Obviously I’ve been a bit silent this week – writing a 4000 word essay will do that to a girl. For now, as Easter is soon upon us, take a look at the following article I wrote for our church community about Pilate believing…
Poetry or Journal Contribution – Week 3 (Mar. 17): Crown of thorns, lashes: John 19: 1-24
I’ve spent the morning writing, holed up at Woodside Bakery, a cozy little coffee and pastry shop 17 miles south of the city. Fresh fruit tarts, glazed to perfection, and crunchy-topped Dutch apple pies stare at me from the right, while coconut-chocolate macaroons and mini bran muffins keep whispering my name, louder and louder, from the display case eight feet in front of me. Meanwhile, distant chatter fills the air while I try to make sense of this passage found at the end of John’s account of the Christ’s life.
The truth is this: I believe in Jesus. I love Jesus. I celebrate and I worship Jesus, and I try my best to be a salt of the earth follower of His. But when the Lenten season comes around, and I’m forced to remember the crown of thorns placed on his head, and the purple robe mockingly thrown over his shoulders, and the 39 lashes just short of death He received – for me – I’d much rather stare at mouthwatering pastries than dwell on the depressive.
I’d rather be distracted than thank Him for His gift.
I’d rather breathe in deeply the aroma of sugar and vanilla and just-roasted coffee beans than sit and let myself feel the emotion of this dark breath of beauty.
I’d even rather sing a peppy, celebratory “He is risen, He is risen, indeed!” Easter song than take the time to reflect on the Light that came out darkness, out of the darkest of hours.
But today I do. Today as I let myself be, in this passage and in the gloom, with my Jesus – I find that I’m drawn to Pilate.
I think about Pilate’s journey over the course of these 24 verses (and whose real journey held so much more): he who had Jesus flogged, presenting Him to the people, while he found no case against Him. I think about how Pilate’s heart thumped in his chest when the verdict of death was clearly given, and about how he pleaded with Jesus to give in to his supposed power. I imagine the tears in Pilate’s eyes, and I wonder when he realized his own powerlessness next to the true King’s power.
I think about how in Christianity we often label Pilate a people-pleaser, saying that he gave into the demands of the people, and while there is truth in that statement, I bet he racked his mind for another way, the wheels in his head churning for the man he knew to be King. I wonder if they sat on the judge’s bench at Gabbatha together, and if more words and feelings and emotions were exchanged than what we see in the text.
And as I sit here with these ancient words, I’m struck by his final declaration of belief, which he had inscribed and put on the cross: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Write that it’s just a claim, that it’s not the truth, the people shouted – that he just said he was king of the Jews! But this inscription was Pilate’s declaration of belief, despite the screams and the jeers and the yells.
Even in the darkness Pilate believed. Pilate believed.
That I hold in my heart today, for I have to believe that Jesus’ response to Pilate was just the same as it is to you and me today: I love you even when you’re a people-pleaser. I love you even when it takes you a while to figure out Truth. I love you even when fear seems to lump up in your throat, rendering breath. I love you.
Like Pilate, I rest in Truth today.
For more, visit DPC Prayer Connections.0