The other day, my wife and I, took our four children to the grocery store as an exercise in group punishment. We had just had a full day of, “Mom!, He hit me!.”
“Mom! She hit me!”
“Mom!, I hit myself!”
“Dad! The toilet is plugged!”
“Dad!, the freezer is all melty”
“Dad!, The vacuum isn’t sucking!”
“KidsI, pick up your stuff!”
“Kids!, Why is the freezer door standing open!”
“Kids!, stop fighting!”
Thus, we had had it and decided it was consequence time…so we took them shopping!
“We don’t want to go shopping!”
“I know!...that’s the point…get in the van!”
“Why do we all have to go?”
“We are punishing you?”
“I haven’t decided yet!”
As we loaded the van, astonishingly…the fighting continued!
“He’s sitting on me!”
“She kicked me for no reason!”
“She’s looking at me!”
“She slapped me in the face!”
“Quiet down back there or I will turn this car around!”...oh wait…that defeats the punishment.
We arrive at the store…unload…and take our herd inside.
Upon entering the store, we quickly realize that things are not going according to plan. Children are circling the cart like black flies around a dumpster.
“Can we get Cap’n Crunch?”
“Can we get Oreos?”
“Can we race each other through the store?”
After watching the children fingering shelf items…crushing potato chips…continually pressing the talking cow button…and having our 12 year old riding the bucking bronco…it was time to leave.
As we exited the store, I realized…this wasn’t an exercise in group punishment… it was a masochistic exercise in self torture…punishment served…but did our punishment really fit our crime?...in this case…maybe.
John 18:28-19:16, records the encounter that Jesus has with Pilate. In this incredible series of interactions, Pilate wrestles with what to do with this Jesus. He sees nothing to punish Jesus for…yet, he finds himself having to make the choice, give the Jews what they want?…save Jesus?…save himself?...save his career?
Pilate decides to administer a series of punishments…floggings, mockery, and finally crucifixion. The punishment is administered…yet, the punishment does not fit the crime. Because there was no crime…except by the hardened hearts of his accusers and executioners. I think Pilate may have wanted to choose to spare Jesus AND yet, still somehow salvage his career…but, he need to choose Jesus OR his career. I find that we often try and do the same, thinking, “I can have Jesus AND my life of sin.” However, that is not the way it works. It is Jesus…OR…and then when we choose Jesus…we find that he works to take care of the OR.