3 Concerns Over Jesus
Today we finish up John 18 with Jesus facing Pilate. The Jews have handed Christ over for Pilate to decide what to do with Him. There are 3 concerns that take precedence in everyone’s mind over Christ Himself in this sequence of events.
Concern With Religion
The Jews come to the Praetorium, but will not enter Pilate’s house due to the fact that they want to be defiled and be unable to eat the Passover.
This is interesting because there is nothing in the Law that would prevent them from entering a Gentiles house. The defilement that they would face is an addition to the Law that they have made. It is a religious addition.
This seems to be a problem that still rises in our churches today. We have people who want to add things to what it means to be a follower of Christ. It may be that everyone signs a church covenant. It may be it is decided that certain behaviors will cause exclusion while another behavior is accepted. It may be a type of music. Whatever it is, we can become too focused on our “religion” than the One our faith is about.
Concern With Kingdom
Pilate asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews. Jesus did not want to give a straight answer. This is not because Jesus had something to hide. In fact, He had nothing to hide at all. He stated later that He had come into the world to “testify to the truth.”
However, Jesus is trying to avoid speaking on the same terms as Pilate. He knows that there is too much misunderstanding over the term King in reference to Himself. He tells Pilate that if His “kingdom were of this world, My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.”
The difference between Jesus and the Jews and Pilate is that the kingdoms they are focused on are completely different. Jesus is focused on a kingdom of rule and of the heart. Pilate and the Jews are concerned with a kingdom of power.
Too often, we too are concerned with the wrong kingdom. Too many of us who follow Christ try to combine God’s kingdom with the earthly kingdom we occupy here today. We try to achieve God’s kingdom with earthly kingdom practices.
Concern With Others
What Pilate is ultimately trying to do is appease all sides. He knows that there are no legitimate charges against Jesus. He knows the entire thing is a kangaroo court. He wants to wash his hands of the entire thing, which he eventually does, and move on.
Pilate questions Jesus hoping to make the Jews happy. He attempts to release Jesus, thinking that will be enough.
The problem is that pleasing the crowd is never enough. You simply can’t do it.
Pilate gives the crowd a choice: Jesus or Barabbas. The irony of this is that Barabbas’ name means “Son of Abba.” So, you have the true Son of the Father and one named son of the father. The crowd has their choice. As they will when it comes to the truth, the crowed makes the wrong choice. Barabbas is released and Jesus is given the death penalty.
When we boil it down, there was a choice in three areas in this story: religion, politics and popularity. This was going on 2,000 years ago and it’s going on today in our lives.
Have you ever found yourself concerned with the wrong side of religion, politics and popularity? What did you do?