Jesus, the sinless Son of God, stood with quiet dignity in the courts of evil men. His accusers judged Him worthy of death and dealt Him a sentence He had not earned. Jesus’ posture as He was accused and condemned revealed that He willingly died for the sake of sinners. The people who thought they judged Jesus failed to recognize that the One they accused and condemned was actually their Judge. Jesus’ deliberate offering of Himself is evident at every point in His trials.
He was not a victim, but surrendered Himself willingly, to endure a death He did not deserve. The scene in those ancient courtrooms helps us recognize a life-altering truth. What Jesus accomplished for the people who turn to Him for salvation is beyond amazing. The perfect Son of God was judged guilty, although He was innocent. Every human stands justly declared guilty in God’s courtroom. But because Jesus took their place, every believer stands before God, and though guilty, is declared innocent.
How can this be? Jesus chose to stand as our substitute. He did this because He loves us. The death sentence that Jesus accepted that day, in Jerusalem, was really ours. In an astonishing exchange, Jesus took our punishment and gave us His righteousness in its place. People who do not recognize God’s just declaration of their guilt and fail to turn to Jesus as their substitute, must bear the weight of their own judgment. Our pitiful attempts to earn God’s favor cannot substitute for the debt of sin we owe. There are only two ways that sin’s deserved penalty can be paid. Either you will pay it yourself or believe that Jesus paid that price for you as your substitute. Jesus is the only acceptable sacrifice for sin.
The wonder that the guilty can stand perfectly forgiven and clothed “in Christ” will be celebrated throughout eternity. Jesus did not die merely for a faceless world of countless people, Jesus did this for you and me. Every believer can live life confidently, knowing that Jesus took the judgment they deserve. The innocent was declared guilty so that the guilty can be declared forgiven. 1 Peter 2:24 says, “‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’”