Apr 12 - Before Pilate

Matthew 27:11-26

Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You have said so.” But when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they testify against you?” But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.

Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”

So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.” And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.

Reflection:

The act of Pilate washing his hands of injustice is palpable. Jesus Christ stands before him and he alone has the power to set him free. Ultimately Pilate falls right into his place within this narrative when he recognizes the injustice in what is happening, feels the full weight of that, and ultimately chooses to reject that justice and wash his hands of the matter.

There are visible injustices in our world today - clear issues of injustice that we see and recognize. In what ways have we, like Pilate, washed our hands?

As you spend some time in prayer, confess to God those areas where apathy has taken root. Receive God’s grace and invitation to participate in bringing God’s just kingdom to earth.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, you were condemned to death for political expediency: be with those who are imprisoned for the convenience of the powerful. You were the victim of unbridled injustice: change the minds and motivations of oppressors and exploiters to your way of peace. To you, Jesus, innocent though condemned, be honor and glory with the Father and the Holy Spirit, now and forever.


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