Read John 19
Focus on verse 15
Our actions are typically controlled by either our will or our emotions. When we act according to our will, we tend to think through the consequences of what we are doing and behave in a civil manner. When we allow our emotions to control our actions, we often do and say things we later come to regret.
I have found it helpful to envision this process as a train in which our will is the locomotive, and our emotions are the caboose. As long as we mover the train forward, with the will leading the emotions, we can travel at a reasonable rate of speed and remain on the tracks and arrive at our scheduled destination on time. When we run the train in reverse, with the caboose in the lead it can work for a while, if we are not going too fast, but it gets quite risky to run a long train in reverse at cruising speed. It is almost guaranteed that there will be a wreck at some point. The same is true of us when we allow our emotions to direct our actions.
In today’s reading the Jewish leaders seem to have allowed their emotions to rule their actions when they begin to shout, “We have no king but Caesar!” The Jews had no great love for Caesar or the Roman occupation. They would never have shouted this if they had actually thought through what they were saying, however, in this case, they were so emotionally charged up and fixated on doing away with Jesus they lost sight of everything else.
This is what happens when we allow our emotions to rule the day. We lose sight of everything except that which we are emotionally charged up about. In such a state, we say things and do things that we would likely never consider doing if we were thinking it through and allowing our will to dictate our actions. It is a particularly dangerous thing when a large group of people is whipped into an emotional frenzy, as was the case in Jesus trial before Pilate. Pilate believed Jesus was innocent; he tried several times to reason with the crowd, but in the end he turned him over to be crucified for fear of the Jews causing a riot if he did not. This was not justice – it was a mob lynching. Civilized mature people do not behave this way. Mature civilized people learn how to control their emotions even when they are strongly affected.