All great stories have certain common components. There is a protagonist (the good guy), an antagonist (the bad guy, or that which stands against good guy), and the stakes (what the good guy aims to win or lose). The good guy wants something, the protagonist stands against him, and the audience watches as the good guy fights for what he wants.
Let’s use Jurassic Park as an example. The protagonists are the humans, whose goal is to stay alive. The antagonists are the dinosaurs, which aim to eat said humans.
In Matthew 27, we see a mockery of a trial. Jesus is accused of, well, no one is actually sure. He’s accused of everything and yet nothing. Though no one says it, Jesus is accused of upending everyone’s life. He was too dangerous. He asked too much of them—their lives. He was too powerful. He upended the status quo.
Pilate tries to punish and release Jesus (Luke 23:15-16), but the crowd will not relent. They want Jesus executed, and they are fired up. Pilate doesn’t see much fault in Jesus, but neither will he stick his neck out on his behalf.
When the mob starts to riot, Pilate figures it’s time to get on with the execution. He publicly washes his hands, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves” (Matt. 27:24). The mob gladly claims responsibility.
“His blood be on us and on our children!” (Matt. 27:25)
His blood be on us and on our children. If only they understood the foolishness of these words. If only they understood the irony of them.
And here we must stop for a moment. This is the greatest story ever told, so yeah, the common elements are here. The protagonist is Jesus. The crowd are the antagonists. The stakes? They could not be higher. The stakes are the salvation of the world.
But there is a twist. The protagonist sacrifices for the benefit of the antagonists. The good guy, Jesus, lays his life down for the bad guys. To conquer their sin, he must first bear the brunt of it.
The crowd cheers and jeers as the guards brutalize Jesus. Though he endures unspeakable pain, he does not open his mouth. He takes it. He knows the stakes and he knows what must be done. The bad guys haven’t a clue this man who they mock and torture is their rescuer.
The arrogant mob meant it when they said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” What’s worse, they seem to have been earnest when they drug their children into the situation.
Jesus would turn their wicked statement upside down.
Jesus spilled his blood to atone for the sins of everyone present that day, and he offers that same blood to us. Though we deserve condemnation, Jesus’ blood purifies us. We don’t know who, if anyone, in the crowd experienced the saving love of Christ. I have great hope that some did. Maybe those who screamed for Jesus to be crucified experienced his grace. I hope.
Every night when I pray for my kids, I pray they would know how much God loves them. I don’t say it verbatim, but I pray for Jesus’ blood to be on them. I pray the same for myself, and the same for you.
Let his blood be on us and on our children.