Today’s Reading: John 18:28-19:16
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement. 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered. 16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. - John 19:13-16
He did everything he could to try to save Jesus. Pilate that is. He questioned Jesus at length about being the King of the Jews and at the end of the day found no reason to crucify him. Pilate kept asking the Jews if they were sure they wanted him crucified. Oh, they were sure, for sure. Pilate had less skin in the game than the Jews because he was a Roman official. At most he was worried Rome would lose its place as the most powerful nation. Pilate did all he could to do the right thing, to do good, yet in the end it was Pilate who sentenced him to be crucified. In a sense, Pilate played the role of good cop, bad cop. He wanted to do good, but he wasn’t going against the emotional and angry Jewish crowd that stood before him. Behind closed doors where nobody knew what was going on Pilate was being the friend of Jesus. Or he thought. He didn’t know God’s plan. Then he would play to the crowd and finally gave him over with these words, “Here is your king.” Not my king, your king. Not a person I think is doing the right thing and bringing good to the people, no, your king. Pilate’s behavior in this slice of the story could be overlaid on many Christians today and you could hardly tell the difference. Hot and cold. One person behind closed doors and another in public. And finally handing Jesus over. Don’t let Pilate’s actions mirror your relationship with Christ. And he handed Jesus over to be crucified.
Heavenly Father, gracious God, merciful One, forgive us for being like Pilate, your best friend one moment and the enemy the next. May our relationship with you be one that contains a hot handle only. May we be more in love with you each moment and never even consider in any way turning you over to be crucified. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.