Mark Chapter 15 tells the brief story of Jesus’ crucifixion. It begins and ends with people going before Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, who was forced to take responsibility for Jesus’ sentencing.
Early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation; and binding Jesus, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate. Mark 15:1 NASB
First, the chief priests, elders, teachers of the law, and the whole Council bound Jesus and handed him over to Pilate. This mob decided they had their story straight. They wanted Jesus killed. But lacking evidence and the authority to kill Jesus, they would lie and turn him over to their authorities, the Romans, to ask that he be killed. Just about everyone in a position of authority or every responsible civic leader in Jerusalem at the time was involved in this action.
Do you catch yourself trying to give “government” more authority than is necessary? What authority have I given away? Where have I become passive and resigned to the situation? Where do I expect government to handle things, especially wrong things? The Jews didn’t want the Romans in authority over them, but in this case, they would make an exception. They would use the Roman government to do their dirty work.
At the end of the chapter, we see an interesting contrast:
Joseph of Arimathea came, a prominent member of the Council, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God; and he gathered up courage and went in before Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. Mark 15:43 NASB (emphasis mine)
One man, Joseph of Arimathea, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body so he could bury him. Joseph was probably there in Mark 15:1. But he lost his argument, or, for some reason, he wasn’t successful. Maybe he didn’t even speak up. But now, he does the next right thing. He takes responsibility and boldly, courageously, takes action.
After this recent U.S. election, I wonder if we have given government more authority than required. Have we given away our responsibility and become passive about the problems we see? I wonder where I’m failing to listen to God, and choose instead to use government.
I can draw one line where I am responsible. Let’s take responsibility to do the next right thing. As I remember this contrast, I will face authorities and ask to be given responsibility rather than asking to give it away.
What about you?
When was the last time you asked God to show you where you needed to step up? Are you praying for the people around you? Has he told you to go courageously before the authorities? Ask God to give you the next right idea and go do it.