Devotional submitted by Jaq Webb
I don’t know about you, but this week has left me feeling desperately in need of God’s grace. Honestly, I’ve struggled to handle living in close quarters with my family for the duration of Supersized Spring Break. A substantial number of books and movies keep my heart happy, and to-do lists keep my brain sane—but only for a bit. I don’t much like how barely-controlled chaos fills my house to the busy brim, and I’m doing my best to treat my family lovingly.
It’s not easy, though. Blame, whether in the case of international proxy wars or washing the dishes, is one of the most natural human habits and slipperiest of slopes. It’s particularly evident in today’s passage, when Pontius Pilate decides to mention exactly how much guilt he deserves in Jesus’s obviously unfair trial. (Insert eyebrow-raise here) Still, I can relate.
During this season of the disruptive COVID-19 pandemic and all of its repercussions, blame has been a reoccurring topic of discussion. In this passage of John, God lifts the blindfold on blame, exposing the fragile nature of what it means to consider oneself “blameless” by human standards. Pilate, like the rest of us, struggles to carry the burden of his guilt, and turns to the false solution of avoiding his responsibility to justice. And this isn’t just Pilate’s story—it’s an uncomfortably familiar, human one.
So, for me, what can I do to respond to its truth? It’s easy to wash my hands of responsibility like Pilate. However, throughout this week I’m challenging myself to consciously take note of whether I’m playing his role, or responding to God’s higher calling—Jesus’ sacrificial love. I encourage you to join me– probably still wash your physical hands, though.
Scripture: John 19:1-6
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. 2 The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe 3 and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.
4 Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”