Mar. 21, 2012
So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.
Sometimes the loudest voice wins.
It’s a professional football game. After a questionable catch, the local crowd is sure the ref didn’t quite see it right. As the replay comes across the jumbo-tron, the crowd boos. The television announcers question if the head coach should throw the red challenge flag. While there is brief consultation with the coaches in the booth upstairs, the growing crowd noise explodes when the red flag lands on the ground.
It’s high school basketball playoff season. Finally, your team has made it to state. Only problem is the state refs allow for a lot more pushing and shoving inside than the you, the head coach, is accustomed to. This time, your player has ended up on the floor. It takes 1.3 seconds for you to get in front of a ref and you are not quiet. The ref hesitates and then makes the “right” call in your opinion.
She’s back at it. A member of your local congregation just needs something to complain about. This go-around it is multiple times gum has been put on the lip underneath the tables in the fellowship hall. The janitor said it only took a couple minutes to remove it from several tables. But now it’s been the topic of discussion at the Church Council meeting for over 20 minutes. Our kids do not respect church property, the woman says. Maybe we should stop offering programs for them until they learn how to take care of “our” tables. And if we don’t, she will just take her money to a church where four-year-old kids know respect.
Whether is it booing Bret Favre as he runs onto the field in a Minnesota Vikings uniform, berating a waitress for undercooked meat at a restaurant or bounding out of the house and yelling at the neighborhood kids, “I’ve told you and told you …” the loudest voice thinks it wins. That’s why we reserve our loudest voice for the times we want to make the most dramatic portrayal.
Remember how in Matthew’s Gospel Pilate’s wife warns him to avoid doing anything with the innocent Jesus? Pilate makes his position evident when the crowd is so loud they won’t listen to him. He saves his best words for his actions as he washes his hands with water in front of the boisterous crowd. He’s saying, “This death, his blood is on your hands; not mine.”
The quietest voice in the scene? The man condemned to die. Hmmm.
Let us pray: Jesus walked this lonesome valley; he had to walk it by himself. Oh, nobody else could walk it for him; he had to walk it by himself. Amen.