Lenten Reflection – Part 2

by DanWolgemuth on March 4, 2024

Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. (Luke 23:20–24, ESV)

He wanted a way out. As he weighed the evidence, he attempted to let justice stiff arm the crowd… “Why? What has he done?” He asked…


Quite simply, Jesus stepped on some toes. And those were the toes of power, and influence and political clout.

And so, “their voices prevailed”. Note that justice didn’t prevail. Note that honor and truth telling didn’t prevail… voices prevailed.

“So Pilate decided…”

No, Pilate caved.

He had votes to garner and a reputation to preserve, and so he caved. He clung to the wrong thing. He esteemed what never lasts.

But as we know, Pilate wasn’t the only one who caved. Peter caved too.

Under the scrutinizing questions, his resolve crumbled. His blustery self-confidence wasn’t enough.

Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.”

So yes, Peter caved.

But during another Wednesday night of introspection at the Biblical Stations of the Cross… I took inventory on the many times when I have caved. While the crowd noise swelled, and the peer pressure mounted… while the popular opinion grew, I caved.

Pragmatism polled better than righteousness.

I rationalized what I could never justify.

And so I caved.

Jesus wasn’t surprised. He knew, what we all tend to dismiss… self-reliance is a sham god. If I’m the hero, then I’m in trouble.

And I often like to write myself in as the hero… just like Peter.

In a courtyard, a servant girl, with a simple question, crushed Peter’s confidence. Because he hoped in himself.

And for Pilate, the crushing blow was political.  …but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”

Politics over principal.

Fear over solidarity.

They caved. I cave. We all cave.

Because we are entirely unreliable, except to be unreliable.

But Jesus… a friend to sinners. He offers no defense during cross examination by Pilate. And to Peter, he offers grace. Forgiveness. Restoration. Just as he offers to me. To you. To the repentant. To the brokenhearted. 

A single name emerges. A name to be trusted. A name to esteem. A name above every name. The name that never caves.

He alone. 

Christ alone. A message of hope to all those who cave.

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