Whose responsibility?

“When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the 30 pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders.  I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.”

            “What is that to us? they replied.  “That is your responsibility.” Matt. 27:3-4

            “When Pilate saw that he was getting no where, but instead that an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in the front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’” Matt. 27:24

What an interesting parallel between Judas and Pilate… responsibility

Judas had followed Jesus closely for three years.  Judas had sat under his teaching, watched him heal blind, and broke bread with him.  Judas got it all wrong… the betrayer.

Pilate had only one brief interview with Jesus.  One cryptic conversation probably left him with more questions than answers.  Pilate ducked out and missed it… the dodger.

 

When the innocence of Christ’s blood rises up before him, Judas only sees his responsibility.  Actually, he sees his culpability, his blame.  It grips him around the throat and pulls him under.  He sees no option other than to take his own life.  He doesn’t see Jesus’ offer for a new one.  Responsibility blinds him to it.

When Christ’s innocence stares Pilate in the face, he lets his desire for peaceful public relations get the better of him.  He abdicates his responsibility and kowtows to the crowd. In washing his hands of the innocent man’s blood, he only implicates himself further.  The irony jumps out and grabs him – for only in washing himself in Jesus’s blood would Pilate find the truth he is seeking.  But Pilate misses Jesus’ offer of new life.  Responsibility disguises it.

 

Two men.  Two encounters with responsibility.  One overcome with the weight of it.  One skirting the glory of it.  Both blinded.  Both guilty.  Both forever tied to the story of Christ’s death that brings life.

Some might argue that it’s unfair to hold either Judas or Pilate responsible for Jesus’ death.  After all, it was God’s plan.  Jesus said so.  This is why he came – to die.  Judas and Pilate were simply pawns in God’s chess match with the evil one.  How can they be responsible?

True. God’s intention was to have Jesus Christ die on man’s behalf.  But even truer than that is the fact that my sin put Jesus on that cross just as much as Judas’ betrayal or Pilate’s poor judgment.  My sin… and your sin… drove Jesus to the cross.  We are all responsible for the innocent man’s blood.

But our confrontation with our guilt doesn’t have to end in despair or disillusion like it did for Judas and Pilate.  Not if we know who to bring it to.

See, Judas sought the religious leaders for absolution.  All he got was his blood money thrown back in his face.  Pilate sought the crowd for answers. All he got was “Crucify him!” slammed in his face.

But you and me?

With all our botched responsibilities, we can come to Jesus and get nail-pierced hands cupping our face, and love-laden eyes washing over our face, and grace-filled words warming our face saying, “My child, your sins are my responsibility.  You are forgiven.  Now, come, follow me.”

 

What a wonderful Savior.

 

butterfly photo credit: © Jilllang | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

Too little?

When prophet Nathan confronts David about his sin with Bathsheba, he is swift and to the point.

A wealthy man had many sheep and cattle.  A poor man had one sole ewe that he cherished.  But, when the rich man wanted meat to consume with a guest, he took the poor man’s ewe, slaughtered it, and fed his greedy soul.

David sees the blatant injustice and responds with righteous indignation.  So, the “You-are-the-man!” flows strong and forceful, like an arrow released from a bow, slicing through the silence, claiming its mark.  David has one lowly response.

“I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Samuel 12:13)

The consequence of David’s sin?  Death.  Death always follows sin.  Always a loss.  Lost time, lost innocence, lost relationship, lost life, lost purity.  Sin always leads to a place where we spend something, we loose something we can never get back.  David’s sin cost

him more than the life of his first child with Bathsheba.  The consequences rippled through his family for generations.

What’s at the heart of David’s sin?  According to the Lord’s rebuke, I think verse 8 hints:

“… And if all this had been too little, I would have given you more.”  (2 Samuel 12:8)

Greed.  David’s desire for more than was his.  His entitled view of himself, the taking of whatever his eyes landed upon, led him to sin.  When God lists out for David all that He’s done for him, and then says more would have come, “You only needed to ask,” the plea reveals how David’s sin wounded God’s heart.  This is why David’s sin was “against the Lord.”

David looked at all of God’s goodness and said, “It’s not enough.  I want that one, too.”

 

I don’t usually see my own sin this clearly.  I don’t see it as choosing something other than the grace of God.

But, David’s sin shows me that when my heart wanders toward discontentment, I am really saying, “Lord, you haven’t provided enough.”

When I enter an argument with my boys over how they spend their time, I am really saying, “Lord, you don’t control enough.”

When I compare myself and envy another woman her influence or her wardrobe, I am really saying, “Lord, you haven’t given me enough.”

Ouch. That hits close to home.  Truly, my selfishness drives me to a warped perspective that God is holding out on me.  It’s a lie.

Oh God, give me a heart that is thankful;  cultivate my heart in the garden of all that you have given.  It’s good.  You are good.  Your goodness toward me never, no never ends.  

So this is why entrance into His courts demands thanks.  Thanks debunks the lie.  Thanks directs my focus to the goodness of God.  That’s where I want my heart to live…

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving,

and His courts with praise.

Give thanks to Him and bless his name.

 For the Lord is good and His love endures forever;

His faithfulness continues through all generations.”

(Ps. 100:4-5)

photo credits: stockfreeimages.com