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Genesis 2:18 states that God said “it is not good for man to be alone.” God created us in his image with a desire for relationships. We believe in order to grow together as daily disciples, togetherness is a key component.
27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. 28 They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand. Then they knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. 30 They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. 31 After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.
15 Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. 16 At that time they had a well-known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. 17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 For he knew it was out of self-interest that they had handed Jesus over to him.
19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”
20 But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed.
21 “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” asked the governor.
“Barabbas,” they answered.
22 “What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
They all answered, “Crucify him!”
23 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
25 All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!”
26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.
You know the end of a basketball game when the shot clock is turned off and the team with the ball is down by one? It’s now or never and whatever happens on this possession will determine the game. Everyone in the arena paid for a seat, but there is no need for it now.
We’re at a similar point in Scripture, Matthew 15-26. It’s intense! People are emotional! Lives are on the line! What’s going to happen!?!?
At the Feast, it was custom for the governor to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. The governor’s name? Pontius Pilate. The people presented? Jesus and Barabbas (a notorious criminal). Let the vote begin.
The crowds called for Jesus to be executed. Pontius Pilate was in a predicament because he knew Jesus was innocent. Pilate was supposed to administer justice, but he was afraid of the crowd. He washed his hands over the situation. Essentially, by making no decision, he made the decision to let the crowds crucify Jesus.
When faced with a brutal choice, making no decision is still a decision.
As believers, there are times we find it easier to sit on the sidelines. It’s as if we think washing our hands of the situation also washes away our guilt. Wrong. Washing your hands of a tough situation doesn’t cancel your guilt, it only brings a false sense of peace.
Let’s not worry what the “crowds” of people in our lives think. Instead, let’s live boldly in the way we love others. Let’s choose Jesus, no matter the cost.
God give me the wisdom to know the right decision to make and the strength to follow through with it.
11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” 14 But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
1 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed. 2 So they bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate the governor.
3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”
“What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.”
5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”
69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.
70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”
74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!”
Immediately a rooster crowed. 75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
“Oh, I would never do that.”
Have you ever made such a statement of conviction, so sure of yourself, your absolute control over your own words or actions? Making promises that we are certain we will never, ever break? Haven’t we all, at one time or another?
The Peter of this chapter is the very same Peter who, at Jesus’ invitation, instantly left his family fishing business to follow this man. This very same Peter dove out of a boat into a wild, raging sea when Jesus, walking on water, invited him to come. And on the night that Jesus was betrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter pulled out his sword and tried to kill one of the soldiers—succeeding only at lopping off his ear (which Jesus then took a moment to put back on, even in the midst of all the confusion of his own arrest). Peter was a strong-willed man, passionate about his own convictions and clearly willing to act on them. He knew himself well. At least he thought he did.
So when Jesus told Peter the truth in advance—that he would absolutely deny even knowing Jesus three times in the next few hours, before the early morning when the rooster crows, Peter was absolutely sure of himself: “Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you.”
While some of the events of Jesus’ life are told by only one or two of the disciples who were Jesus’s closest friends, all four men carefully recorded this incident that probably became the greatest failure and shame of Peter’s life: his denial of even personally knowing Jesus at all, in the hours just before his crucifixion.
I am really no different from Peter; perhaps neither are you. Amidst all of our failures, the greatest may be our unwillingness to see ourselves for who we really are: individuals who sin—willfully make wrong choices—every day of our lives. Certain of what we would never do, and then doing exactly that, or worse. Knowing what and who our Father wants us to become, and then still choosing the opposite. In big and small ways, we are just as guilty of our willful sin as Peter was in that moment.
We can’t save ourselves from ourselves, that much is sure. We need a Savior. And therein lies our greatest HOPE.
~Polly Lott, Director Of Ministries
Serving isn't just an optional step at Southeast—we believe it's essential to spiritual growth and transformation. God does something sacred in us when we invest in and serve others.