Saturday, November 24, 2012
Matthew 27:11-26 NLT:
"11 Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him. Jesus replied, “You have said it.”
12 But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. 13 “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. 14 But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.
15 Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. 16 This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas.[d] 17 As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)
19 Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”
20 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. 21 So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?” The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”
22 Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
23 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?” But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”
24 Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”
25 And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!”
26 So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified."
Jesus was innocent of any crime, and yet when the people had the opportunity to save Him, they chose to save Barabbas instead, a notorious criminal. Jesus had done nothing wrong, and yet He was ordered to be tortured and killed.
It seems like such an injustice. Jesus suffered the ultimate cost; not just the cost of His life (as He DID rise again), but He was brutally tortured in the most painful way possible. That pain was real. He felt the full extent of everything He was going through.
As we read further in the Bible, we know that after Jesus died, He rose again, and claimed His rightful place at the right hand of God. His death may have seemed like a horrible injustice at the time, especially to those who were closest to Him and knew who He really was. But God was using His Son to fulfil his perfect plan of offering salvation to the people He created who have turned away from Him.
Sometimes in this life, we, too, suffer a "horrible injustice". We feel that we're being treated unfairly, possibly even being made to suffer the consequences of choices we didn't make on our own. Where's the justice? Where's the fairness? At times that we feel like this, we need to remember that God is not an unjust God; He is not unfair, and His ways are higher than our ways (see Isaiah 55:8). We need to not depend on our own understanding of situations (Proverbs 3:5), but remember that God loves us. We need to stop looking at ourselves--stop feeling sorry for ourselves-- and realize that the injustices that we face just may be fulfilling God's will in our lives. Or better yet, He may be using OUR injustices to fulfil His will in someone ELSE'S lives.
Jesus didn't choose to be crucified. He didn't want it. Before His death, He even prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that God wouldn't make Him go through with it (Matthew 26: 39, 42). We've prayed prayers like that: "Why me, God?" "Why do I have to go through this??" Yet Jesus also prayed for the Will of God to be fulfilled, even if it meant He had to go through this horrible torture.
We need to remember that in this earthly life, sometimes bad things happen. But we have a God who loves us more than we can ever imagine. We may not understand why things happen, but we do know that God will take any situation and work it out for our good, even if it's a painful process.