This morning was one of those rare mornings that I made sure when I got to the office to close my door and shut my blinds and pour over my Bible and my journal this morning. And I read something that really jumped out at me. I was reading Luke chapter 23 which is the account of the arrest and trial of Jesus by Pilate and Herod.
Now it is a strange time of year to be reading parts of the crucifixion narrative, seeing as we recently celebrated the birth of Jesus. But there was something that jumped out at me in Luke’s account of Jesus trial. Pilate examines Jesus, then sends him to Herod who was the ruler over the Jews, and Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate again. Pilate was trying to get rid of the case of Jesus, but he kept coming back to him.
There are three separate times that Pilate attempts to get rid of Jesus by just having him publicly flogged and humiliated. But the crowd keeps shouting for him to “Crucify Him!” Pilate is between a rock and a hard place. Every year at the Passover he released one prisoner to, in effect, keep the Jews happy and from revolting. Pilate wants to release Jesus, while the crowd wants Barabbas who was guilty of leading an insurrection and murder.
Pilate sees no reason to hold or hurt Jesus, but he eventually yields to the power of the crowd and releases Barabbas. Now my initial reaction was of shame for Pilate who was cowed by the masses, but I also knew this had to happen for the Passion to be complete. But how often are our actions like those of Pilate? He let the tide of public opinion, the power of the loudest voices make his decisions for him.
I wanted Pilate to stand up and be courageous, full well understanding why he did not, and being guilty of the same sins myself. Sir Edmund Burke once said, “All that needs to happen for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.” How often am I, and you, and everyone else of doing nothing. Our faith is to be active, but how often does our laziness or unwillingness to act end in us not being the examples in faith that we should be?