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Posts Tagged ‘Pilate’

What To Do In The Midst Of Tragedy

October 2, 2013 8 comments

When we look at the life of Job, there are two things that we would probably all agree on.

First, we would most likely agree that his life included some tragedy.  He lost his family.  He lost his fortune.  His wife told him to curse God and die.  Tragic.

However, it doesn’t end there.

Upon hearing news of the tragedies overtaking his life, Job didn’t panic.  He shaved his head.  He tore his robe.  He fell on the ground.  Then Job did an amazing thing.

He worshiped.

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What was it that led Job to turn his back on being distraught at the misfortune engulfing his life, instead turning his eyes on the Lord?

He must have spent time with the Lord.

He must have had extreme confidence in the God he worshiped.

How unique that is from our world.  How amazing it was in the world Job lived in.

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In the year King Uzziah died, Isaiah went to church.  It seems that the King had impacted Isaiah’s life.  Perhaps they were relatives of some sort.  Maybe Isaiah served Uzziah in some capacity.

He didn’t fall on his face and worship like Isaiah did, but he knew enough to go to church.  It’s not certain that Isaiah really knew who God was when he entered the temple.  He did, though, when he left.  He had beheld a vision.  He saw the Lord and his life was changed.  Why?

Because by the time he exited the temple, he had worshiped.

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What happened when the tower of Siloam fell on eighteen “innocent” Jews during Jesus’ day?  They questioned why.

What about when Pilate slaughtered a group of Galileans and mingled their blood with the sacrifice?  They wondered why it happened.

This is a common response to tragedy.  It may be THE common response to tragedy.  Jesus’ answer was that everyone should worry about their own relationship with God rather than wonder why this befell them.

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We can respond any number of ways to tragedy in our lives.  One is to question God as to why it happened.

The other is to worship Him.

Which one will you do?

Have you ever worshiped in the midst of tragedy?

Authority At Jesus’ Trial

As we move into chapter 19, we see authority in three ways as Jesus’ trial winds down.  We see authority unwanted, authority’s source and authority misplaced.

Authority Unwanted

Pilate has done everything he can do to avoid crucifying Jesus.  He had offered to release Jesus, but the Jews insisted on Barabbas.  Imagine the American people wanting a terrorist released over a preacher.  That helps us put it in perspective.

Pilate orders Jesus to be scourged some more.  The soldiers put a crown of thorns on Him.  They make Christ into a caricature of what an earthly king would be like.  Pilate hopes that showing the Jews that Jesus is no threat will satisfy them.  However, they are thirsty for death.

Pilate finally tells them to crucify Jesus themselves.  The Jews don’t want the blood on their hands.  They want their laws to lead to death, but they don’t want to be the executioners.  No one, seemingly, wants to pronounce the order to take Jesus to the cross.

Authority’s Source

After the Jews tell Pilate that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, Pilate returns to question Him some more.  He asks Jesus where He is from.  Is there some fear in Pilate?  Is there a hint of wondering if Jesus might be who the Jews say He claims to be?  After all, Christ has not reacted the way a normal person would who is facing death.

Jesus gives what seems like  one of His typical answers.  He tells Pilate that he “has no authority unless it has been given to him from above.”

This must have made an impact on Pilate because he once again attempts to find a way to release Jesus.  Pilate wants no part in the death of Jesus.

Authority Misplaced

The Jews tell Pilate that he is no friend of Caesar if he releases Jesus.  He brings Jesus out to them and presents Christ to the Jews saying, “Behold your King.”

By now the reaction the Jews have should not be unexpected, but it is shocking to actually see it.  They react by saying that they have no king other than Caesar.  Where once they claimed God as their only King and then would only have accepted a king from the line of David, now they are selling their souls to keep the status quo and their power.  They accept authority over themselves to keep the authority they have over the Jewish people.

Who has authority over your life?

3 Concerns Over Jesus

July 22, 2012 2 comments

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?