Daily Devotional for September 7

September 7                                                     Mark 15:12-21


            "Then what shall I do with the one whom
                        you call King of the Jews?"


Pilate was not the kindest man in the Roman empire. By
modern standards, he would be considered a despot. Still,
Pilate did not want to condemn an innocent person to death.
He was aware that the chief priest and elders resented Jesus,
and that many of the charges against Jesus were probably false.
Pilate asked Jesus to answer the charges, perhaps hoping that
Jesus would say something that would allow him to set Jesus
free. But Jesus kept silent.


When it became clear to Pilate that he could not escape con-
demning Jesus, he wanted at least to escape responsibility for
Jesus' death. The Gospel according to Matthew even depicts
Pilate washing his hands before the people, saying, "I am
innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves." (Matthew
27:24) He left the final decision up to the crowd, and it was
the crowd who said, "Crucify him." Perhaps this salved Pilate's
conscience as he watched Jesus being led away to be crucified.
Like Hitler's officers at Nuremberg, he could say to himself,
"I was only following orders."


Pilate did not want to acknowledge the consequences of his
decision; however, he did have a hand in Jesus' death. By not
making a choice, he in fact made a decision that had crucial
implications.


Our lives are the result, at least in part, of various decisions
we've made. Each time we decide to wash our hands of Christ
and the consequences of Christ's presence, we take a step away
from wholeness. Each time we decide to take a step toward
Christ, our lives become richer and fuller.


Pilate's words in today's Scripture call us to respond to his
question: "What shall I do with the one whom you call King
of the Jews?" What are we doing with Jesus? Are we striving
toward union with God, or are we growing further away? Are
we holding ourselves accountable for what we do, or are we,
like Pilate, refusing to take responsibility for our actions?
Today, make a decision to draw closer to this Jesus whom they
called King of the Jews.

From The Road to Emmaus - An inclusive devotional Edited by Joseph W. Houle

Emmaus House of Prayer - Washington D.C.1989

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