Thursday, April 09, 2009



And Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest.
12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
15 Now at that feast the governor was wont to release unto the people a prisoner, whom they would.
16 And they had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
17 Therefore when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?
18 For he knew that for envy they had delivered him.
19 When he was set down on the judgment seat, his wife sent unto him, saying, Have thou nothing to do with that just man: for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him.
20 But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
21 The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas.
22 Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? They all say unto him, Let him be crucified.
23 And the governor said, Why, what evil hath he done? But they cried out the more, saying, Let him be crucified.
24 When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.
25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

26 Then released he Barabbas unto them: and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.
28 And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

The Roman Prefecture in Judea was not simply a hostile occupation. After the baneful era of Jewish client kings (Herod the Great, Herod Archelaus), marked by oppression and persecution, Roman rule more sane and orderly Pontius Pilate was appointed by Rome as a governor. He was of Equestrian rank (lower Roman nobility), as opposed to the higher Senatorial rank which suggests he probably had a military career before his appointment as Prefect / Governor of Judea. He possibly came from Seville, Married Claudia (the youngest daughter of Julia, the daughter of Caesar Augustus) with the approval of Caesar Tiberius, and was then immediately sent to Judea. The fifth of 14 Roman Prefects in Judea, Pilate’s 10 year rule, and his predecessor's (Valerius Gratus) 11 year rule, stand out in longevity among the all the other Prefects. Pilate’s longevity caution(s) against prejudging Pilate as irresponsible or extremely controversial. Interestingly the Ethiopian homilies 5th and 6th centuries speak of Pilate’s conversion and martyrdom and Pilate became a baptismal name among the Copts. Pilate is today a saint in the Coptic church

Brown: historical record suggests that Pilate was an unsubtle man, without native diplomatic skills, sometimes out of touch with Jewish sensitivities. He was not however a stubborn tyrant to the point of savagery, although he sometimes underestimated the brutality of his own soldiers, so that the violence of repressive actions during his prefecture may not have reflected his own wishes.

Pilate uttered the one question that challenges every person born in these last 20 centuries.

What will I do with Jesus? A songwriter put it this way:

Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall, Friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all;
Hearken! what meaneth the sudden call? What will you do with Jesus?

What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be;
Some day your heart will be asking, “What will He do with me?”

Jesus is standing on trial still, You can be false to Him if you will,
You can be faithful through good or ill: What will you do with Jesus?

Will you evade him as Pilate tried? Or will you choose Him, whate’er betide?
Vainly you struggle from Him to hide: What will you do with Jesus?

1. What shall do with His words? Never a man spake like that man. Either His words are blasphemous in the highest and darkest degree or else He is veritably the Son of God and the Savior of the world.

He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me."

He said, "I and My Father are one."

He said, "Except a man eat My flesh and drink My blood, he has no life in him.

"But if a man eat My flesh and drink My blood, he shall have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day."

Never a man spake like that man. He said, "I am the resurrection, and the life, he that liveth and believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live,

"And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die."

What shall we do with His words? Never a man spake as that man spake.

2. What shall we do with His works and His life?

His marvellous miracles were authentications of His deity and His saviorhood.

For example, when they brought unto Him the sick and the palsy, He said to the man, "Thy sins be forgiven thee." And those who heard murmured saying, "This man blasphemes. For who can forgive sins

3. What Shall I Do With His Way?

Some people say that Christianity is all about living by the principles of Jesus. It is but there is something much much more important than His principles. It is the Way He provided for you to be right with God.

Jesus said John 14: 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. 1 Tim 2:3-6 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; 6 Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. When I survey the wondrous cross…….

What Will You Do With Jesus? There were five evasions of Pilate

1. Shall I Palm the decision off to someone else? Luke 23:4 Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. 5 And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. 6 When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean. 7 And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time. 8 And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him. “If Herod condemns Him, I condemn Him. If Herod accepts Him, trusts Him, believes in Him, I'll accept Him and trust Him. Whatever Herod does, I'll do." "I'll do what somebody else does. I'll do what my wife does" or "I'll do what my husband does" or "I'll do what my children do" or "I'll do what my boss does" or "I'll do what my friends do." I was born for myself. Nobody could be born for me. I live for myself. I breathe for myself. No one can breathe for me. Someday I shall die for myself. No one can die for me. Someday I shall stand at the great judgment bar of Almighty God for myself. Nobody can stand for me. So it is, in my confrontation with Jesus Christ, it is one place in my life where I stand open and naked and alone. What shall I do with Jesus?

