When hauled before Pilate to answer key questions, Jesus answered truth as always, but disregarded false accusations making no defense that might be picked apart.
Pilate could see there was no danger in Jesus but he felt the political anger of the mob. He knew there would be trouble for his administration if he did not satisfy this large, vocal demographic.
He offered a choice which seemed like a no-brainer: Release the harmless prophet or the convicted murderer. The crowd shouted to release Barrabas.
He tried to reason with the crowd. “What crime has he committed?” They yelled, “Crucify him!”
At last, feeling trapped, Pilate did a little hand-washing. In contrast to the selfless footwashing Jesus had performed for his disciples the night before, Pilate chose to “wash his hands” to save himself. He wanted no part of this drama. His hand-washing did nothing to clean his guilty conscience.
So Pilate transferred responsibility to the crowd saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. It is your responsibility.” At this they self-righteously cried, “Let his blood be on us and on our children.” So sure of their arrogant charge of blasphemy, they unwittingly called for the only thing that could ultimately save them. Covered by the blood of Jesus, we are made clean.
“God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.” Romans 3:25a
“Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him!” Romans 5:9
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” Ephesians 1:7
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” Ephesians 2:13
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:19-20
“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, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7
In the blood of Jesus we receive reconciliation with God and forgiveness of sins in a way that we could never achieve on our own. Neither our cowardly hand-washing nor our self-righteous condemnation can ever bring us closer to God. Rightly understood, the cry of the angry crowd becomes a prayer instead of a curse.
“Let His blood be on us and on our children.”