastisement that brought us peace.” Punishment and peace. How does the one lead to the other?
In the history of nations, punishment brings peace only by driving one power into submissive surrender. And it is not always a foolproof strategy. The governments of North America, motivated more by fear and ignorance instead of justice, thought that the way to deal with the “savages” that comprised the Native Tribes was to simply punish them into submission.
When we follow Jesus, we see how our greatest victories are accomplished through submission; even submission to our enemies. Jesus allowed the Powers of Darkness to have their way with Him. He was tried, convicted, and executed on the Cross, despite Pilate’s assertion that “I find no fault in him.” Jesus willingly brought the punishment of countless sinners squarely upon Himself. By taking our punishment, Jesus produced the peace; peace between God and sinners, accomplished by enduring infinite punishment, which only God becoming flesh was capable of doing. Jesus has done this, for you. His punishment brings you God’s peace.
Your loving obedience to Your Heavenly Father brought You to the Cross. Your victorious Resurrection brings Your victory to each of us. Bring us to that saving faith today.
Rev. Robert Gebel - Milwaukee, Wisconsin