(Photo: YWAM Harpenden Archive)

Invitation To Surrender

I am fascinated by the biblical passage narrating Jesus about to be judged by Pontius Pilate. Meanwhile, a crowd cries out for the release of the criminal Barabbas. Yet, I had never noticed the contrast between the behavior of Jesus and that of the crowd that unfolds in the plot.

Christ, the King of Kings, before his judgment, remains silent. Still, serene. The crowd, on the other side, agitated, cries out for a sentence against the King of the Jews. And when questioned, it cries out even louder.

The righteousness of men is thrown out the window so that the will of the people is done. All they want is to be heard, to have their will answered. Many do not even know why they are shouting. They are being maneuvered by the religious elite of the time.

But Jesus does not let himself be stirred. He remains silent, peaceful. His will had already been given to the Father, to whom it actually belonged, back in the Garden of Gethsemane. It was also in a garden, the Eden, where man for the first time took his will in his own hands. It was there that the first cry was heard: “My will be done, not yours, God!”.

The same cry now echoes from the crowd asking for the freedom of a murderer. It does not matter whether this is unfair or indecent. “It matters that what I want is done”. It doesn’t matter if an innocent person is silenced. “It matters that I be heard”. It does not matter if it will lack for the other. “It matters that my desire is satisfied”.

The shout of the crowd stirred by the Pharisees reminds me of the cry of my agitated soul, manoeuvred by my desires. “I want it! I need it! I feel it!”, then I scream.

But if we stop for a moment and silence our voice, we will finally hear that the silence of Jesus speaks louder than any of our emotions. It is an invitation he makes to us. He invites us back to the garden, away from the crowd, alone with the Father.

Invitation to surrender our desires and wills. Where the fists of protest that once struck the air, are now close to the knees, down to the ground. And the deafening cry becomes a whisper, a prayer: “Abba Father, […] not what I will, but what You will”.

Written by Esaú Moraes.