Click here to return to


Lent is a time for Christians to fully examine their relationship with the Lord. Through prayer, sacrifice and service, we develop an understanding of what it means to "take up your cross and follow me." (Mark 8:34) As Christians, we are called to live Christ's life- not to study the life of Jesus and try to be like Him, but actually let Him live through us.

In my own journey this Lent, Our Lord is asking me to fully understand His love. Through several prayer experiences, I hear him calling me to this deeper understanding of His love- not just with my head, but with my heart. And the key to understanding that amazing love is to understand His suffering. My intellect understands that the Lord suffered, but I have never explored His suffering with my heart. His love is greater than His suffering, but how great was that suffering?

I am participating in an independent Threshold Bible Study called People of the Passion by Stephen J. Binz. In this study, I will explore the meaning of discipleship through the people who encounter Jesus during His passion. These people witness and are impacted by the suffering of Jesus. They saw the suffering of our Lord first hand. It is my hope that by going on this journey through their eyes, I will have a better understanding of His suffering and then of His love.

Please know that I am not a scholar. I have no formal education in theology, philosophy or church history. I'm just a regular person trying to make sense of what Jesus is asking me to do- to love like He loves.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Day 16- Pilate Questions Jesus and the Crowd

Mark 15:1-15

As soon as morning came, the chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. 1 They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate questioned him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" 2 He said to him in reply, "You say so." The chief priests accused him of many things. Again Pilate questioned him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of." Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. 3 Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them one prisoner whom they requested. A man called Barabbas 4 was then in prison along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion. The crowd came forward and began to ask him to do for them as he was accustomed. Pilate answered, "Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?" For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate again said to them in reply, "Then what (do you want) me to do with (the man you call) the king of the Jews?" 5 They shouted again, "Crucify him." Pilate said to them, "Why? What evil has he done?" They only shouted the louder, "Crucify him." 6 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged, handed him over to be crucified.

When I was a kid, I really really disliked Pontius Pilate.  I blamed him for the death of Jesus.  And when we listen to our creed, it is easy to come to that conclusion: "And he suffered under Pontius Pilate, died and was buried."  Even though I wasn't Catholic as a kid, I did conclude that Pilate was the executor.  He decided to kill Jesus.  But as an adult, I have studied these passages, read commentaries, and taken classes and now I realize that Pilate isn't the only one with blood on his hands.  In fact, Pilate is more of a puppet than a leader.  He was a little manipulated.  The chief priests are the ones who brought the "convicted" Jesus to Pilate.  Pilate knew their motives were less than pure.  He tried to persuade them by pointing out Jesus' innocence.  But to no avail.  When the Jewish leaders would not be swayed, he turned to the crowd and asked them if they wanted an innocent man to be crucified.  They said yes.  They said yes so emphatically that Pilate was afraid that he would have a riot on his hands if he didn't bend to their wishes.  So, he did.  He would rather satisfy them by killing an innocent man than deal with a riot.  That makes him less of a leader and more of a fair weather Politian in my opinion.

So the blood of Jesus is on the hands of Pilate, the chief priests and the crowd.  It wasn't just one person who wanted him to die, but an entire culture- an entire city.  And the people in the city were His own people.  The same people that His father chose to raise up in order to bring Jesus into the world.  These are the same people that Mary was raised to love and respect.  These people- His family was chanting for His death. Sometimes I wonder if that moment was more horrible for Jesus than all the time he spent being scourged.  Or all the time He spent on the cross.  It's one thing for power hungry leaders to reject Him, but it’s entirely different for the average everyday people who walked with Him, ate with Him and witnessed His miracles to be chanting for His death.  That must have been almost as painful as the moment when His disciples deserted Him in the garden.

I am also intrigued by the role Barabbas plays to the crowd.  Barabbas is a murderer- he takes life.  Jesus is the fountain of life.  It is very interesting that they would choose the person who takes life over the person who gives life. I wonder how many times this same scenario plays out in our own lives.

It is important to realize that Pilate took the easy way out.  Instead of standing up for what he thought was right, he chose to bend to the wishes of the crowd.  That scenario plays out over and over in our lives.  It is easier to go with the crowd or the norms of society than say that you would rather not.  It is easier to say that abortion is a personal decision than to say that it is wrong.  It is easier to justify the death penalty than defend the life the worst criminals.  It is easier to turn a blind eye to a family member's addiction than to help that person seek help.   It is easier to leave religion alone than to invite someone to church.  Yes, I think I have taken the easy way out more than I have stood up for the truth. 

Mary, Mother of God, pray the Lord will have mercy on my soul!

No comments:

Post a Comment