Interrupted By Jesus

On the first Easter week, Pilate, governor of Jerusalem, handed down a sentence that Jesus should die. He had nothing against Jesus of Nazareth. He wasn’t the one who hunted him down, arrested him at night, or hired Judas to betray him. In fact, Pilate tried multiple times to release Jesus. He told everyone Jesus was innocent and didn’t deserve the death sentence the crowd was shouting for.

But he still had Jesus crucified.

He knew the decision was unjust. He also knew that it was more politically expedient to let the crowd have the blood they wanted. While we rightfully condemn Pilate as a corrupt, power-hungry government official, his response to Jesus isn’t unusual.

Many today also know about Jesus, and remain indifferent to him. They aren’t mocking him or taking out their anger on his followers, they aren’t burning churches or condemning the Bible as hate speech. Like Pilate, they are simply content to live their own lives their own way, without any reference to the troublesome carpenter from Nazareth. Like Pilate, they aren’t seeking to meet Jesus or know more about him. In Pilate’s case, the meeting came anyway. The Nazarene invaded his space, and his presence threatened to throw Pilate’s carefully planned ambitions off course. Suddenly, Pilate found himself caught between an innocent man he couldn’t understand and an angry mob threatening to denounce him to Caesar. He could serve justice and release the inconveniently innocent man, but was he willing to sacrifice his power and position…? No. The innocent man would have to die, because Pilate’s life goals were more important.

Like Pilate, our society tells us to prioritise our own personal dreams and ambitions above all things. But like Pilate, we will all eventually stand face to face with Jesus. Whether we’ve loved him or hated him or thought about him at all, the man who rose from the dead on the first Easter Sunday is not someone we’ll be able to ignore forever.

Hebrews 9 tells us plainly that “man is appointed to die once, and after that to face judgment.” Like Pilate, we will all stand before Jesus in a court of justice, but when that day comes we will not be the ones judging him—he will be judging us. This sounds hopeless and frightening, if we’re really honest about ourselves and our lives. Who could stand before perfect justice?

This is why Easter is so important. The good news of Easter is that our judge is also our saviour, if we put our trust in him. As Hebrews 9 puts it, “He has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.” Instead of coming to judge and destroy, he came to bear our sin in our place, to offer forgiveness to all who come to him. Hebrews goes on to say that “Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who eagerly await him.”

The day will come when we stand before Jesus in a court of ultimate justice. Amazingly, if we trust him now, we don’t have to fear that day—we can “eagerly await him” and the salvation he brings.

This is why we celebrate Easter.

3 thoughts on “Interrupted By Jesus”

  1. I am very grateful for this post. This is one of the best and probably the best essays I have read about Good Friday. I love the angle which you approach the topics. I feel like it is written in a way that could very possibly reach even very hard and hearts. Thank you for sharing this..

    “Like Pilate, we will all stand before Jesus in a court of justice, but when that day comes we will not be the ones judging him—he will be judging us.”

    Beautifully stated truth!

    Liked by 1 person

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