Call it procrastination, if you like, but I’ve had these words swimming in my mind for the last hour as I’ve worked on an assessment based around Jesus’ trial. Now that they’re out, I’ll go back to work, I promise!
The governor is helpless at the hands of the chief priests. They have the crowd on their side, and the governor’s desire for peace means that he will sway to the crowd’s desires. If they want the man dead, they will get their wishes, even if he feels that their desire is wrong. Even if he is convinced than the man they charge as guilty is innocent.
Pilate hands Jesus over to be flogged and crucified at the calling of the crowd, and Jesus goes willingly to the death he knows he must die. The chief priests have their way, and I wonder if they felt a pang of guilt at this victory; if maybe sending such a man to the cross stirs some remorse in them. They got what they wanted. The governor bowed to their desires. The man they so hate will die soon after.
In the midst of all this mess, Jesus is resolved to do what he must do – not simply out of duty, but out of love for His lost people. He truly is the good shepherd, but to be the truly good shepherd, he must be led like a lamb to the slaughter. The paradox amazes me as much as Pilate’s spinelessness, but is a much more beautiful picture; a picture of the man who takes the penalty for what he has not done, so that those who deserve the penalty could become one with the Father.
The governor’s spinelessness, the chief priest’s deviousness and the crowd’s easily influenced nature led to the death of the Son of Man. But oh, how none of them knew what would happen just three days later… How beautiful the picture becomes when the tomb is empty and we know that he did not just willingly go to his death so that we could know life, but he conquered death and is the first fruits of the resurrection.
What a beautiful picture. What a painful picture. What a great God.