2. Shall I Play With The Decision? "I will scourge Him and let Him go. Not crucify Him, not crown Him, but compromise it. I'll beat Him. I'll scourge Him and let Him go." How often do you find that response to the appeal of Christ? "I won't accept Him, I won't crown Him. But I'll tell you what I do. I'll give up this. And I'll give up that and I'll quit doing that and I'll quit doing the other. "I won't accept the Lord. I won't follow Jesus. I won't give my life to Him. I won't be a Christian. But I'll tell you what I'll do, I'll be a better man or I'll be a better woman or I'll try to reform and I'll give up these things that intervene."

3. Shall I Pity Him and pity my own Plight? He was a pitiful sight. And seeing Him, Pilate brought Him forth on the balcony before the enraged people below and standing by His side, uttered those famous words, "Idou ho anthropos -- ecce homo -- behold the man!" John 19:1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man!

It looks so magnanimous of him. He mocks a little but not a lot. He portrays himself as a man of compassion. Do you? Do you say, “Well I am a religious person. I won’t condemn a bit of religion. But I won’t go all the way and worship Him. He can go His way and I’ll go mine” It seems generous hearted, but it is still not acknowledging Jesus Christ for who He is. I am glad you do not condemn Him, but I pity that you will not worship Him as your Lord and Saviour!

4. Shall I Find A Proxy for the decision? A fourth evasion of Pontius Pilate. "I'll substitute somebody for Him.” I’ll poke at something bad and maybe they’ll condemn the real baddy and let Him go. And the crowd cried, "No, not Barabbas. Crucify Jesus." Substituting something else instead of an out and out commitment to the living Lord. Oh, that is the commonest weakness of human life. Rather than a real, personal commitment to the Lord, why, there's a thousand substitutes. "I'll substitute ritual" or "I'll substitute church membership" or "I'll substitute sacraments" or "I'll substitute a moral life" or "I'll substitute a great gift or philanthropies." It's endless. But that doesn't answer it. Mark 15:15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.

5. Shall I Protest the Decision? His fifth and last evasion. He called for water, a bowl, and for a towel. And he washed his hands in the presence of the throng. And he said, "I am guiltless of the blood of this just man. See you to it." "I will neither crown nor crucify Him. I will neither accept Him or reject Him. I am neutral. I wash my hands of the decision. I won't make a decision!" When you go out this door it will not be neutral. It will be either as a Christian you walk out that door accepting the Lord as your Saviour, or it will be as a lost soul rejecting His overtures of grace that you leave this service tonight. It is always one or the other. "I am guiltless of the blood of this just man." I wish it were that simple, just washing your hands. But it isn't. He crucified Him. He condemned Him. And the Apostles' Creed yet reads, "Crucified under Pontius Pilate." It will forever read that, "Crucified under Pontius Pilate."

Mt Pilatus overlooks Luzerne "The peasants, in the twilight of the evening can see him rise from the bottom of the lake and wash his hands in the clean, pure, blue water of Lake Lucern."

What Will You Do With Jesus?

What shall I do with Jesus which is called Christ? Pilate was choosing that day between conscience and convenience. It may interest you to know that the only voice raised that day on behalf of Jesus was the voice of a woman, Pilate's wife. Mark 15

Even His enemies admit that something must be done with Jesus.

John Stuart Mill, 1806-1873, English philosopher, Political economist.
"It is no use denying the history of Jesus. He must have lived. Not one of His disciples not even Paul the Apostle could have originated such a life as His."
George Bernard Shaw: "I am ready to admit that after contemplating the world and human nature for nearly sixty years, I see no way out of the world's misery but the way of Christ."

