Reading today, Jesus continues through His crucifixion stages. Peter denies Him for the second time in John 18:25-27. This time, it was probably in fear of His life. After all, the guy asking was there when he cut the soldiers ear off.
Then Jesus is taken to Pilate, the Roman governor. A couple of details hit me today reading this. One, the Jewish leaders won’t take Jesus into Pilate’s palace. If they did, they would be “unclean” for going into a Gentile’s house. There were ceremonies they would have to go through to become “clean” again. The ceremonies would need to be done before the start of the Sabbath, which was that evening, and they didn’t have time to get it done, what with the trying to kill Jesus stuff on their “to do” list. So they wouldn’t go in. The interesting note is because that Sabbath was Passover, a celebration when the Jews remembered God saving their first born sons from death. The irony is too deep to handle in that. They want to party, thanking God for saving their first born sons. They are so concerned about being a part of this celebration that they are conducting an illegal trial to kill God’s firstborn (and only) son. Does that confuse anyone else but me?
Secondly, when the people cry for Barabbas release instead of Jesus, it says that he had taken part in a revolution. He was part of a group trying to overthrow the Roman government. This is exactly what the people had hoped Jesus would do. But when He didn’t, and went down the whole “my kingdom is not of this world” path, they ditched Him and moved on. They wanted a king, but they wanted one on their terms. Maybe Barabbas could be that. He definitely was a better shot at it than Jesus had turned out to be!
But then, as always, as I’m dumbfounded at the thickheadedness and stupidity of the Jews, God reminds me of my tendency to do the exact same things. (Sign) I really don’t like it when He does, but then I remember how much He loves me. Anyway, how often do we get so caught up in our ideas of religion and power and influence and marketing and “the way things SHOULD be around here” that we ignore what Jesus is doing all together. We might even ignore Him in His name. I do.
What’s His response? He speaks truth, and then lays down His life for me.
I won’t even go into the part where He calls us to do the same thing for other people around us. That’ll be another day.