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Thursday, Apr 7 - Restraint

Mark 15:1-5 – As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You say so.” Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, “Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.

It’s easy for us to quickly read past those last few words, “…so that Pilate was amazed.” But they speak powerfully to the remarkable nature of Jesus. Pilate was a seasoned administrator of the Roman empire. According to historians, he was a hardened man responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Jews. He had, no doubt, seen it all.

But this prisoner was different. Pilate had real concerns about Jesus’ guilt. He questioned Jesus trying to understand the truth. However, Jesus gave the short answer, “You say so” and then remained silent. His life was on the line. Didn’t Jesus understand that Pilate’s words could be the difference between life and death? But Jesus remained silent.

And it was that silence that amazed Pilate. Why wasn’t Jesus defending Himself? Why wasn’t Jesus arguing against the unjust charges levied against Him? How could Jesus remain so calm?

With the clarity of the remaining Gospels, we recognize that Jesus was calm because He knew the outcome. He came to this earth for precisely this time. He came to earth to die on the cross to pay the penalty for the sins of humanity. And He came to earth to rise again giving hope of eternal life. Pilate thought he was in control, but it was Jesus who was willingly giving up His life for others.

Why is that important to us? Because it underscores the love and care Jesus has for you and me and every other person who has lived on planet earth. Jesus was restrained. He didn’t lash out like most of us because He knew the price He had to pay, and He knew the love that He had for each one of us.

So, as we approach Holy Week and remember what Jesus did, may we recognize with amazement, like Pilate, why Jesus did what He did. Jesus died because He loves you and me.

Dear Jesus, thank you for loving me enough to come to this world and to face incredible difficulty and persecution. You could have walked away. But because of your love for me and all of humanity, you willingly went to the cross. Thank you for making a way of forgiveness possible. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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