"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." - Jerome

Friday, April 18, 2014

A Good Friday Reflection

The Trial of Jesus calls for a judgment. - What is your judgment?
How do we evaluate the so-called “Son of God”? When he stands before us, do we take the judgment seat?
Pilate, we are told, “sat in the judgment seat.” He was asked to give a verdict, to give a sentence based on that verdict.
Pilate wasn’t the first to get a chance to sit in judgment over Jesus. The Gospels tell us that Religious leaders, Herod and the crowd also were giving their verdicts. Jesus was a very judged man. And in the end, everyone who sat in judgment over Christ, didn’t get what they wanted from Him.
Before Jesus got to Pilate, the Religious Leaders had judged Jesus guilty! They were tired of Jesus calling them, the most religious people in the whole society, Jesus was calling them: sinners along with everyone else! They not only followed the Law (as they understood it) and even new parts of the law they made up! How offensive is that to be told your piety isn’t good enough!
Before Jesus got to Pilate finally, Herod had judged Jesus guilty…of not being entertaining enough. Herod demanded a sign! He wanted signs and miracles just for him. He wanted a Santa Claus, giving him goodies. And when Jesus was silent to that request, when Jesus didn’t answer his prayer for goodies, Herod was done with Jesus.
Now, Finally, Pilate sat in judgment over Jesus, but didn’t really find a problem with Jesus, so it seemed. But everybody else seemed to. So Pilate says with his lips that he doesn’t find guilt with Jesus, and then Pilate does what to an innocent man? Pilate has Him tortured. Mocks Him, makes Him the center of ridicule. Which lied, his lips or his actions?
When the crowd, when everyone else wants to be rid of Jesus, when the world is found to cry for his death, when it might be costly and hard to declare the truth about Jesus…Pilate asks “What is truth?”
Pilate denies Truth itself, standing in front of him, Pilate has the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE in front of him, and sends him down the WAY of the Via Delarosa, he lies about the TRUTH, and he sentences LIFE to death.
The Neutrality and apathy of a Pilate, always finds itself crucifying Christ. The fence sitters, seem always to find themselves right along with the crowd when it comes down to the real choice that was before them. The choice was between the INNOCENCE of Jesus or their own INNOCENCE.
Pilate starts by saying “I see no crime in him! He seems innocent,” but ends with saying, “I am innocent of his blood! I wash my hands!” 
Pilate couldn’t be neutral. And neither can you. In the end: only one can be innocent. The Trial of Jesus calls for judgment. All men, in one way or another, attend the trial of Christ. They are asked, as Jesus did to his disciples: “Who do you say that I am?”
Your verdict on that question, is the most important question you will ever answer. Who do you say Jesus is?
Is He the Son of God? If not, the religious leaders were right to declare him guilty.
Is He supposed to be Santa Claus? If so, Herod is right to dismiss Him when he doesn’t get his every request.
Is He to be the popular King? The cool friend? If so, then Pilate is right to deliver him to the crowd, when the world rejects Christ.
Pilate sat in the judgment seat and made his verdict known. Pilate was more concerned to declare Pilate’s innocence. In fact, everyone there thought they were innocent!
That’s what makes an innocent verdict so hard to pronounce over Jesus. If Jesus is innocent, then what he says is true. When He says He came for sinners, and points to you, either you are a sinner He came for, or He is a lying sinner for saying: you are a sinner.
It comes down to this: Either Jesus was innocent or you are. Which is it?
Are we wrong when we sit in judgment over Jesus for not confirming us, telling us “Good job applying the law to others and not yourself! Good job following your own rules and not God’s!” Are we guilty for dismissing Jesus when he doesn’t do this, or is Jesus guilty?
Are we in the wrong when we sit in judgment over Jesus because he doesn’t give us a all WE want? Are we guilty for treating Jesus like Santa Claus, or is Jesus guilty for not being our personal Santa Claus?
Are we in the wrong for ignoring Christ, for saying we don’t find guilt in him, but in the end, not concerning ourselves with Christ crucified when the world is found to be against him? Are we guilty for going along with the world, or is Jesus guilty for not being what the world wants?
The trial of Jesus demands a judgment. What is yours? Do you sit in judgment over Jesus? Or does he stand in judgment FOR you?
Just know this: Jesus only stands in judgment for the guilty! The minute you say “I am innocent” is the minute you cry out “Jesus is the guilty one! Crucify Him!”
Is Christ’s rightful place on the cross, or is yours? Before the cross is what Christ took in your place, you must see your rightful place is on the cross.
The story of the trial and death of Jesus is not a tragedy. The story of the passion is not in order to parade before you the man Jesus to pity. It is the story of the God-man Jesus Christ having pity on you. It is the story of Jesus saying to the Father “Forgive them.” The Father saying “Only if I forsake you.” And Jesus saying, “Your Will be done.” It is the story of Jesus then saying to the penalty that hung over us: “It is finished.”
It is the story of what you deserved, and what Jesus took for you. Only then, can you see the good in Good Friday.
I’ll tell you the good I see in this Friday: In the cross of Christ, there is my judgment, as He takes my cross, the cross I earned, the cross I deserved, and He bares it in love for me and His Father.
The Trial of Jesus calls for a judgment. Who is the guilty one? My judgment: I AM guilty. What is your judgment?
Prayer: Father, for the sake of the Pure and Spotless Lamb of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen.