Chapter 3: "This Man Has Done Nothing Wrong"
The purpose of putting Jesus on a cross was to say - Here he is, this Messiah: this is what happens to failed Messiahs! And the purpose of crucifying him between two thieves was to say - That's the sort of man he is!
"He was numbered with transgressors," said Jesus of Himself the night He was betrayed, quoting Isaiah's prophecy. Numbered with transgressors - yes, and that's what's been going all along! Jesus is often found in the middle of people of wrong sort. Jesus is numbered, voluntarily with the transgressors: but instead of that making him a sinner too, it means that sinners are rescued.
He somehow takes from them the stain of their sin, the pollution they are carrying, and His purity and innocence go out in strength to heal, to forgive, to rescue. He absorbs our impurity in Himself so that it becomes lost without trace, and His own purity flows into us instead.
Jesus identified Himself with us... Let us hold that identification before our minds in grateful and humble prayer.
Almighty God, we thank you that on the cross Jesus became one with us in our sin, so that we might, despite that sin, share the life of your Kingdom. Enable us, to live not as unforgiven sinners, despairing in our own weakness, but as your forgiven sons and daughters, rejoicing in your power to save and cleanse and give life.