The German Reformer, Martin Luther once said of the sixth commandment,
“Behold a short commandment this, but it presents a long, mighty exercise of good works and of faith.”
Jesus was murdered for you. His innocent blood was shed so that you would be rescued from murdering others with your lips, in your heart, or with your hands—that you might be a source of life for those all around you. The sixth commandment teaches us not only to refrain from murdering others, but also become advocates of life—seeking to preserve life when others are trying to destroy it.
Every year at the feast, Pontius Pilate would free one prisoner at the people’s command. Do you remember who he released? There was a man called Barabbas—who was a murderer. And then there was Jesus—who hadn’t murdered anybody. And Pilate looks out to the crowds, he notices the Chief priests burn with hatred toward Jesus. And the priests get the crowds rowdy, and they shout out loud, crucify him! Crucify him! And the murderer, Barabbas, is released. Meanwhile, Jesus is murdered on a cross.
Christ is the supreme example of murder. His murder was predicted in the passion narratives (Mark 8-9, and 10). And we know that the Jews wanted him dead long before that. We’re told by Paul that his death was hostile—those responsible hated him vehemently. There was so much hatred, so much bitterness, so much resentment toward him. And yet, even while he was the victim of others breaking the sixth commandment while crucifying him—hanging there on the cross—Jesus was still keeping the sixth commandment perfectly! For sinners. For me. For you.
Instead of murdering, instead of sending a Legion of angels to overtake the villains—Jesus became the victim, the victim who prayed for his enemies, the victim who bled for murderers. He was murdered, for us . . . And there at the cross, all of the death, all of the murder that entered the world since the Fall—is finally reckoned with. He was crucified, dead, but then on the third day he was raised for our justification! Through his death, he has brought us the forgiveness of sins! Through murder, he has brought life. His innocent blood was shed, so that you would not only be innocent but righteous! He was counted as a murderer, as one who has anger problems, a sinner, so that you and me—through faith alone in this Savior—would be counted as righteous.
I’ve always found it interesting that Christ’s murderers are not just one people group. It wasn’t just the Jews. It wasn’t just the Romans. It was all kinds of people—so that Christ might be the Savior of all kinds of men, women, children, and infants. With current events in America, it's easy to shift the blame to people of one color. White, Black, Muslim, Christian, cop, gun-owner—but the root problem is really inside of everyone. All have sinned. All have fallen short of the glory of God. The gospel saves us from ourselves.
For all who come to Jesus, all of you who believe on him—your murderous heart, your hate-filled angry heart is forgiven. And in exchange for it you are given a new heart with the ability to love and the freedom to live.