Have you ever seen someone stand in the midst of great trial and persecution? Watching someone stand, much like those written about in Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, is an encouragement when we find ourselves in challenging circumstances.
The same can’t be said when someone backs down from the challenge, or flip-flops their views when it is convenient for them. All you have to do is look at politicians today and you will see plenty of this.
In Mark chapter 15, we see a dichotomy (contrast) in leadership between Jesus and Pilate. Pilate knew that Jesus didn’t deserve death, and he knew that the religious leaders were acting out of “selfish interests.” In the end, Pilate gave in to the crowd. He had all of Rome behind him, yet he didn’t have the courage to do what he knew was right.
And then there was Jesus.
Jesus was wrongly accused. He had all of Heaven behind Him. He had the ability to call down a legion of angels to save Himself from the cross, or He could have rained down fire from Heaven.
But Jesus knew His purpose.
Last week we spoke about being driven by purpose. God allowed Jesus to be brought before Pilate because He knew Pilate was weak and wouldn’t stand for what was right. But Jesus stood! Jesus stood up and did what needed to be done, enduring great pain that we might be reconciled to Him.
He didn’t allow Himself to be nailed to the cross for Himself, but for us. He wanted us to be able to be saved! Nothing was going to deter Him, not even proving Himself to those who were mocking Him (the soldiers in Mk 15:16-20, and just about everyone else who was there in verses 21-32).
Do you know what you would be willing to stand for no matter what came up against you? And do you understand it enough to continue standing even when things get really hard?