He [Pilate] released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will. (Luke 23:25)
In this fallen world we sinful humans often fall into very deep holes. These are the holes of pain, despair, anguish, loneliness, rejection, situations we don’t deserve, death and the like. When Jesus went to the cross He indeed paid the price for our sins, but He also entered and experienced the holes of the lowly. Because of this, He is there with us when we find ourselves in the bottom of such unholy holes.
Jesus entered a pit of agony as He realized the time of His torturous death was near. He thus sweat drops of blood as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. In our world of agony there have been many martyrs who knew they were soon to be tortured to death, and there have been millions who have realized they have an incurable, painful ailment or a death-decreeing injury. For such people Jesus entered this hole of realizing His impending horrible death, that in Him these people might not despair.
Jesus willingly was lowered into the hole of loneliness and desertion. As His Apostles—those near and dear to Him—denied Him, forsaking Him in His hour of need, and as His own kinsman—fellow Jews—cried out for His crucifixion, so Jesus became the lowest of the lowly. He was so alone that even His heavenly Father turned away. The Savior entered this hole for all those lonely, rejected folks, so they would realize they will not face the rejection and loneliness that He faced. They are not alone. Likewise there are those who are made fun of, perhaps mocked because of the way they look or behave, laughed at because they simply don’t fit in; this is a deep hole of emotional torture. Jesus entered that hole, going to the very bottom of it as He was mocked, spit upon, laughed at, and made to appear as a gory, almost non-human individual. He entered that hole on behalf of the “rejects” dwelling in such holes.
The Lord of creation was mercilessly scourged, beaten about the face and head, and crowned with that piercing symbol of our fallenness—the crown of thorns. Not only did this add to His posture of rejection, it caused Him to enter the pit of pain and mental anguish. Now for all those who have fallen into this hole of pain, mental anguish and pure misery, they are invited to trust that Jesus is alongside them.
The Son of God stands before His accusers and before those who decide His fate, and He is falsely accused. He is pronounced guilty when in fact He is innocent; and the guilty man, Barabbas—a murderer—is freed. Jesus thus entered the deep canyon of injustice. He does this for all who have been imprisoned or punished for crimes they did not commit, so they could realize the Savior went through this for them. Even more so, Jesus trades places with every human being. Each of us is a Barabbas—deserving punishment from our holy God—but Jesus takes our place. He becomes sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. He becomes the murderer so the murderer is set free. He enters the canyon of injustice so we could be justified, forgiven, redeemed and declared righteous. When we find ourselves in this deepest of canyons, when our sins alarm us and the devil accuses us, we see Jesus pulling us out of this canyon by His sin-atoning death and by His justifying resurrection.
And for those who are experiencing several such holes at one time, and who, after being convinced things cannot get worse, find that things suddenly do get worse, Jesus enters this deepest of holes; He enters death by crucifixion. As if torture, rejection and death are not enough, Jesus goes through what the Romans and others considered the most horrible, painful form of death, and there He relates to the most miserable, agonizing people of the world. Our English word excruciating literally means that which comes from a cross. An excruciating pain is intolerable, and in this dark world of Satan, people find themselves in excruciating circumstances. Jesus says to those who are in this deepest of holes, “I am with you, and I have come out of this deepest of holes in resurrection.” Indeed, Christ’s resurrection becomes the ultimate hope for any and all in this fallen world. Now read the prophecy of Isaiah 53, wherein the lowest of the lowly—Jesus—is predicted, and find ultimate comfort in Him.