Making Wrong Look Legitimate

“Immediately, in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council; and they bound Jesus, led Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate. Then Pilate asked Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’ He answered and said to him, ‘It is as you say.’ ” Mark 15:1-2

According to Jewish law, trials were not to be held at night. I don’t know what the chief Priests would have called the action taken against Jesus on the night they arrested him but, whatever it was, they decided any conclusions they’d come to, during the hours of darkness, needed to be ratified by a larger body of leaders, during the light of day, before they took any further official action.

It’s interesting how we often hide inappropriate, and at times immoral, actions behind a cloak of procedural correctness. It seems that somehow we’ve convinced ourselves that if we follow the prescribed steps in making a decision, or taking an action, we can somehow take something that’s wrong and make it right.

But there’s more than procedural cloaking going on. It also appears that the Jewish leaders have repackaged their accusation against Jesus to make it more odious to the Roman governor. I’m sure they knew that Pilate couldn’t have cared less about a humble Jewish carpenter turned preacher, healing the sick and crippled, and teaching peace and righteousness, even if he did claim to be the Son of God. So by the time the charges came to Pilate they’d some how been rewritten to read, “He calls himself the King of the Jews.”

But appearances belie the charges. Jesus does not now and has never, in his entire earthly ministry, looked like a king. He came to this earth as a servant and that’s how he looked.

Pilate questions the validity of the charges. Turning to Jesus he asks, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus offers just five words to answer his judge’s question, “It is as you say.” Jesus will not deny who he is and neither will he deviate from the course his father has set for him; no matter how difficult or painful that course may be.

Jesus, months before, told his disciples that it was enough if they were treated as he was treated. Are we willing to follow the path of service our Heavenly Father has charted for us? Or will we, like the Jewish leaders, seek for a way to legitimize our substituting a path of our own choosing.

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