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How Doing Nothing Can Be Sinful

March 11, 2014

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Ecce Homo - 1871 - Antonio Ciseri (1821–1891)

Ecce Homo – 1871 – Antonio Ciseri (1821–1891)

It is hard to avoid feeling compassion for Pilate. (Mark 15:1-15)

In some respects, he tried to do the right thing. He knew Jesus was innocent. He attempted a few things to get the Jews to release him. He took the time to talk to Jesus personally. He even discussed it briefly with his wife.

But where it counts, he failed miserably. He might even be representative of weak people in general.

  • He was the leader – Nothing could really stop Pilate from declaring Jesus innocent and setting him free
  • He was free to not grant the mob’s wishes – Just because a mob demanded it did not mean he had to rule in such a way. He even had the military strength at his disposal to break up the crowd
  • He had the legal system as reinforcement – Even if his personality was too weak to stand up to the Jews, Pilate knew there was no legal reason to execute Jesus.

Once Pilate washed his hands of Jesus’ fate, he contributed as much to Jesus’ death as the Jews’ illegal trials or the person that drove the nails.

“Washing our hands” of something we know to be wrong is usually as bad as assisting in the sin. We often know someone close to us is sinning, but we say nothing.

It is difficult to rock the boat.

It is difficult to go against the crowd.

It is easy to hope it “just works out.”

Washing our hands of something we can influence – just hoping it will work out – is as good of a strategy as waiting for something different to happen without making a change. It is our duty as the “salt of the earth” to be an influence for Christ.

What did Jesus say about salt that has lost its ability to influence the taste of food?

It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. – Matthew 5:13

Sometimes we have to be strong enough to face the crowd to set things straight.

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