March 12, 2011

Like Soldiers or Simon?

Matthew 27:19-24, 32-36

“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked.
Matthew 27:22


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.

About the author — Stanley Mast

Beginning in 1971, Rev. Stanley Mast has served churches in Missouri, Colorado, and Michigan. After teaching at Calvin Theological Seminary for a few years, he was the minister of preaching at LaGrave Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, until his retirement in 2012. Stan and his wife, Sharon, enjoy time with their two sons and five grandchildren.

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