Moment of Truth

At certain times in our life we encounter situations that can define the rest of our life. After Pilate heard the priests declare that Jesus made himself to be the Son of God; Pilate paused and went back to Jesus for further information. Already he had determined that Jesus didn’t deserve to die, but to be released. Previously his wife had come to him with a warning not to have anything to do with Jesus. Pilate told the priests that Jesus didn’t deserve to die, but in the end, he would have to decide what was most important to him. Would he do and declare what he knew was right or would he choose what he determined to be self-protection? All of us face such situations at one time or another; will we pass the test or not? The answer will lie in what we have cultivated in our heart up to that point. Jesus’ knew Pilate and even made it easier for him, when Jesus declared that those who had handed him over to him had the greater sin. Jesus’ statement motivated Pilate to increase his attempts even more, but the priests knew exactly what buttons to push in Pilate to force him to capitulate. Like Jesus, they also knew what motivated Pilate. They played their winning card, their Caesar card, by declaring that since Jesus made himself a king, he was opposed to Caesar, therefore by releasing Jesus Pilate could be no friend of Caesar. That was it, hearing this Pilate capitulated. More than truth, he loved his position of authority, for which he depended upon the favor of Caesar. In Pilate’s eyes to lose favor with Caesar meant to put his position at risk. He would not risk that. So he cooperated with the great injustice of condemning Jesus. His example begs the question for you and me. Is there anything so important to us that to risk losing it we would commit a great injustice to someone who is innocent? In other words, do we have some weakness or button that someone could push to pressure us to do what they wanted rather than for us to do what is right? I wonder if when Jesus taught us to pray in what has been called the Lord’s Prayer, “Deliver us from evil”, he had some dilemma like this in mind. We often think that evil resides outside of us, but it is possible that all of us carry the ability to choose something evil because we value something too much and the thought of losing it is too much for us to bear.

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