All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”” (Matthew 27:25, TNIV)

The response of the opponents of Jesus to Pilate’s claim that he was “innocent of this man’s blood.” [he wasn’t]

A hasty vow.  A foolish vow.  A vow which might come back to haunt them if it weren’t for one simple word that destroys all that they say: grace.

J. D. Watson in his excellent devotional defines the biblical concept of grace as: Grace is the unmerited favor of God toward man manifested primarily through the person and work of Jesus Christ, apart from any merit or works of man. [Greek Word of the Day; February 13] He bases his definition on John’s statement:

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17, TNIV)

The Greek and Roman world had a concept of grace, but it was nothing like how it was used in the New Testament.  Grace to them meant “favor, kindness, or gratitude” concepts like that.  As J.D. Watson points out: Originally, then, the word didn’t carry the idea of something “unmerited” because Greek philosophy (which is at the root of our western culture) believed in human merit and self-sufficiency. [GWOD – February 13]

In this sense, the New Testament brings a new definition of grace and this definition is inextricably linked with the person and work of Jesus Christ.  In other words, you must come to the pages of the Scriptures if you are to understand what grace means.

Now, what does all of this discussion have to do with the ill-conceived words of the opponents of Jesus?  Everything!  The children of these haters were no more bound by their words, then we ourselves are bound by the action, attitudes, and words of our ancestors.  They may influence us, but in Jesus Christ they do not bind us, they do not imprison us.

The Orthodox Study Bible comments here:

St. John Chrysostom teaches that even though these Jews “acted with such madness, so far from confirming a sentence on them or their children, Christ instead received those who repented and counted them worthy of good things beyond number.”

“Christ received those who repented.”  He received their children who repented; he even received the ones who had made this cry if they repented.  This is the nature of grace.