Leviticus 15-16 Matthew 27:1-26
“Early the next morning, all the leading priests and elders of the people decided that Jesus should die. They tied him, led him away, and turned him over to Pilate, the governor.” (Matthew 27:1-2)
Such simple, but shocking words. For the Jews to humble themselves and turn to a political solution to the “problem” of Jesus by going before Pilate this way shows the hate they had for Jesus. If Hitler had been a Roman governor, they would have called him Pilate. He antagonized the Jews from the first day he arrived there, figuratively spitting in their faces from his entry into Judea until his massacre of Samaritans ended his reign. As calm and as reasonable as Pilate may seem in this story, there’s no doubt that if he was calm, it was because the Jews were impassioned. If he wanted to release Jesus, it was because the Jews wanted Him crucified. If the Romans had captured Jesus and the religious leaders supported Him, Pilate would have forced them to attend the crucifixion.
The problem the Jewish leaders had was that they had lost the battle of the heart. Rather than listen to, and embrace the message of Jesus, which was the message from God that they’d been waiting for, they focused on their own personal power and used political means to advance that. As Christians, we’ve been guilty of that in the past. We’ve allied ourselves with questionable people on both sides of the aisle to enforce our religious beliefs, rather than seeking to win the hearts of the people to Jesus. So many of the political issues of our day revolve around matters of the heart: racism, hatred, misogynism, caring for the poor, and the list could go on. As Christians, our job isn’t to align ourselves with one imperfect politician or another, our job is to align our hearts with Jesus, do the right things, and bring others into fellowship with God. If we don’t do that, there will never be a permanent solution to the problems in our world.
Lord, You tell us that above all else, we should guard our heart. Help us guard our hearts, and then help us change the hearts of those around us as we deal with the problems in this world. Our only hope is in You, Lord. Help us share the message of Your love.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.