A journey to the cross is a journey to repentance. It’s a journey to deep personal change. Will you take this journey with me?
Date: Eight forty in the morning, Friday, April 7 30A.D.
The trial of Jesus ends. The verdict is delivered.
Characters: Pontius Pilate (the Badger), Caiaphas (the Weasel)
Pilate was already seated, ready to pronounce judgment. A thin smile was now on his face. The cunning Badger would make the most of his final moves. When Jesus was in position, he began. Once more he motioned in the direction of the Christ, and to all assembled he announced, “Here is your king.”
“Take him away!” came the instant response. “Take him away! Crucify him!”
There was vehement insistence coming from the crowd. Some began to hurl dust in the air. This was verging on a riot, a point that was surely obvious to the governor, yet he played them on.
“Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate called back to the throng.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the Weasel spat back.
The Badger’s eyebrows shot up.
The governor smiled and nodded. It was a smile of triumphant satisfaction. We have no king but Caesar. The Badger mulled over these words. I knew he had waited years for these words. After all he had endured in this place, wasn’t it well worth hearing this confession from the high priest’s mouth?
Ironically, the governor had Jesus to thank for the high priest’s sudden conversion and submission to imperial Rome. This declaration would never have come forth from the Weasel’s lips, except to secure the conviction of the good Galilean. Caiaphas was willing to stoop before Rome in order to spill the blood of this prophet. Here was the true measure of his hatred for the Northern Messiah.
Pilate knew all this, and he drew a good measure of perverse satisfaction from it. He understood his foe.
He called for his personal attendant to bring a basin of water. Now he would lay the blame where the bloody blame belonged. With the attendant holding the basin before him, Pilate made a great show of washing his hands before the crowd, and with insistence in his voice, he declared, “I am innocent of the blood of this man.”
Here was the feint, the great pretend.
Next came the dodge.
With water still dripping from his hands, he looked out over the crowd and declared, “You yourselves see to it.”
He spoke as though he had abdicated—bore no responsibility for the blood that now trickled down Jesus’s back. He absolved himself of that and of all that would soon flow on Golgotha.
This Badger could throw a bit of dirt.
It was fitting for Annas the aged priest to respond. It was he who answered for the people. With his finger pointed at Jesus and his gaze fixed on him, he replied, “His blood be on us.” Then he paused as though looking down through the generations of time. “And on our children,” he added with a cold, sardonic stare.
Out on the street the people answered, “Yes!” They nodded their agreement with this verdict.
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