Day 35

Matthew 27:11-26

11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” 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 festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest 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 the Messiah?” 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, “His blood is 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.

This is one of the most singularly amazing bits of theatre in all of the Bible.

Pilate, the Roman Governor, and the Jews hated each other. Yet, they dance this strange dance of hated political friendship. Pilate doesn’t want to give them anything they want, but he must keep the peace. The Jews don’t want Jesus to slip out of their hands, so they must act like they respect Pilate.

Jesus remains silent and in control as he does all the way through this tragic movement of grace. He is the only one who does not react out of fear or jealousy. Jesus’s path is determined by God’s will and his love for us.

Jesus is silent, but in control. He is Lord in his submission to the will of God and in the face of the hateful actions of his enemies! He will not be goaded into saving or protecting himself, but dies for us -- for you and me.

We should marvel at his restraint and grace. How he could let this happen is beyond our comprehension, but at the same time, we should thank him. Thank him for showing us that we can be self-controlled when we fully submit to our Father’s will. Jesus shows us there are bigger things than ridicule and death. This story doesn’t end with Pilate, an angry mob or a crucifixion. Jesus is raised from the dead and sits as our triumphant Lord until he returns to take us home! In what areas of your life do you struggle to display self-control? How can fully submitting to God’s will for your life aid in that struggle?