May His Blood Be on Us!
So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” Matthew 27:24-25
In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the titular character feels great guilt over his murder of King Duncan and reflects, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?” Likewise, Lady Macbeth is haunted by the blood on her hands and rubs her hand in attempt to rid her of the one spot. Guilt is often remembered as having blood on one’s hands. So Pontius Pilate stands before the crowd and washes his hands as he claims to be innocent of Jesus’ blood. Then, the crowd respond with the most ironic words, “His blood be on us and our children.”
Being covered with blood is a sign of guilt to the detective and a haunting dream to the perpetrator. With their words, the crowd express a willingness to be guilty of Jesus’ blood. That is a bold claim when they knew that He had done nothing wrong. What makes this ironic though is that it is the blood of Jesus that saves us rather than condemns us.
In Revelation 5, John’s vision includes the throne room of God and at the center, a Lamb, who was slain. Later, when John sees the great multitude clothed in white robes, the elder tells John that these are the ones who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The blood of Christ is not the source of our guilt, but the source of our redemption. Jesus shed His blood on the Christ, to be Paschal Lamb, sacrificed for the sins of the people.
The irony of the crowds’ words are captured well in the movie The Passion of the Christ when the Centurion pierces Jesus’ side and the water and the blood spray forth. In faith, we are able to humbly pray to our heavenly Father, “May His blood be on us and our children” as a sign of our salvation, that we have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Prayer – O Jesus Christ, You are the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world. Wash us away our guilt and make us clean in the blood that You shed for us on the cross; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan