It’s Good Friday and as I lie in bed tonight I cannot help but dwell on Christ’s final moments before his crucifixion, when he was placed on trial before Herod and Pilate. These few verses found in Luke capture the gist of Pilate’s role in the story:
“Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. But they kept shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.” But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.” Luke 23:22-25 NIV
By law, Pilate knew that there was not enough reason to crucify Jesus. Thrice he asked the crowd and appealed to release him, but the crowd’s harsh condemnation of the LORD overpowered what he knew in his heart and mind was right. He chose to please the crowd so as not to rattle the power that he wielded over the people–thereby releasing a murderer and convicting innocent blood, sending God’s beloved Son to His horrific death.
Tonight my thoughts on this heartbreaking moment led to this: 2000 years after this pivotal scene, we still face the same circumstance Pilate underwent–in our current realities, do we stand for the truth, or do we succumb to the call of the world, in our need to please others and ourselves? Do we compromise our faith in the LORD for whatever we feel might satisfy us more — human relationships, worldly pleasure, or in Pilate’s case, power?
Pilate knew the Law. Most of us know Jesus and this truth–that He is the only way, the truth, and the life. Pilate listened to the crowd to crucify Jesus despite it being against the Law. He was more concerned about losing his status than about releasing an innocent man. Are we listening to the enticing call of the world instead of believing that Jesus is enough? Are we choosing to let the voices in our head that tell us we can be satisfied by something or someone else, drown out the call of God in our lives?
Every day we can make a decision to seek the truth or to let it be erased by compromising for selfish gain. Everyday you and I can choose to be Pilate, forsaking Jesus and forsaking what we know in our heart of hearts to be true, or we can choose to be better than him. But whatever we choose, this fact still remains: the tomb is empty. The innocent man Pilate condemned and sent to die on the cross, rose again.
Tonight I am praying for us to seek the truth, and choose to live for the One who died for all, so that we can enjoy a life fully satisfied in Him. May we remember that the world we aim to please can, at any given moment, be the same world that takes away whatever it is we hold dear. Unless all we hold dear is Jesus, who has already overcome the world–in which case we have all that we will ever need.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 NIV