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Good Friday - The Response of Compromise

. 3 min read
2015/04/03 Good Friday, Mountain Top Community @ St Paul
Lutheran
Matthew 27.11-26
  
Poor
Pilate. He doesn’t ever seem to have learned that there are more than two ways
to address conflict, more than two ways to be conflicted. In addressing external
conflict, the two easiest ways to identify are confrontation or capitulation.
Fight or give in.
      In terms of being conflicted, the easy
resolution is to pick one aspect of ourselves or another and just go with it.
Either-or. No possibility of internal dialogue, just decide by listening to the
loudest internal voice, the greatest threat.
      We don’t know much about Pilate’s personal
life. He served as procurator of Palestine for ten years, though there were
numerous complaints against him by those whom he governed. He seems to have
satisfied his superiors for a while, but it finally caught up to him and he was
deposed by his boss and sent to answer for his conduct before the emperor.
According to one historian, he was sentenced to exile and eventually committed
suicide (Nelson’s Illustrated Bible
Dictionary,
842).
      As to his family life, all we know is that
he was married and that he brought his wife with him to Palestine. If he was
ever a father, I imagine that he might have learned to handle conflict a bit
more productively. I remember how easy it was as a father to draw a hard line
with my boys only to fold under the pressure of a three-year old’s persuasive
power.
      The title of this response is “compromise”.
Compromise can be a good thing, and it would be nice (in my opinion) to see a
little more of it among our political leaders. But, for Pilate, compromise was
more like total capitulation. Whatever happened to my sense of principle?
Whatever happened to my wife’s good advice? Whatever happened to my discernment
of the jealous motives of the people around me? When we totally fold under
pressure we give away a piece of ourselves. We think we are saving ourselves by
caving to the pressure, but we actually lose our Selves. It is suicide by
stages.

We
face these pressures on a regular basis in our lives. Answer the phone for your
boss and tell the customer that your boss is not available. Come to the porn
party with the rest of the team. Go along to get along, even though the company
is not living up to its stated values, the very values that are the reason you
took the position. Don’t come to the company picnic with your same-sex partner;
bring an opposite-sex friend so you can look the part. Laugh at the racist or
off-color joke. Give up confidential information to make yourself look better
or more important.
One
of the important ways we deal with conflict is to be clear about who we are.
When we are clear about that, we can more easily turn threats into opportunity
(Rocking the Boat, Meyerson), more
effectively respond with creativity. But even more important than clarity about
who we are is to know for certain who Jesus is. And this story reveals Jesus,
even more than it exposes Pilate.
      Jesus is the innocent one, guilty of no
evil, who dies for us. We might expect that when his blood is “upon us” that we
bear guilt and live under wrath, but the incredible and surprising gift is that
his blood cleanses us from all sin. Just as his death brought about the release
of Barabbas, so his death effects our freedom.
      Jesus is the king, not simply of the Jews,
but of the entire human race, of the entire earth and universe, of our entire
history and its future. We can trust him, and his word, to lead and guide us.
We can trust him, and his love, to hold and carry us. And we are called to
obey. In conversation with Pilate, he gave no answer. But his very presence
demands a response, one which Pilate, on that day, could not give. Instead, in
order to save himself, he actually lost himself.
  
Notes:
Service Cycle:
The Response of Mockery, The Chief Priests and the Scribes
The Response of Denial, Peter
The Response of Compromise, Pilate
The Response of Indifference, The Soldiers
The Response of Loyalty, The Women
The Response of Faith, The Thieves

The Response of Love, Jesus