Perspective is everything. Where one person sees a half-empty glass of water, another sees it half-full. When I think of the crucifixion of Christ, I tend to think of it in one way predominantly (i.e., as if I was standing nearby watching it all transpire). But, there were many people involved in Jesus' crucifixion; there were many different perspectives or viewpoints. In this series, I would like for us to consider their perspectives and also make some applications for us today.
Let's begin with the first character who helped make the cross a reality:
1. JUDAS ISCARIOT: The Perspective of Silver
Matthew 26:14-16 reads - "Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, 'What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?' And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him."
Can you imagine working closely with someone for over three years as Judas and the other apostles did with Jesus? They ate together, traveled together, and experienced life together as His followers. Judas heard Jesus' great teachings and witnessed His amazing miracles, but he still betrayed Him! Judas cared more about money than he did doing what was right. That was his perspective on things.
Sadly, there are many people like that today. They, like Judas, have the perspective of silver. Money is more important to them than Jesus. Their financial goals are more important to them than serving the Lord with their utmost. Their desire for more things drives them away from righteousness and the church. They will betray our Lord for mammon if the opportunity presents itself (cf. Matt. 6:24). What about you, friends?
2. PONTIUS PILATE: The Perspective of Self-Preservation
Luke 23:4 records - "So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, 'I find no fault in this Man.'" Pilate had spoken to Jesus quite a bit. He knew Jesus was innocent and that He had been turned over to him because of envy. Yet Pilate first allowed Jesus to be scourged; it seemed to be his effort at appeasing the crowd without having to kill Jesus. This was wrong, and it didn't work. Jesus was beaten to a bloody pulp. He didn't deserve the beating any more than the cross they would soon hang Him on since He was innocent. The crowd kept clamoring for Jesus to be crucified and Pilate eventually permitted it and gave in to them. But why? Because Pilate was a coward!
We learn from John 19:12 - "From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, 'If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.'" This gives us insight into Pilate's perspective (i.e., the perspective of self-preservation). Pilate knew what was right but had Jesus killed to protect himself and his job. Sadly, there are many Pilates today in our world. They'll do what is right if it doesn't cost them anything. But, if they will have to suffer harm or embarrassment or even a little discomfort, don't count on them to do the right thing for someone else. Ultimately, they really only care about themselves. What about you, friends?
We will continue this series in our next lesson.