The Invitation - Day 38

Luke 23:22

22 For the third time, he demanded, “Why? What crime has he committed? I have found no reason to sentence him to death. So I will have him flogged, and then I will release him.”
23 But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified, and their voices prevailed. 24 So Pilate sentenced Jesus to die as they demanded. 25 As they had requested, he released Barabbas, the man in prison for insurrection and murder. But he turned Jesus over to them to do as they wished.

In Matthew 27:24, there is this picture of Pilate washing his hands of this whole ordeal. The Lucan account does not picture this. But you can see what is happening. Pilate is not convinced of Jesus’ guilt; instead, he is confident that Jesus is innocent of all the accusations. In the Matthean account, Pilate washes his hands of the situation so as not to be sullied by this farce of a preceding.

On our leadership team here at Redlands, one of our members is a Superior Court Judge, and man, I hope he never does this in one of his cases. (For the record, he is one of the most conscientious and thoughtful people I have ever met; I know this would never happen in his courtroom!) But watching this happen with our Savior is tragic, and the blame should sit both on Pilate and his cowardly nature, as well as the bloodthirsty nature of those who would see Jesus put to death.

There was a mob mentality that was happening. I don’t know if you have ever been involved in a mob that was becoming unruly and was beginning to have a mind of its own. I was stuck in a mob one time, and when the shared nature of the group started to change and move toward violence, it was a shocking and pretty unnerving situation. I could extricate myself before something happened, but the crowd quickly went from pleasant to antagonistic. You could feel the undercurrent of something about to happen.

This is what Pilate began to feel, and they realized it was easier to give them what they wanted than to stand on the precedence of truth. We do this sometimes when giving in becomes easier than standing for what is right. I hope we will never “go with the crowd” when it means sacrificing what is pure, accurate, and correct, but you never know until you get into that situation.

Through all of this, we see that Jesus remains quiet. He doesn’t stand up for himself; he doesn’t call down the angels to save him. He doesn’t plead his case. I have often wondered why this was the case. I am sure that he knew these things had to happen for his cause to move forward, but can you imagine the temptation Jesus must have felt to bring down heaven’s righteousness on these people?

Remember, Jesus dealt with this temptation at the beginning of his ministry. Luke 4 reminds us that Jesus had dealt with this previously, and he wasn’t going back.

Temptation is like that. When we thwart temptation in our lives before the crisis, we handle the situation much better than we would have had not been tested. Remember that every little decision we make to stay within the will of God makes the more significant decisions that much easier!

  1. When have you been tempted and were able to stay strong? 
  2. Did you have that temptation prior and have built up a resistance? 
  3. Why do you think Jesus was able to stay his hand when it came to protecting himself? 

By Pastor Timothy Gillespie

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