Matthew 27:1-31; Deuteronomy 5-6; Job 6
The Jews were not easy to govern. They didn’t like foreign rulers and they especially hated the attempts to integrate the Jews into the foreign empires. The Romans found that out and gave the Jewish people a protected status so that they were not forced to follow those Roman ways. If you were out of favor with the Roman government, you might be posted to Galilee – the Roman outpost that dealt with the Jews. And so Pilate dealt with them. He had gotten into trouble before and the warnings had come from above. And then, trouble came again. This time, the Jewish leaders brought him another one of those Messiahs that kept cropping up. Only this one hadn’t caused riots or killed Romans. This one just bothered the Jewish leaders. As Pilate interrogated this Jesus, he was surprised. He offered no defense, He sought no mercy. If He was a King, the people were ready to get rid of Him. Yet, He wasn’t guilty. He sought a way to release Jesus. Soon he realized that releasing Jesus might cause a riot. “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’” (Matthew 27:24) Knowing that another riot would bring an end to his career, he surrendered to the Jewish leaders. He claimed to be innocent of the death that he then ordered to appease the Jewish leaders. It’s so easy to give in to the crowd – whether the name is Pilate or Bob. Sure, I try to do the right thing most of the time, but the reaction of the crowds; the reaction of friends and neighbors even, is so strong that I go ahead and follow them instead of staying true to what I know is right. Only, I can’t wash my hands of the situation. No matter how many times I wash my hands, the stain of my sin still remains.
God, each day I am faced with decisions that come down to the question of who I will follow. It’s hard to follow You when the crowd is yelling in my ear to do something different. To be honest, sometimes it’s more fun to do what the crowd wants. Give me the strength to follow You no matter what others may do.