Then the entire council took Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor. They began to state their case: “This man has been leading our people astray by telling them not to pay their taxes to the Roman government and by claiming he is the Messiah, a king.” So Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus replied, “You have said it.” Pilate turned to the leading priests and to the crowd and said, “I find nothing wrong with this man.” (Luke 23:1-4)
On May 31, 2020, an angry crowd broke into a closed Walmart in Greenacres, Florida, near West Palm Beach. The night manager and other employees were inside. When the crowd began breaking windows and forcing the locked door open, the manager and employees ran to a room and locked themselves in. I can’t imagine how frightened they were.
Pilate also faced an angry crowd. No doubt he knew of Jesus and had him investigated. He would’ve previously determined Jesus was a threat to Jewish leadership but not to the Roman government. Pilate saw through the council’s lie that Jesus told the Jews not to pay taxes. The King of the Jews wasn’t a concern to Pilate because He had no desire to be king of the Roman empire. Pilate declared Jesus’ innocence for the first time. But the Jewish council was angry and would not give up easily.
Jesus taught us how to respond when we’re attacked with lies and name calling. When the council lied about Jesus, He said nothing. When they called Him a name, He said, “Whatever you say.” We should not strike back. If the attacker is a friend, co-worker, or family keep in mind they’ve been influenced by the enemy, and tell them when things cool down how they made you feel. Jesus told us earlier in Luke: “But to you who are listening I say: ‘Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27-28) Jesus will do all these things.
Like Jesus, we’ll go through trials of our own. Giving up a bad habit or trait is a trial. 1 Peter 4:13 tells us to be very glad when we’re going through fiery trials – “for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.”
Father God, help me go through trials. Give me the power of Your Holy Spirit because I can’t pray for my attackers with my own power. Help me be more like Jesus. Remind me as I leave __________ at the cross that even though I’m a partner with Christ in His suffering, I’m fortunate to endure my suffering and not His. I pray in Jesus precious and holy name, amen.