Mike Shermer ABC’s Compass programme on Atheism last week.
I think it is probably safe to say religion will not fall into disuse any time soon, so the John Lennonesque, Imagine no religion, I think is probably not realistic in terms of our social needs. We may even have something in our brains that hardwires us to believe in supernatural entities, whether it is animistic spirits, ghosts, demons, multiple gods, single gods the monotheistic - whatever it is I think we our brains lead us to interpret certain events in the world to be caused by hidden spirits of some kind.
It is no ordinary personage with whom you are dealing; the greatest minds of the ages have paid Him compliments. Strauss, the German, said, "He was the highest model of religion." Leakey, the historian, called Him "The highest pattern of virtue." Martineau, the Frenchman, said "He was the Divine Flower of humanity." Robert Owen, an English statesman, called Him "The Irreproachable."
Disraeli, Lord Beaconsfield, a converted Jew, while Prime Minister of Great Britain, said, "The pupil of Moses may ask himself whether all the princes of the House of David have done so much for Jews as that Prince who was crucified. Had it not been for Him, the Jews would have been comparatively unknown, or known only as an Oriental caste which had lost its country. Has not He made their history the most famous history in the world? All countries that refuse the cross will wilt and the time will come when the myriad's of America and Australia will find music in the songs of Zion and solace in the parables of Galilee."

W.H. Fitchett, in his book entitled, "The Unrealized Logic of Religion, " said: "To believe that a remote impostor in a forgotten province of a perished empire, stamped Himself so deeply on time as to compel all centuries to bear His name, is to believe that a child, with its box of colored chalk, could change the tint of the oceans."
Jean Paul Richter was right when he said of Him, "He is the Holiest of the Holy and the mightiest among the mighty and with His pierced hands, He lifted Empires off their hinges and turned the stream of centuries out of its channel and still governs the ages."
“Jesus, I give Thee my heart today! Jesus, I’ll follow Thee all the way,
Gladly obeying Thee!” will you say: “This I will do with Jesus!”

1. Open the door of your heart, soul. Bow down before Him, call upon His name. You will find Him to be the all adequate Savior and Friend.

Shakespeare, the great playwright, worked, toiled, and saved to be buried in the chancel of the church . Lorelle and I saw the church in which he is buried Holy Trinity Church (Shakespeare’s Burial Place), Stratford-upon-Avon Warwickshire England. We rowed a boat in the middle of a rain storm on the Avon in England. In his will, the great dramatist wrote: "I commit my soul to God my Creator in humble belief through the only merit of Jesus my Saviour, to obtain everlasting life."
2. Open the door of your home, He fits perfectly.

3. Open the door of your Bible. The 300 prophecies of the OT are infinitely perfect.

4. Open the door of your church, let Him be leader. Love, virtue, power, will flow from His heart.
What shall I do with Jesus? Open the door of your heart, This is what I shall do. I shall come to Him and kneel in His presence. I shall look up into His face. I shall open my heart. I shall take Him as my Hope and my Saviour. I shall give Him my life. I shall love Him and praise Him forever and ever.

Like that Negro spiritual:

I'm looking to the Lord Jesus And asking Him to stand by me.

When the storms of life are raging, Blessed Jesus, stand by me.

When the world is tossing me Like a ship upon the sea, Thou who rulest wind and water, Stand by me.

In trial and tribulation, Stand by me. When the host of hell assail And my strength begins to fail,

Thou who never lost a battle, Stand by me.

In the midst of faults and failures, Stand by me. When I do the best I can, And my friends misunderstand, Thou who knowest all about me, Stand by me.

And when I'm growing old and feeble, Stand by me. When my life becomes a burden

And I am facing tragic journey, Oh, thou who opens the door of heaven, Remember me, stand by me.

What shall I do with Jesus? I open to Him my heart. I give Him my life. I invite Him to be my friend and companion through every step of the way and I look forward to the triumph when I see Him face-to-face.

A friend wrote recently "In the song "What About Me?" there is a line, "Now we're standin' on the corner of a world gone home. Nobody's changed, nobody's been saved. And I'm feelin' cold and alone." Many look at this world and conclude that it is anything but redeemed or renewed since the sufferings and miseries of humanity continue unabated. Yet the experience of Christians runs contrary to this, for they believe that God's new creation has burst upon the world in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. For me, I know that I am not the same person I was before receiving Christ." My friend came to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord.  He was a military man.  He now serves the Lord as a lecturer in a theological college in Scotland.  What will you do with Jesus? 

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