Lord, may I choose to honor You today in all I do.
Read Matthew 27:11–26
Jesus Before Pilate
11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.
19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”
20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.
21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.
“Barabbas,” they answered.
22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”
26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectCall to mind some examples of corrupt governments in the world and the consequences of bad leadership.
Go through the passage carefully and imagine you are an objective bystander. What do you see? What do you hear? What do you perceive? What impact does Jesus’ silence have on the proceedings? Does this seem like a good way to reach a fair judgment?
In the early morning meeting (1,2) the charge against Jesus has been changed. Pilate would not be impressed by a charge of blasphemy—he has no respect for Jewish laws and customs. So, a charge of treason has been cooked up (Luke 23:1,2). Pilate sees through the chief priests’ ploy. He recognizes that Jesus is an innocent man. Even his wife warns him against condemning him.
Pilate sees a possible way out by giving the crowd a choice of who should be released on this feast day. If he had been a stronger, more principled leader, would he have stood by what he knew of Jesus’ innocence? Fear of the crowd and political expediency won the day. Washing his hands was not going to relieve him of responsibility (24). Being responsible for our actions is one of the features that marks us out as human. It is part of our dignity.
And so Barabbas, the guilty one, goes free, and Jesus, the innocent one, is condemned to death. This is the Gospel!
Imagine yourself in Barabbas’s place. How would you feel after Jesus took your place? Can you share this Good News with someone else?
Pray for those in authority.
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