15 September 2008

Pilate’s Bowl – 9.15.08

Matthew 27:24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

Ever since Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath day and confirmed His claim as the Son of God (John 5:16-18), the Jews – or at least their religious leaders – have been seeking an opportunity to put Jesus Christ to death. Now the hour has finally come (John 7:30; 8:20). Judas has betrayed the Son of God with a kiss. Jesus has been led away from the Garden of Gethsemane and has been examined by Annas, as well as Caiaphas. They, of course, have pronounced him guilty of death. But because they are under Roman oppression (John 8:33), they cannot execute the sentence without approval from the Roman governor Pilate.

As the narrative of Christ's crucifixion unfolds, Pilate becomes a very interesting character to consider. The exchange recorded between Pilate and Jesus Christ on the eve of his crucifixion is simply intriguing. It is clear that Pilate is certain Jesus was a just man who had done absolutely nothing worthy of death…and that was before his wife told him about her dream (Matthew 27:19). Three times Pilate brings Jesus out before the Jewish multitude and declares that he can find no fault in Him. Later he refuses to revise the title he had placed on Jesus' cross – JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS (John 19:19). When the chief priests and Pharisees request that a watch be placed at Jesus' tomb, Pilate's "make it as sure as ye can" almost makes it seem as if he believed Jesus might just rise on the third day.

And yet despite all that Pilate seemed to believe about Jesus Christ, he gave in to the relentless pressure of the envious Pharisees (see the political angle they spun on the scenario, John 19:12) and delivered Jesus into their hands to be crucified. But before He does so, he washes his hands in a vain attempt to declare himself innocent of THE innocent blood (Matthew 27:4) of "this just person," the Lord Jesus Christ.

Sorry, Pilate. Doesn't work that way. No matter why he did what he did, he did it, and he will give account to God for it on the day of judgment. Washing his hands in a bowl of water didn't do anything to change the fact that he did what he knew was wrong.

Now, take a moment to think about that bowl that Pilate used to wash his hands and compare it to the excuses you make to do, and say, and involve yourself in what you know is wrong:

  • "So and so does it, and he goes to church."

  • "My parents don't mind."

  • "Everything in moderation."

  • "I'm a good Christian. I read my Bible."

  • "I'm a good Christian. I witness to my lost friends."

  • "I'm a good Christian. I participate in church ministries."

  • "Well, I'm not as bad as THEM."

Your excuses might be more creative or they might be more lame. Your justification for doing what you know is wrong might be more carefully crafted or it might be thoughtless. Doesn't matter. You can line up all the excuses you want for your parents, for your pastor, for your Christian friends. But what you need to consider is the fact that none of them matter the tiniest sliver of a bit TO GOD. And HE is the one you'll have to answer to.

You see, He knows that you know that it's wrong, and He'll make a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13). He'll give you victory over that sin in your life. But He'll not make a way for you to escape the consequences that will result when you wash your hands in the bowl of excuses and do what you know to be wrong.

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