Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Passing The Buck

Focus verses: Luke 23:1-31

The trial of Jesus is a prime example of passing the buck. The chief priests handed Jesus over to Pilate for crucifixion. But Pilate found no fault in Him. Pilate and the chief priests argued back and forth but decided nothing.

Then Pilate discovered Jesus was from Galilee, so he sent Him to Herod who was in Jerusalem also. And Herod sent Him back because Jesus answered him not a word.

Pilate wanted to let Jesus go free, but the chief priests wanted to be rid of Him, so they incited the crowd to demand Jesus' death.

So just who is ultimately responsible for the death of Jesus?

Pilate is a governor who seems to want Jesus to go free. Even his wife warns him not to have anything to do with Jesus. But Pilate doesn't have the courage of his convictions (if he has any convictions). He bows to the noise of the crowd and signs the death warrant. He is essentially only marginally involved.

Herod wants to see Jesus because of Jesus' celebrity. He besieges Him with questions, but Jesus remains silent. Herod is disappointed because he didn't get his fifteen minutes of fame with Jesus and sends him back to Pilate. He doesn't want to be involved in anything that might ruffle his complacent life.

The Sanhedrin - the chief priests - have condemned Jesus because of His claim to be the son of God. They label it blasphemy and since they cannot seem to move Pilate on their own, they incite the crowd to riot.

The crowd is simply a group of onlookers. Initially crowds form because something interesting is going on. They do not have the facts before them. They are pushed into reacting with their emotions. Crowds are notorious for behaving irrationally. When people are in the midst of a group that is shouting for a cause, they seem to turn off the analytical portion of their minds and simply follow the leader.

The responsibility for Jesus' death falls on Pilate because of his indecision. It falls on Herod because of his uninvolvement. It falls on the Sanhedrin because of their manipulations. It falls on the crowd because of their mindlessness.

Mostly it falls on you and me because of our sin nature. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, they handed that sin nature down to all of humanity. When we are born, we begin our separation from God. Without a path to get back to Him, we are eternally lost.

Jesus came to be that path, that bridge, that lets us get back into fellowship with God. I say "back" because we originated in the mind of God. Each and every one of us was called forth into existence by God's design.

William Wordsworth had a grasp of it.

Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life's Star, 60
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come 65
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!

But the world calls the sinful flesh of us to its will. And most of us succumb to to its siren call. To redeem us, Jesus came and died and rose again.

We cannot pass the buck. Had there been only one of us, Jesus would still have come and been crucified for one person's sins. Just as the "whosoever" in John 3:16 means an individual, there is a "whosoever" in the crucifixion of Christ. He came for each and every one of us individually.

We, you and I, bear the responsibility for Jesus' death. We dare not pass the buck.

Father, God,

Make us completely sensible of the enormity of this sacrifice on our behalf. Teach us to be truly grateful and to express that gratitude in unending praise and instantaneous obedience to Your will.
In Jesus' most precious name and the power of His blood.

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