October 21

Text: Matthew 27:21-23

But the governor answered and 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 kept shouting all the more, saying, "Let Him be crucified!"  (NASB)

Pilate’s predicament was presented in an obvious and straightforward manner.  Since his maneuver with releasing Barabbas or Jesus did not work, Pilate was out of options to evade direct, personal responsibility.  In fact, the situation was growing worse.  The multitude was convinced Jesus should be disgraced by crucifixion—mere imprisonment was not an option.  It was obvious to Pilate, who had no direct involvement in the situation, that Jesus was innocent.  Jesus had done nothing deserving of death, and certainly not death by crucifixion!  Then the multitude began shouting for Jesus’ crucifixion!

“My mind is made up!  Do not ask me to think!  For me, facts and truth only confuse the situation!”  Too often, when people declare their minds are made up, they mean their feelings are in charge of what they think, not reasoning that searches for truth.  In those cases, it is emotions and not facts that forge decisions and outlooks.

It is amazing how unjust typically just people act when emotions are allowed to form conclusions.  Normally reasoning people form mobs, adopt ridiculous positions, or come to unevaluated conclusions when they substitute feelings for an honest look at the facts. 

No one is immune!  In us all, dark memories of rash thinking were the substance of thoughtless acts.  We are ashamed of ourselves!  We ask, “How could I ever do that?”  We build walls around shameful incidents.  We refuse to visit the moments of such disgraceful behavior!  We try to pretend we are incapable of such moments—yet deep within we know we are.  Our need for forgiveness is undeniable.

Do we allow such events of unpardonable moral failure to make us compassionate or judgmental?

Suggestion for reflection: People who receive grace must be people who give grace.  (Read Romans 2:17-29.)

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 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell