Hand-Washing: Day 31 of Lent
19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that innocent man, for today I have suffered a great deal because of a dream about him.” 24 So when Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took some water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” 25 Then the people as a whole answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”
Matthew 27:19, 24-25
These incidents are recorded by Matthew only.
You stand facing Pilate, Lord, and it’s clear who’s in chains!
You stand calm, controlled, and free.
And Pilate is starting to panic, isn’t he?
He’s tried every escape –
– Herod, belligerent refusal, Barabbas, ridicule -but the decision has to be his.
Whatever his wife said doesn’t help at all -the final decision is his.
He can hear what they are saying and the open threats… and he dares not offend them again.
He’s made too many mistakes already; and his career is on the line.
He knows that you are innocent
-but he’s too weak or cynical or afraid.
And that hand-washing is pathetic:
we can’t avoid responsibility like that,
Help us accept responsibility for the harm we’ve done.
Forgive us and help us try to make amends.
And give us the freedom within ourselves to stand for truth and justice, even when it’s costly.