O Father, here we see again evidence that Pilate was a weak man, that he was afraid, at least at this point in his life. He said he found no guilt in Jesus, and yet, he turns him over to the chief priests and the officers when they said, "Crucify him. Crucify him." Why did he not stand his ground and let Jesus go? The only answer I can come up with is that this was all part of your plan.
Throughout this whole event, Father, Pilate has been a weak man, and I think we judge him for that. Perhaps we fail to realize that in our own individual circumstances, each of us comes across situations where we want to be strong and do the right thing and yet, because of our human weaknesses and fears, we do that which we don't want to do, and our resolve crumbles. We give in to fear: that we will lose our jobs, our families, acceptance from our friends, whatever it is that we hold dear in this life. Father, even as Christians, we are tempted to take our eyes off of Jesus and look instead at our treasures on earth. We forget that the treasures we have stored up in heaven are the ones that will last forever, and those earthly treasures are truly worthless. Help me, Father, to keep my eyes on Jesus and to stand for what is right against all opposition, knowing that I will receive the reward of the inheritance that Jesus Christ has made available to me through his death and resurrection because I am your child.
Father, we finally see some evidence that Pilate does have some backbone as he does not give in and change the inscription that he had written and insisted that what he wrote would stay over Jesus' head. Thank you, Father, for that sign. Surely, it gave people a reason to stop and think, and yet, the sentence was carried out and Jesus died.
Father, what an example Jesus was on the Cross. He kept his wits about him. He took care of his mother. Knowing at that time his brothers did not believe in him, he entrusted his mother to one of his trusted disciplesto John, whom he knew would take care of her. Father, help me to take care of my mother when she needs help from me. Help me to be there for her always. Father, help me to recognize when you are guiding me to help other family members who need my help, and help me to willingly provide that help.
Father, as Jesus finished the work you sent him to do, help me, to finish the work you prepared for me to do. Help me not to be distracted. Help me to remain focused on that work, to make it a priority in my life so that it is accomplished.
Thank you, Father, for your faithfulness in fulfilling the prophecies of the Old Testament and recording those fulfillments in the New Testament. As I see how faithful you were in the past, I have confidence that you will be faithful in the future. I trust that you will fulfill the promises and prophecies recorded in the New Testament. Help me to be patient as I wait.
Father, Joseph of Arimathaea had not publicly acknowledged the lordship of Jesus in his life, but then he gathered his courage and went to Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus. Nicodemas also was a "secret" disciple, but he came to help prepare the body for burial. Apart from your leading them, I do not know what caused these men to expose themselves like this. Joseph had to know that someone in Pilate's court would tell others that he was the one who asked for the body. Both Joseph and Nicodemas surely knew that someone would see them preparing the body for burial and assume they were Christians. Help me, O God, always to acknowledge Jesus publicly, knowing that any resulting negative consequences will be a small price to pay for the privilege of identifying myself with my Lord Jesus Christ and his sufferings. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.
Copyright 2007, Star Ferdinand. All Rights Reserved.
Star Ferdinand is the author of The Prayerful Bible Study Series of study guides, numerous devotionals, and other Christian writings. You can read more of her writings at starferdinand.wordpress.com.
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