Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pilate's Surprise

Mark 15:44

44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him if Jesus had already died.

The "he" that the Bible is referring to here is Jesus of course.

I never noticed the now glaring word in this passage before. Pilate was surprised. Surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead. Not only was he surprised but he also confirmed the surprise with the centurion and the surprise proved true - Jesus had already died.

When I read this verse at first it didn't speak to me but when I read it a second time the word "surprised" spoke so loud to me that I couldn't ignore it any longer. So I had to think about it for a minute. I'm glad I did.

What I think Pilate was surprised about was not that Jesus had indeed already passed away but that maybe Pilate was secretly hoping that Jesus would save himself. I think maybe Pilate had a lot of guilt for not doing more to keep Jesus from going to the cross and deep down inside he was holding out for just a little hope that maybe Jesus would somehow save himself and Pilate's decision would not be so bad.

I don't think the surprise was in Jesus dying but that maybe Pilate's hope wasn't going to come true. Jesus would not be saving himself from what God had already planned. Pilate would have to deal with his decision.

The reason I think this is because I think of all the times when something happened to me that I would hold out hope that something would happen and change the circumstances that I was in. Haven't you? Have you been in a situation where you "held your breathe" for something to come along and change a bad decision you just made?

I think Pilate was surprised to know that what he did would not be changed. Maybe a secret wish to change a mistake would not come true and a "second chance" would not be given. Surprised Pilate received the news of Jesus' death.

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