Today’s Scripture – May 15, 2017

Matthew 27:11-14 (NIV) Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied. When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer.
Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?” But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge–to the great amazement of the governor.

Jesus was now standing before the most powerful man in the land, the representative of the Emperor Himself. But this man did not intimidate Jesus in the least, because He Himself was there as the representative of the most high God, who held the very fate of the Emperor Tiberius in His hand.

Jesus at this point was simply walking through the paces that He had to pass through. He had no personal investment in the process, because the outcome was already predetermined by the Father. So there was no need to answer the charges, or to mount a vigorous defense, any more than there was a need to mount a defense in the Garden of Gethsemane against those who had come to arrest Him. No defense was going to set Him free, no admission or denial of guilt would increase or lessen His punishment. So He simply stood there stoically while the waves of accusation washed over Him.

His stoicism unnerved Pilate. He had seen accused men lash out angrily, and he had seen them beg tearfully for forgiveness, and everything in between. But watching this man stand in front of him, meeting him eye-to-eye boldly, even nobly, despite the marks of having been badly beaten clearly evident on his face, was unsettling to say the least.

The charges against this man were ridiculous on their face. Claiming to be the king of the Jews, the only charge that Jesus didn’t deny, was a challenge to Herod, not the emperor. As for the charges of sedition, this man was clearly no rebel. Pilate had heard of Jesus and what He had been doing. He was aware of the celebration that had taken place when Jesus had ridden into town just a few days before. But since that time, neither Jesus nor His followers had challenged Rome’s authority, only the authority of these religious leaders.

Still, there was something completely unnerving about the calmness that surrounded this man, as if He knew something that no one had caught onto yet. And that something made Pilate determined to set Jesus free.

Father, it’s amazing to see Jesus standing before the seat of authority unshaken and unbent, solidly committed to playing out the part He had been given to play. So often we cast about in our circumstances, not knowing Your plan because we are too busy looking for the way out. Help me to keep my ears and my heart tuned to Your voice, so that I can follow Your lead boldly and confidently in every circumstance in which I find myself. Amen.

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