And we indeed [are suffering] justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.
The context of this verse is the crucifixion. Christ is hanging on the cross between two criminals. One criminal is hurling abuse and telling Jesus that He should save the three of them. The other criminal tells the first that he should stop talking; points out that all three of them are nailed to crosses; reminds him that they deserve what they are getting.
That, I have been reminded twice this morning, is where salvation begins — at the place where I understand that of which I am deserving.
The criminal on the cross understood it. He knew that he was deserving of the death sentence he received. He knew that his crimes deserved death. He knew that Jesus had done nothing wrong. He knew. And I know he knew because he gave voice to that knowledge.
Pilate, for all that he sentenced Jesus to death, knew that Jesus did not deserve what He received. He recognized that Jesus had nothing nothing wrong.
Do I see my transgression and sin and rebellion for what they are? Do I know, in the core of my being, that I deserve damnation? If not, then my eyes are clouded and my mind does not comprehend. My transgression and my sin and my rebellion merit damnation. I am deserving of Death — the only Death anyone should really fear — and God, gracious as He is, offers me Life. I am deserving of punishment and God offers me comfort. I am deserving of shame and ridicule and God offers to call me His own. Let me understand that of which I am deserving and in understanding be humbled.