And Pilate again said to them, "Then what shall I do with the Man you call the King of the Jews?" And they cried out again, "Crucify Him." And Pilate said to them, "Why? What evil has He done?" But they shouted all the more, "Crucify Him." So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified. (Mark 15:12-15)
It has to be one of the scariest sounds out there—to realize that all those people shouting and screaming are angry at you, you personally—that they want to hurt you—that they won't be satisfied until you're dead. That was what Jesus was facing. There He was, standing with Pilate in front of the mob, looking down at screaming faces and waving fists—people He didn't even know, humanly speaking, people He had never had any personal contact with. But they wanted Him dead—and by the worst possible method they could dream up.
If we're lucky, that kind of blind violence is something we meet only in our dreams. But not all of us are lucky. Some of us meet that violence in the street, when we cross the path of someone who is looking for a victim. Some of us meet it at school or in the workplace, on account of our race, ethnic group, looks, religion, or some other characteristic we can't help. Some of us meet it at home, at the hands of an abusive spouse or parent or child. Wherever it comes from, it is terrifying.
This nightmare, also, is what Jesus came to put an end to. If you have suffered this, God knows and cares. God has not abandoned you. God Himself has gone through it—all the way to the bitter end at the cross. And Jesus has risen from the dead, all to give you that same everlasting life—safe in His love and mercy.
THE PRAYER: Lord, when I am afraid and in danger, help me. Amen.
* If you are willing, share a time when you felt very much afraid and in danger.
* Why do you think it hurts so much when someone hates you?
* Why do you think God allowed Jesus to experience this?
Lenten Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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