Mar. 20, 2012
For the third time he spoke to them: “Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.”
“Honey, this is where we turn right,” I said.
“But I think we have to go a little further,” my husband replies.
“No, this is where we turn,” I insist.
“This doesn’t look right,” as we approach the stop sign.
“I’m sure this is where we turn,” I say a little more emphatically.
Five minutes later: “We should have turned back there,” my husband quietly says.
“Now we’ll be late.”
Maybe these conversations only happen between my husband and me. They are even more challenging when you KNOW you are right but the other person insists THEY are right. What to do?
This is the situation Pilate finds himself in. No less than three times, he has told the growing crowd that he finds no reason to have Jesus killed. (Interesting that he has said this three times. Note to self: remember this on Easter morning when something else happens for three days.)
Pilate finds himself in a tug-of-war within himself. He has not established the minimum grounds to have Jesus killed. In Matthew’s Gospel, his wife even pleads with him: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” (Matthew 27:19) What is he to do? Go with his gut and his wife’s input and risk loosing his governorship because he appears weak? Or side with the crowd and pacify them?
We’ll discover soon that Pilate has learned the art of carefully picking and choosing his battles. If you are a spouse, a parent, a sibling, have co-workers or work with volunteers, you’ve also been faced with this choice. When do you continue with your plan, ideas or suggestions – even when you know they are right or better – than what the consensus of the group feels? Of course, we know these situations must be dealt with case-by-case. And who is on the other side makes a huge difference also. Where to turn is not the same as a huge financial decision. What restaurant to eat at is not the same as how to celebrate family holidays. Being late is not the same as whether a man lives or dies.
It’s much easier for us to know what the right thing to do us because we know how the story ends. This one decision forever changed Pilate’s life. Some decisions we make will forever change our lives. I pray that when we are making those decisions, we’ll seek guidance in figuring out who is right.
Let us pray: Lead me, Lord. Lead me in Your righteousness. Make Your way plain before my face. Amen.