Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "In The Cross Of Christ I Glory"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 23:12 – That day Herod and Pilate became friends — before this they had been enemies. (NIV 2011)
This Scripture caught my attention recently. Herod and Pilate became friends! How extraordinary that Luke recorded this part of Jesus' trial. Two men who appeared to be enemies became friends to accomplish their goal: getting rid of Someone they perceived as a troublemaker.
Scholars think that they may have been enemies because of Pilate's slaying of the Galileans in Jerusalem, mentioned in Luke 13:1-2. As prefect of the Roman province of Judea, which included Galilee, Pilate dealt with matters for the whole region. Herod Antipas was the Roman-appointed ruler of Galilee and son of the much-hated Herod the Great. He could rule only on issues in Galilee where most of Jesus' ministry took place and was not consulted when Pilate killed the Galileans.
Sending Jesus to Herod was good politics on Pilate's part. And it worked; their common purpose drew them together.
In startling contrast to their evil friendship, Jesus was soon to perform the supreme act of friendship: laying down His life for us, His friends.
1 John 3:16 – This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (NIV 2011)
John 15:13-14 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one's life for one's friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. (NIV 2011)
He willingly and knowingly went through humiliation and torture to pay the price of death for our sins so that we might have a glorious eternal life with Him.
What does that mean for us, His friends? We are to "lay down our lives" — our desires, our emotions, our resources, our time — to serve others.
1 John 3:17 – If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? (NIV 2011)
What might that mean in our daily lives?
- Taking food to a neighbour who is ill, even though that neighbour has broadcast unkind words about me.
- Giving up my time for another's needs, physical or emotional.
- Sharing my money to provide food, clothes, or shelter for someone, perhaps in Ukraine.
- Listening with my whole heart and mind as a friend or acquaintance pours out her troubles.
Those are just a few examples. I'm sure that you can think of many more.
As we remember Jesus' sacrifice on Good Friday and celebrate His resurrection, let's remember the price that He paid for us. If He could do so much for us, how can we refuse to respond to the needs of others? Pray with me:
Prayer: Father, I want to be Your friend, but sometimes it's hard to take my time or resources to reach out to others. Help me to be willing to lay down my life for others as You laid down Your life for me. Amen.