The media would have been all over this story: Innocent Man Arrested and Executed! Governor Says Man Not Guilty but Executes Him Anyway! In the Meantime, a Robber is Released!
And I can just imagine the uproar on Twitter:
so much injustice I can’t even #JesusIsInnocent
srsly @Sanhedrin, what were you thinking #ReleaseJesus
@PontiusPilate has no backbone #ReleaseJesus
(Though obviously there’d have also been the opposing tweets, with the #CrucifyJesus hashtag. Pilate only went ahead with it because he wanted to appease the crowds.)
It’s a shocking story of injustice, so why am I so happy that it happened?
Because like that robber, I get to go free even though I deserve everything that Jesus went through. I know myself and I know I’m not innocent, but through the death of Jesus I get pardon, amnesty, a complete writing off of all my sins forever!
Justice requires that there’s appropriate punishment for every crime.
Jesus was executed for no crime – even Pilate declared he couldn’t find anything to accuse him of! and that’s a huge injustice. But on the other side of the scales there’s me and a whole load of other people, anyone who repents and puts their faith in him, who get to go free! I said Jesus was executed for no crime but that’s not the whole picture: he was executed for no crime of his own – but for all my sins, and yours.
The opposite of justice can be injustice: an innocent man suffering, being punished even though he had done no wrong. But the opposite of justice can also be grace: undeserved pardon, forgiveness, our sins written off, a clean slate – for which I’m so grateful I can’t even.