I went to the cemetery where a baby, who was conceived in rape, was buried. Baby Leon was carried by a courageous mama, even when the rest of her family denied his worth. He died when he came early, too early. This young mama treasured him, he was the love of her life, and she had no shame regarding him.
Currently, she’s shut in because her health issues threaten her life as the COVID-19 pandemic rages just outside her door. With Easter coming she wanted him visited & remembered with a solar lit cross, so she had one mailed to me and I delivered it for her. On Palm Sunday I kept my promise, went to the cemetery, and pushed the pointed stake in the ground.
As I drove away, I noticed the Stations of the Cross lining the curved path of the narrow street. I remembered how as a child I went to Catholic Church with my family on Good Friday. We walked silently through these stations and I saw the journey of Jesus on the day of his death. I wanted to cover my eyes when I saw the big hammer in the hand of the Roman soldier held high over his head…knowing it would slam down to drive the stakes into his hands and feet. Jesus was arrested and tried as a criminal; to die a death he didn’t deserve. He was crucified naked and humiliated for sins he didn’t commit.
I decided to back up my car and start at the beginning. See it all again on this day that marked the beginning of Holy week. This was the day that the people waved palm branches and yelled, “Hosanna!” but that’s not where the Stations begin the story. They begin on the morning of Good Friday.
The book of Matthew says this.
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!”
In this artist’s rendition, he shows a child holding the basin of water for Pilate. The bible doesn’t tell us if a child, was in fact there, holding the water. I cried at the sight of the innocent child being used by Pilate to aid in his crime. His lack of leadership and passivity no doubt dripped on this child and it made me sick. How many children have their innocence robbed by an adult? This mama I was serving was one of them.
I stared longer at the bronze image of Pilate washing his hands.
“Wash your hands” rang in my head.
And while Pilate is twisting his hands he says to the crowd, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. It is your responsibility.”
How did Jesus stand there and listen to this? It made me angry to read as I sat there in my car with my bible in my lap. What an injustice!! Jesus is about to have His blood spilled for my sins and your sins, not His. He knows He will die a horrible, bloody death and He just stands there. Silent. He listens, doesn’t refute Pilate and humbly accepts the verdict. How did He do it? He should be the one washing His hands and saying, “you’re the sinner not me.”
Instead He stands in obedience to His Father and submission to us. Fulfilling His mission as a man. The God-man.
He. Never. Washes His hands of me or you.
He never throws His hands up and says, “you’re not my responsibility.”
What Jesus does say:
Matthew 27:43 “I am the Son of God.”
Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, never ended up not having a ceremonial washing for His burial. There wasn’t time. On Easter morning Mary went to the tomb with spices to anoint the body of Jesus when she saw the stone had been rolled away. A miracle had happened. What a beautiful picture that God loves us just as we are! In our filthy dirty death clothes He makes us new. God made Jesus clean when He raised Him from the dead. His bright Light was aglow with pure Holiness.
Jesus offers His righteousness to us when we receive the gift of His resurrection. The bible says, we too, can be washed white as snow, not with water, but with His blood sacrifice. That’s the reason we celebrate Easter. He is Risen!
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Let me end with a question. Have you washed your hands, spiritually? Pilate washed with the water of indignation. John the Baptist calls us to water baptism for the forgiveness of sins. Repentance is how we enter into the presence of God with humility to receive His gift of grace. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
If you haven’t asked Jesus to forgive you for your sins, please talk to Him, He’s waiting for you. Do what I did at the cemetery for my friend. Drive a stake into the ground so the light of Jesus can shine through the cross and light up your heart for Him by faith in His love. Let this Easter season change you. Engage in the hope God offers you, don’t sit back like Pilate but choose to wash your hands with the love and grace of Jesus. Be washed in the mercy of Jesus and He will make you new.
“He (Jesus) who was seated on the throne said, I am making everything new.”
Easter Blessings 2020