I like getting my own way of at all possible. In that, I’m probably no different to the majority of the population. We can all be single-minded in our pursuit of what we desire, and the fact is that when I get my way, it may be that someone else’s hopes are simultaneously dashed. As I triumph, there is potentially another who weeps.
That is why, in pursuing our aims in life, we need to be very careful about the impact realising these can have on others. We need to be sure that slavish attachment to our own opinions are not the means of doing great harm.
I think, for example, of the people who wish to remove the Bible and Christian teaching from school life. They say they wish children to have a choice, and not to be brainwashed . . . but see the means of achieving this as being to excise all information about God from their young people’s experience.
They know this is illogical, but they want it anyway. People who are doggedly pursuing a goal will justify it to themselves any way they can.
When Jesus was brought before Pilate, the charges against him were found to be without foundation. Nevertheless, the crowd bayed for his life to be forfeit. They did not want to hear Pilate’s logic; they wanted Jesus dead.
And what did Pilate do? ‘He delivered Jesus over to their will’.
Look at the devastation our will can wreak. In that moment, they insisted on getting what they wanted – and what they wanted was to see God himself hanging on a cross.
Of course, they chose to free Barabbas instead. I wonder if he witnessed the crucifixion of Christ, and if he marvelled at the innocent man dying in his place.
And I wonder what the people who had demanded this did next, I wonder what they thought. Luke’s narrative only describes their collective behaviour. Every mob, though, is made up of individual souls, and each one is capable of being reached by Christ. Did any leave the scene broken by what they had done? Were there contrite hearts in that assembly?
We saw in the previous chapter how Jesus freely surrendered his own will to God. Where would the human race be if he had insisted on his own way, so that the cup of death would pass from him?
If Jesus who is perfect had been so consumed with being right that he had insisted on his own way in everything, we would be a hopeless race indeed.
But Jesus, in his perfection, submitted to the Father’s will. God’s will is that none shall perish.
What is so good about your own way when it opposes eternal life?