Apr19FriApril 19, 2019
It’s Good Friday, a day we pause to reflect on that pivotal moment in history when God’s wrath met with his great mercy through the suffering of Christ on the cross. It’s a day of great sadness but also of great rejoicing. We need to see both sides to fully appreciate what Christ’s death means to us: we see our sin that caused God’s wrath, and we see God’s love that compelled him to send his only Son to die on our behalf.
In Matthew 27, there is a small verse tucked into the chapter that is easy to overlook. It is a warning to Pilate from his wife, and it says, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream” (verse 19, ESV). At this point, the scene is set as the judge, Pilate, sits down on his bench to begin the proceedings against Jesus. Throughout his term, he has been unjust and evil in his ruling of the Jews. In fact, at this very time, he is facing serious accusations that he knows could jeopardize his current position. So, while Pilate knows Jesus is innocent, he is afraid and feels trapped into doing what the crowd wants. He must tread lightly and feels great pressure to do as they demand.
Yet in that small lull between when he sits down and when proceedings start, this startling message comes from his wife warning him to have nothing to do with “that righteous man.” Tradition suggests that Pilate’s wife was a Christian, and it is believed that there was great affection between the couple. In his providence, God sends a warning to Pilate through his wife, knowing that the suffering she endured would give him reason to pause. Yet in that moment, Pilate decides to rule against what he knows to be true about Christ and his love for his wife. His interest in preserving self is more important to him. He turns away from Christ.
On Good Friday, we remember that Christ bore the sin of the world on the cross (1 Peter 2:24). And we can’t help but acknowledge that our sin was part of his suffering. He calls us to see our sin and to repent. And often, just like he did for Pilate, he sends us warnings that we are about to walk into sin. We too have a choice: continue in our self-interest or surrender to Christ.
Today, let’s reflect on what our Saviour has done on our behalf on the cross. Let’s consider areas where he may be warning us right now. And as we do, let’s not forget the amazing mercy that he offers us precisely because he took our sins to the cross.
For further reading, you can read the transcript of a sermon by C.H. Spurgeon here.