Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. I will therefore have him flogged and release him.”
Then they all shouted out together, “Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!” (This was a man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!”
A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.” But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted.
A man was put to death by a system that was unjust. A man was put to death by a system that was fueled by bloodlust. A man was put to death by a system that needed to protect its own power.
Palm Sunday is upon us. We can no longer revel in the teachings of Jesus without considering the ramifications of what it cost him. We can no longer hold on to the idea that he turned a corrupt world upside down without sacrificing his life. We can no longer ignore that his death was an injustice of human power protecting itself from someone who beckoned that we see the world through eyes other than their own.
How long O Lord before we cease joining the cries of the crowd?
How long O Lord before our actions and inactions indicate a denial of knowing you?
How long O Lord before we realize compassion and empathy greater than our own interests?
How long O Lord how long?
Today’s devotion is brought to you by Campbell’s Center for Church & Community.