Our walk with Jesus to the cross continues. In today’s reading we meet a perplexed Pilate, the Roman governor. He’s not sure why these religious leaders have brought Jesus to him. He questions Jesus’ identity as King of the Jews. The Jewish people had no current king, and the Romans were in control. He probably wanted to make sure Jesus wasn’t planning a takeover.
Pilate must have also been astonished at Jesus’ silence in the face of all the accusations. Most people I know would be trying to defend themselves or at the very least making excuses. Right? If you were accused of something you didn’t do – what would it take for you to stay silent and accept the consequence?
Love and devotion. Jesus was so focused on the godly love he had for mankind that he stood bravely by while his earthly life hung in the balance. Super significant. This was his mission. He knew it and would not deviate from it.
Meanwhile, Pilate was seeing right through to the hearts of the religious leaders. They were jealous. They were frightened by the numbers of people listening to and following Jesus. They were feeling undermined and less important. Their eyes were blinded by this fear.
Has this happened to you? You are so focused on a problem that you miss the beautiful reality blooming around you? I think we have all had times in our life when we have put too much of our time and energy into something that was not in our best interest. It’s sad to think what we may have missed out on because we let our problems overtake us. Instead, we should be striving for God’s will–that’s the best place to be.
Troubles will come, but they will also go. Sometimes it’s hard when we are in the midst of a trial or struggle to think beyond the moment. We may feel like we are stuck in the mud, unsure of how we will ever manage to get back on track. Thankfully, we have been redeemed, and Jesus is there to pull us out of the muck. We just need to take his hand. Why do we resist that sometimes?
Whatever you may be struggling with right now, remember it’s not too big for Jesus. He is standing by ready to rescue us. Taking Jesus’ stoic example, we stay calm, and we stay focused on the fact that God is in control.
Finally, we see the people pleaser side of Pilate. He knows full well that Jesus is innocent, but to pacify the crowd, he orders cruel physical abuse and death. This crowd had to have believers and followers in it, don’t you think? The riled ones, thanks to the religious leaders, had bigger voices. I’ve even seen it depicted that the followers and supporters of Jesus were pushed farther back and their voices unable to be heard. Imagine how frustrated they were. They couldn’t save their friend and teacher. They didn’t realize that wasn’t ever the plan.
This unfolding story involves many active participants. Are you able to see yourself in each of them: jealous leader, people pleaser, rebel for a cause, silent worshiper?
Beyond that, Jesus’ fate has been sealed, and the torture and death to follow is cruel beyond imagination. Stay tuned as the story continues.
Let’s pray. Lord I come with a heavy heart as I think through the horrible things you experienced in your final hours. That you would do that for me? You were sinless and not deserving of this. Yet for sinners like me you gave your life. I can’t even find the word to describe my love and admiration for you. Forgive me for being worried when I know you have things in control. Forgive me for wanting to please everybody, when the only one I should be concerned with is pleasing you. Thank you for what you are doing in my life to mold me in to the best me possible. In Jesus name. Amen.