Friday, March 31st
Devotional written by Pastor Brian Williams, Young Adults Pastor
ONLY HE CAN JUSTIFY US
To read today: Matthew 27:11-26
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
Pilate sought to be just and true to his values. He sought justice and mercy for a clearly innocent man, that is, until it got risky for him.
Pilate was principled and ethical until it could have cost him too much. Once the threat of uproar arose, which would not be politically advantageous for him, he turned his back on virtue and principle for self-preservation. He abandoned justice and justified himself, soothing his conscience by symbolically washing his hands of choice.
Often many of us follow Pilate in this pursuit of righteousness and holiness until it gets risky. Then to soothe our guilt and shame, we self-justify and explain away the sinful offense as though we can manipulate God’s understanding of what sin is. Yet we are only manipulating and tricking ourselves into an illusion that we are good and righteous and justified by our actions or motives.
Pilate’s sin is unjustified by the risk for him to act justly. It is not annulled because others were sinning and lobbying for him to give in to them. That water did not cleanse him. His failure to follow through on administering and seeking justice is his to bear. The only justification Pilate could seek to relieve his guilt and shame is found in the one he abandoned. Jesus suffered and died because our sin was too much to overcome. We embrace lesser things whenever we step out of His absolute and generous sacrifice for our guilt and shame. Things that don’t deliver what we are seeking. We can’t run from the humility required to be justified by Jesus’ sacrifice.
Reflection: Are there sins you have justified? Confess to Jesus those things you are too scared to admit being true. He won’t disappoint you even if you’ve disappointed Him. Read Psalm 103:8-14