"The evil of inertia"

The Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, supplies a stark reminder of how evil humans can be. I was stunned by the hall of shoes that had once been worn by doomed Jews; the story of the methodical elimination of innocents in Krakow's Jewish Ghetto; and the grisly death of prisoners in Hitler's concentration camps.

But most chilling was my recognition that the Nazi officers looked normal. Worse, they looked like me. My ancestors were Swiss-German Mennonites, so I resembled the officers in the pictures. They could have been my Sunday school teachers! How did such normal people get caught up in such a great evil? Somehow, they simply went along with it.

That's usually how great evils are committed. Pilate wasn't looking for trouble when Jesus was thrust upon him (Mark 15:1). He didn't realize who He was, and he didn't much care. He just wanted the problem to go away.

Pilate made a half-hearted attempt to do the right thing. He invited Jesus to refute the charges and asked the crowd if he should release Jesus as a Passover favor. But the Jewish leaders had stoked the crowd into a mob, and they demanded that Barabbas be freed and Jesus be crucified. Pilate tried one last time, asking the crowd, "What crime has He committed?" When "the mob roared even louder, ‘Crucify Him!' " (v.14), Pilate washed his hands of the mess (Matthew 27:24).

It was easier to give in to the cries of the moment than to seek justice for Jesus. Pilate simply went along, and in so doing he crucified the Son of God.

Today Jesus is represented by the poor and needy who are thrust upon us (Matthew 25:31-46). Will we give them a hand or will we shrug and go along? , Mike Wittmer, Our Daily Journey

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