“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
Pilate wanted to avoid responsibility for the fate of Jesus. He even said this explicitly at the end of Jesus’ kangaroo trial, shouting at the religious leaders: “It is your responsibility!”
But it’s not so easy to wash your hands of Jesus. Once you come into contact with him, once you know about the power of the cross, you have to do something with him. The question is, What will you do with Jesus Christ?
The gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) relate some very different responses to Christ and his cross. Matthew 27:32-36 shows us that the soldiers weren’t very interested. They earned their pay by pounding some nails. They divided up Jesus’ clothing as a little bonus. Then they sat and watched Jesus die. They didn’t get emotionally involved as the great reversal happened before their very eyes.
Simon got involved—against his will—but he still got involved. He carried Jesus’ cross. As Jesus staggered to his death, Simon struggled to carry that instrument of condemnation. He may even have become a disciple of Jesus later (see Mark 15:21).
What will you be? A disinterested spectator? A struggling disciple? You can read about the cross and do nothing with Jesus. Or you can take up your cross of discipleship and follow him. As you do, Jesus’ cross will carry you to a new life!
Lord, please redirect spectators who are disinterested in the cross. Make us all into disciples who struggle to change for your sake. Amen.
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