Heart of Pilate.

"And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified." - Mark 15:15
Oh, the conviction that poured off the weathered page of my Bible when I read those words.  My eyes inspected them, tripping and stumbling over the phrase in bold.  I repeated the words in my head and then out loud, astonished at the concept.  I have always marvelled at the thought that Christ's life was taken for a much bigger reason than anyone in that crowd could have realized when they foolishly called for His blood.  But reading it in black and white, especially with the celebration of His death and resurrection just around the corner, made it even more real.  My Lord's life was thrown away, as if it were nothing more than an inconvenience, to simply pacify the people. 
Pilate's desire to please people led to the crucifixion of a man with no offense against Him.  As can be seen in Mark 15:10, Pilate knew Jesus was only on trial because of envy and not because He actually committed a crime.  Surely crucifying Him would be out of the question.  Why would an innocent man deserve such an intense punishment?
To me, this is such a heartbreaking illustration of peer pressure.  Merely to please the crowd, Pilate ordered Jesus to be dealt with as the people decided.  In Luke 23:25, Luke states that Pilate "delivered Jesus to their will".  Even more insulting, he made a point of washing his hands of the matter.  As if, by doing so, he could not be held accountable for his cowardly actions.
How many of us are Pilates?  How many of us abandon Jesus in an effort to please man?  How many times have we watched on the sidelines as Godly principles and morals are crucified daily, afraid of standing up for what is right?  We are afraid of not pleasing the crowd.
I am guilty of this.  A beautiful friend and I have been discussing the difficulty of presenting Jesus to a world of unbelievers.  With the love of Christ as your motivator, how do you respond to the questions and arguments of the world?  Especially when you're asking some of the same questions?  Too often, we simply refrain from responding.  Of course, as Jesus demonstrated in His final days, sometimes silence is the best response.  But when we are not standing for the Lord in our words or our actions, our silence is too great.
We are guilty of having the heart of Pilate.  Every time we intentionally choose to please people rather than stand for what Christ has said is right, we are handing the standards of Christ over to a crowd of crazed puppets of society.  And no matter what kind of handsoap we use, we can't wash our hands of that and pretend like we have nothing to do with the matter.  Believers, we are responsible for choosing Christ over the crowd.
If, like many of us, you have been a Pilate, you can still choose Christ.  God is loving, forgiving, and understanding.  His mercy is astonishing and His grace overflows in abundance.  As much as Pilate knew that there was no offense against Jesus, Jesus knew that truth even more deeply.  Yet He still allowed His death to occur so that each of us could be offered the gift of salvation.  The gift of redemption.  The gift of forgiveness.  Gifts that were extended to even Pilate, a man who offered the Son of God to a greedy crowd full of spiritually ignorant, spiritually arrogant individuals.
We are weak but, praise God, He is understanding.  Let us ask for forgiveness, accept forgiveness, and move along.  May we make a point of choosing Christ over the crowd with our words and with our lives.  God bless.  

1 comment:

  1. beautiful, empowering, and most importantly: true. thank you friend.