Mark 15:15—Then, willing to gratify the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. And after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.
Caught in a current of hate, Pilate could see only one escape. Despite his authority and the power he was capable of wielding, the Jewish religious leaders threatened him, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend” (John 19:12). Though he found no guilt in Jesus and wanted to free Him, doing so could spark a Jewish riot. He had to maintain order or he would risk a summons from Rome. Against his conscience and the warning of his wife who “suffered terribly in a dream because of Him” (Mat. 27:19), he washed his hands and sent the holy Messiah to a brutal death. The worst sentence ever meted out is now remembered as Good Friday.
What if Jesus had chosen to act like Pilate? Knowing as the Roman prefect did that the Jewish religious establishment was jealous of His celebrity status (Mat. 27:18), He could have earlier said to Caiaphas the High Priest, “I’m sorry. I’ll stop breaking the Sabbath to heal people because it is religiously incorrect. I’ll quit hanging out with Samaritans and making them heroes in my stories at your expense. I won’t question your words and conduct that appear hypocritical—that was so judgmentalon my part. I will even leave the moneychangers alone!”
What if Jesus commended His countrymen for tolerating Roman cultural norms and for their historical pattern of adopting pagan practices? “Blessed are the homosexuals—they have expanded heaven’s concept of marriage. Disregard Moses, My Father can change His mind. He created you but reallyyou know better than He does about the need to fit in since He isn’t human. He won’t punish you for abortions or praying to your man-made idols. We never meant to let your poor choices inconvenience you or create guilt. Truthfully, I think I’ll take Satan up on his offer to let Me rule the earth, maybe if I act more like him he’ll come back to seeing things Our way.”
What if Jesus chose to stop following His Father’s will so as not to offend human will? Instead of trying to throw Him off a cliff they would have thrown Him a parade. The disciples would have cheered as He used His power to dismiss the Romans. Judas would have been included in the inner circle and a kiss would have been appropriate.
What if by avoiding the cross to bypass horrific pain, Jesus gratified Himself and the crowd? He would have seemed so enlightened, so reasonable, so accommodating. But then we would have to call His great escape Bad Friday for there would be no resurrection for Him or for us.
Like Pilate, we have to decide. Do we indulge the crowd or do we obey the Father? The choice is not easy and the consequences are huge. Thank God Jesus forsook the road to gratification. God required a perfect sacrifice to afford our salvation. So in reality, to please the crowd is really to yell “Crucify Him!” Don’t let the noise fool you.
©2013 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)