Wednesday, April 1, 2009

You can't be neutral wehn it comes to Jesus

Ok .. something a bit more sober ... been cross posting this. Something I wrote for this week's church bulletin.

Matthew 27:11-26:

11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.
12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer.
13 Then Pilate asked him, "Don't you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?"
14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge-- to the great amazement of the governor.
15 Now it was the governor's custom at the Feast to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd.
16 At that time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas.
17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?"
18 For he knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him.
19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge's seat, his wife sent him this message: "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him."
20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.
21 "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" asked the governor. "Barabbas," they answered.
22 "What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked. They all answered, "Crucify him!"
23 "Why? What crime has he committed?" asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!"
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this man's blood," he said. "It is your responsibility!"
25 All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!"
26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.

Pilate knew Jesus was innocent. He knew this for a fact. He knew that it was out of envy that the Jewish authorities had handed Jesus over to be crucified (v.18). In addition, his wife had sent him a message warning him that she knew Jesus was innocent through a disturbing dream she had had.

So why did he did not set Jesus free?

The simple reason was that Pilate was more concerned for his political position. He was afraid that the crowd might get out of control and that he would have a riot on his hands. That would simply not look good on his resume and Caesar would be greatly displeased.

So he thought he would circumvent his moral convictions by being “neutral”. He left the decision to the crowd. He presented the illusion of being gracious and “neutral” by giving the crowd a choice of either setting Jesus or Barabbas free. But his actions did not fool anyone, not even himself. Pilate knew they would not choose Jesus but he was hoping that a small miracle would happen and Jesus might be released. It did not work and so he tried to make a big show of being neutral by symbolically “washing his hands” off any responsibility in the injustice of the matter.

But Pilate knew as did everyone that day and even today that by trying to be neutral, he was in fact endorsing the unjust crucifixion of Jesus.

We each are responsible for our decisions. Especially when it comes to Jesus we just can’t be say that we are "neutral". We can’t place the responsibility on others. Not to decide for Jesus is not to be neutral but to decide against Jesus.

Jesus said in Luke 11:23 "He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters.

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