The Easter offence
Acts 26: 31 “After they left the room, they began saying to one another, “This man is not doing anything that deserves death or imprisonment.”
Luke 23 “Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man … Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death … For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty.”
(And even on the cross itself) “We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Paul was experiencing what Christ went through for us. Paul was imprisoned and facing a death penalty when he didn’t deserve either of those. He had been imprisoned for 2 years and is now hearing what he knew, he had done no wrong.
I heard yesterday how a Bangladeshi man on coming to Christ was then refused seeing his family for a total of 15 years. The charge was he had become a Christian. He actually had done no wrong by law.
So why was Paul in the place he was in? Why did the Bangladeshi man go through the agony of separation? Why is the world littered with examples of this? It is because we follow Christ who was taken to the cross though he did no wrong.
The road to the cross, the path of Christ, this narrow path, is one of offence. It is the road of rejection, of being overlooked, of people’s wrongful opinion of you. It is being known as ‘marmite’, some people like you some people don’t and the ones who don’t seem to be the loudest and will contain you if they can. This road means people will judge you on some facts but not all the facts. Some people will be blinded to the truth even though it is set before them. You may feel set aside today, walked over, used and abused, there may even be betrayal and denial along your life’s journey. “What did I do wrong?” this is often what goes through your mind. “Could I have done better?” The answer is NO. You are on the road marked with offence not marked with justice.