As I look at all the gospel accounts, the cries of the crowd shouting “Crucify! Crucify!” resonate with me.
How it must have broken the heart of Jesus to see the ones he loved reject him so.
Pilate, in his utter despair of the situation, finally washed his hands in front of them, and said,
I am innocent of this man’s blood…It is your responsibility! (24)
To which the people responded,
Let his blood be on us and on our children! (25)
Ultimately, that’s what happened. Because of their rejection of Christ, they and their children perished when Titus came to destroy Jerusalem in AD 70.
But as I reflect on Pilate’s words and the crowd’s, two things strike me.
First, it is our responsibility that Jesus died. It was because of us that he died. Had we never rejected God, had we never sinned, Jesus would never have had to die. And so his blood is not only on the Jews of that time, it is on us as well. Paul says,
For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
Because of this, there is no one who can say as Pilate tried to, “It is not my responsibility.” We are all responsible.
But there’s another way to look at the phrase, “his blood be upon us,” and this is the second thing. Certainly the crowd meant that they were responsible when they said it. But the irony is, it is now his blood upon us that cleanses us from our sin. When we put our faith in Jesus, his blood covers our sin and makes us righteous before him.
The writer of Hebrews tells us,
Jesus entered the Most Holy Place (in the heavenly tabernacle) once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! (Hebrews 9:12-14)
So let us cry out to the Savior, “Your blood is upon us. We are responsible for your death because of our sin. But now may your blood be upon us, and by your grace and mercy, cleanse us, forgive us, and make us whole.”