Whenever I read the account of the crucifixion of Christ, I am always amazed at the simplicity of the account of the actual crucifixion (for instance, Matthew almost regards it as an afterthought — “and when they had crucified Him…,” Mt. 27:35) and the ironic and paradoxical activities surrounding the events of the crucifixion.
Consider the following paradoxes from Matthew 27:
The plot against Jesus (vv. 1-2) was inadequate to condemn or kill Jesus. You’d think that the religious leaders would have discerned after a time that they could not destroy Christ. Instead, their failures only intensified their anger. On Friday night, after the crucifixion, they probably thought, “we did it. We defeated Jesus.” But they didn’t. They were unable to take His life from Him. The gospel writers are clear that Jesus died only when Jesus willed to give up His life (v. 50; Jn. 19:30).
The silence of Jesus (v. 14) does not reflect the guilt of Jesus. The accusers likely assumed that His silence meant He was guilty, but the silence of Jesus was a demonstration of His trust in His Father and so that He might bear the penalty of our sins to accomplish our redemption (2 Pt. 2:22-25).
A declaration of innocence before Christ (v. 24) does not make one innocent. Pilate might protest and assert his innocence, but his act of knowingly condemning an innocent man made him guilty. And even more, he failed to recognize his violation of the moral law of God. Like the fool who says in his heart “There is no God” (Ps. 10:4; 14:1; 53:1), so Pilate foolishly asserted his innocence before God when he was guilty of the whole law (Mt. 22:34-40; Js. 2:8-11).
Jesus saved others by not saving Himself (vv. 42-43). The crowd asserted His impotence, but it was His very act of not saving Himself and enduring the wrath of God that demonstrated the infinite nature of His power.
A rock, a guard, and a seal vv. 62-65) cannot contain the Lord of glory. The folly of men is on full demonstration in the vain attempts to contain Christ and prevent His resurrection. One rock could hold back the Lord who created that rock — and the world and universe in which the rock exists?
The paradoxes surrounding the cross exist because of the supremacy and greatness of Christ. They reveal the tragically corrupt nature of fallen man, and they uphold the only One who is worthy of our affection and worship, Jesus Christ.