Sunday, January 17, 2016

Mark 15:15 (TLB): Adopting a "Christ Way" of Thinking

Mark 15:15 (TLB): Adopting a "Christ Way" of Thinking
“Then Pilate, afraid of a riot and anxious to please the people, released Barabbas to them. And he ordered Jesus flogged with a leaded whip, and handed him over to be crucified.” (Mark 15:15)

Pilate is blinded by his desire to maintain political power and avoid rioting among the crowd. He clearly knows in his conscience that Jesus is innocent, for in the verse preceding this one, Pilate questions whether Jesus has done anything wrong.  Pilate, in essence, knows in his conscience that Jesus is innocent of the crime for which he is charged.  Nonetheless, Pilate cooperates with the religious leaders’ false accusations and condemns Jesus to a brutal, torturous death by crucifixion. The question we ask is “Why?”

When we act on our worldly perceptions; try to please crowds, family, friends, and colleagues; and silence our moral conscience, we make a grave error of choice. Pilate models this in Mark 15:1-15. And it is Pilate’s self-serving choices and disregard of conscience that contrast with what Jesus models earlier in Mark’s gospel (Mark 14:32-36) when he prays to the Father in Gethsemane, “Not what I want, but what you want.”

We should strive to avoid what Pilate models in the above verse and, instead, imitate the mind and heart of Christ. How does this look? We should try our best to pray, contemplate, and listen to the “still small voice” of God within us before we act. Sometimes, however, we are put on the spot, and contemplation is not a choice, but even then, if we develop a Christian sense of things and, through grace, adopt a “Christ way” of thinking, we will make choices that first consider the love of God and neighbor. Pilate, in contrast, considers only himself and his perception among the populace. This is a common trap for all of us that we can only avoid through faith and total surrender of self to Christ.

Let us keep each other and our special intentions in prayer this week.  

May you all be blessed and encouraged in the love and peace of Christ.