Author: Paul Nagano, Dr., Council For Pacific Asian Theology, Alhambra
24 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!” 25 All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. (Matthew 27:24-26, NIV)
The reality of our pragmatic culture is expediency: doing what is convenient for the movement whether moral or immoral — just or unjust. In our scriptural text (Matthew 27:24-27) the Roman ruler, Pilate, did the expedient thing: “washed his hands” of the innocent Jesus. Pilate confessed his own innocence “I am innocent of this man’s blood”. Pilate claimed his own innocence, but took no serious attention to the innocence of the victim, Jesus. The expedient crowd responded in the same manner and did the expedient thing. They reacted, not with justice and honesty, but with expediency as they consented to what was seemingly popular-the response of the crowd. To justify his conscience and action, Pilate released Barabbas, and had the innocent Jesus scourged and delivered to be crucified.
Our Lenten message is not only the expediency of Pilate and the crowd, but the reaction of Jesus, when he said: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34). Perhaps the most difficult and greatest act of love is to forgive your enemy(s). Let alone to forgive at the expense of suffering and death. “Greater love has no man than this, that a man laid down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
We live in a culture that is charged with expediency. With the rapidity of our involvements we are all victims of expediency. We are tempted to do what we need to do right away in the most convenient way without giving much thought whether it is right or wrong, helpful or harmful, gracious or immediate.
May we learn to prayerfully make our decisions and lovingly forgive those who may wrong us by their thoughtlessness and expediencies.
The ISAAC 2009 Lenten Devotional, edited by Rev. Dr. Johnson Chiu. This devotional was written by Asian American English ministry leaders and pastors in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. To purchase, click here: Road of Suffering, Road to Glory: A Lenten Adventure with the Savior