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Archive for April 13th, 2022

I heard someone share on the radio favorite Easter memories and found myself driving and thinking about my own. When we think of favorites, immediately my mind goes to my childhood and the childhoods of our kids. The egg hunts, the new outfits, singing joyfully, in a celebratory way in church, the sun pouring in on Easter Sunday (shouldn’t it always be dark and ominous on Good Friday, while bright and sunny on Easter Sunday?).

A friend at work mentioned how she loves when, on Easter Sunday, people greet each other with “He is risen” to which we respond, “He is risen indeed.” It is such a joyful, bonding communication between believers.

Then I found my thoughts drift to the events of Easter. Palm Sunday’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the last supper of Jesus and his disciples, the betrayal of Judas, Jesus in Gethsemane, his arrest, crucifixion, the earthquake, his rising.

I thought about each piece of the drama that enfolded from Jerusalem to the tomb and this took my mind to one part of the story.

It is found in Matthew 27:11-26. It is the telling of Jesus before Pilate and the crowd.

The entire drama that enfolded with Pilate comes down to his one act, followed by explanation (v. 24):

He took water and washed his hands in front of the many people. He said, “I am not guilty of the blood of this good Man. This is your own doing.” 

I did a bit of searching for songs that depict or refer to this act. There are quite a few, but they are not ones by artists I would have expected … Rolling Stones, Megadeath, Kendrick Lamar, Pearl Jam.

My own memory could only grasp the lyrics from the Rich Mullins song, Creed (suffered under Pontius Pilate).

Yet, these words and this action of Pilate … the leader who was not a Jew, who had no relationship with this donkey-riding man, but whose wife warned him to have nothing to do with Jesus, for she had suffered such a dreadful, sleepless night …

they could have been spoken by any of us.

For, when things get tough, when other believers do despicable acts, say despicable things, we too wash our hands of this man, his church, his word, his way.

I think Pilate’s words remind me, every Easter, of how they could be my words, my attempt to wash away my participation in his death.

But, I can’t.

For his death … it was for me, for my hand washing … for we cannot wash away sin with water.

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