Over and over in the Passion story at the end of Matthew, there are these comparisons between two people. Today, in Matthew 27:11-26, it’s the tale of two Kings; Jesus and Pilate. Jesus is falsely accused in court, again. It’s the second time He has had a false trial against Him in one day. And again, He doesn’t defend Himself against the lies and accusations. Why? I think part of it is that He is on a mission, and the lies are necessary to get Him where He is going. If He is going to die on the cross, it will take lies and hatred to get Him to it. Nothing else can kill the Son of God. Truth never could. So, He embraces the lying and hatred as part of the process to get to where God wants Him to be. This ability to embrace the hurt, the ugliness, the pain in life so that you can get to your goal is seen in virtually every great leader on the planet. Jesus is the supreme example of it, on a scale never seen before this story, or after it.
Then there is Pilate. A territorial governor desperate to hold on to his little plot of power. He is impressed with Jesus, and knows He is innocent. By law, He must be let go. But to maintain favor with the power brokers around him, he can’t let Jesus go. Pilate is stuck in a swamp of indecision. His wife tries to point him in the right direction, as most wives do. He ignores her, and later pays dearly for it, as most husbands do. He tries so feebly to ride the fence, with a non-decision. That blows up in his face. Now he has to sentence an innocent man of incredible character and worth to death, and he has to release an enemy of the state who is out to bring down Pilate’s kingdom. Double fail. Trying to walk your own path to get to your own good at all costs will always bring this level of destruction. Pilate had been governing this way for a long time. He was hated by everyone, because he tried to keep everyone happy. It never works long term.
Obviously, we are not kings, ruling over kingdoms. But, we are all people with choices and great influence on others. Today, tomorrow, this week and month, we will each be faced with choices. We can pursue our own gain, which will lead to us kissing up to people we don’t like to win friends we don’t want, or we can pursue God’s plans. When we follow God, He promises to give us strength to face anything, peace to withstand any storm, and wisdom to work through any problem. But it will require embracing some level of pain.
So, whatever pain you are facing, it is a crossroads for you today. You can turn towards God’s plans, and embrace it all as part of the process to get to the goal. The way to heaven always has a cross on the path. Or you can try and ride the fence, and avoid the pain. But that direction is just a savings account for pain. You can deposit it today, and get rid of it. But soon, it will come back on you with interest. Never a good option.
Which way will you go today?