Blessed…To Do Nothing is Still Doing Something

24 Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere and that a riot was starting. So he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I’m innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It’s your problem.”

25 All the people replied, “Let his blood be on us and on our children.”26 Then he released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus whipped, then handed him over to be crucified (Matthew 27:24-26, Common English Bible).

Pilate had it wrong. He couldn’t have been more wrong. He didn’t want to execute Jesus. His wife told him not to do it. But, on the other hand, he had the leaders of the Jewish Council insisting that Jesus needed to die and threatening him with a bad report to the Emperor. To make matters even worse these leaders, the priests were stirring up the crowd to the point they were almost at the point of having a riot. It wasn’t a good situation.

In yesterday’s lesson, Pilate makes a move in this little chess game. For all practical purposes, it was Pilate’s last real move of the day. Tradition had him release one prisoner. He gambled. It was a calculated risk, but a risk none the less. It was also a gamble he lost. Normally he gave the Jews their choice of any prisoner. As a part of his gamble, Pilate took a notorious prisoner, an insurrectionist, a murder, a thief  and a con man. Pilate paired this man Barabbas with Jesus. Pilate reasoned there was no way the Jews would let Barabbas, a man they feared, go just so they could execute Jesus who, may have annoyed the leaders, he had really done nothing wrong. Pilate played his hand and the leaders called his bluff.

That’s where we begin today. Pilate has had enough of all this. Jesus meant nothing to him, so quite literally, Pilate washed his hands of the Jesus matter. He chose to do nothing. He released Barabbas and turned Jesus over to be crucified.

“I have nothing to do with this man,” Pilate said (my paraphrase), “Let his blood be on your hands. It isn’t on mine.” With that, Pilate had finished his mental exercise of saving Jesus.

When the end of this debate came, Pilate didn’t see himself as part of the problem. He didn’t see himself as having any further responsibility. He was just looking for the fastest way possible to restore order.

For Pilate, really for the Romans of the period, life was cheap. Jesus really meant nothing to him.  If Jesus was keeping the Jews stirred up, it wasn’t in Pilate’s best interest to ignore the situation. He couldn’t just let things remain in turmoil. The fastest, most expedient means was to send Jesus to the cross.

Of course, Pilate wouldn’t see it this way. He believed that by washing his hands of the situation and putting it back on the Jews would absolve him of any guilt. That is a line of thought that is shortsighted.

In truth, just as we are responsible for the death of Jesus due to our own sin, the same was true of Pilate. By not saving a man he believed to innocent, he rejects Christ and allows an innocent man to die. Pilate’s decision is arguably the worst decision in history. When Pilate decided not to decided not to decide, he actually decided.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

Joy and Thanksgiving,
Keith

Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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