It was now about the sixth hour and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour while the sun’s light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last. Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent!" Luke 23:44-47
No one likes to see an innocent man condemned to death. It is not fair. It is not just.
Of all those sentenced to death row in the US since 1973, 139 have been determined to be innocent, and subsequently released. The average number of years between being sentenced to death and exoneration is 9.8. Nearly 10 years of legal battles fought in order to prove the innocence of those wrongly accused. No one likes to see an innocent person suffer.
For the centurion that took part in the execution of Jesus, it took but a few hours for him to realize the innocence of this one that He had just helped put to death. Upon realizing His innocence, he “praised God.”
Jesus was innocent. He could have easily exonerated Himself. He chose not to. John the Baptist referred to Him as the “lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). He was indeed an innocent lamb led quietly to slaughter for you and I.
Most on that day never realized His innocence. Some did. Today is much the same. Most deny that He is the innocent lamb of God who endured unimaginable suffering, so that we might experience life. For those of us that do realize His innocence, we are left with the same response as the centurion … praise of God.
Yes, He was innocent and yet …
He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. Isaiah 53:5
To the Innocent Man I say, Thank you.
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