Monday, January 23, 2012

Behind the Scenes





Scripture

But they kept on insisting, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place.”
(Luke 23:5 NASB)
Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him.
(Luke 23:8 NASB)
Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day; for before they had been enemies with each other.
(Luke 23:12 NASB)
“No, nor has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by Him.
(Luke 23:15 NASB)
“Therefore I will punish Him and release Him.”
(Luke 23:16 NASB)
Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again,
(Luke 23:20 NASB)
And he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has this man done? I have found in Him no guilt demanding death; therefore I will punish Him and release Him.”
(Luke 23:22 NASB)
But they were insistent, with loud voices asking that He be crucified. And their voices began to prevail.
(Luke 23:23 NASB)

Observation

      What was happening on that day?  Something incredibly political was happening behind the scenes.  Jesus is brought before Pilate who can find nothing wrong with him.  What had he done?  He had "stirred people up."  At the end of the day they would trade the life of Jesus, the innocent man for a man condemned of murder.  How did things get so distorted.

      Luke takes us behind the scenes that day to see what was happening on the human front.  Pilate couldn't find anything wrong with him, but the pollsters came back and told him that the people really wanted something done with the man.  What to do with him?  Pilate decided that it would be expedient to say that he didn't have jurisdiction since Jesus was really from the Galilee.  He had heard that Herod (whom he really disliked) was in town.  Why not give him the opportunity to decide what to do with Jesus, and therefore Herod could take the blame.

      Jesus appears before Herod and the man is so excited.  He is wringing his hands with anticipation that Jesus is going to perform his "magic" tricks for him.  He'd heard so much about him.  However, at the end of the day, Jesus is a disappointment.  He does nothing -- not even defending himself.  The result, an uncanny political alliance develops.  Herod, too, gets the poll numbers and realizes that the people want this man crucified.  Why not mend his fences with Pilate so that they can be united in their response.  The two of them can do this together!  

      Both of them declare that Jesus is innocent and that he ought to be set free.  However, they don't set him free.  They wait for a little bit more "polling."  Eventually the "voices began to prevail." Herod and Pilate no longer do what's right, but rather -- do what's popular, and the Messiah is crucified. 

Application

      Are we ever tempted to go behind the scenes in our own lives?  Are we worried about what others think, to the detriment of the truth or of right?  Do we form alliances just because they are self-serving?  We often condemn Pilate for his behavior that day, and yet how much of ourselves do we find in him.  If someone were to look behind the scenes, to draw the curtain on our own lives, what would they find?  Are we simply doing what's expedient, or are we willing to go against the crowd and stand up for what is right?  That's what we are challenged to do today, and everyday.  Don't succomb to the temptation to go behind the scenes and to manipulate, but rather, trust in God and his Truth.

Prayer

Lord, may I be a follower of your truth today and not be tempted to step behind the scenes.

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