Only yesterday I was talking about the frightening effect a crowd of hostile people could have on fragile faith. In today’s passage from Matthew we see Pilate’s response to the riotous mob. He publicly denies his own responsibility, passing it on to the people themselves. Even though he thought Jesus was innocent and despite several opportunities to release him, Pilate’s judged it wiser to give the people what they seemed to want, rather than follow his feeling for what was right and just. When the government is lacking in wisdom it can seem disastrous to us. But God uses every circumstance for his purposes. Pilate’s weakness finally guaranteed Jesus’s death sentence and therefore our salvation.
Proverbs 9:1-6 NLT
Wisdom has built her house; she has carved its seven columns. She has prepared a great banquet, mixed the wines, and set the table. She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come. She calls out from the heights overlooking the city. “Come in with me,” she urges the simple. To those who lack good judgment, she says, “Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.”
Matthew 27:24, 25 NLT
Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!” And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!”
It seems to me that we are the children of those in that crowd who took the responsibility for Jesus’s crucifixion. So we must take responsibility for his sacrifice and learn to use good judgement. My goal is to leave my simple, unthinking, selfish and shortsighted ways behind and begin to live the rich and fulfilled live that Jesus has prepared and set before me. Every time I take part in a communion service from now on, as I remember Jesus’s body broken and blood shed for my sin, I will also consider these verses from Proverbs, (9:5,6) “Come, eat my food, and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live; learn to use good judgment.”
Exodus 34:1-35:9, Matthew 27:15-31, Psalms 33:12-22, Proverbs 9:1-6