Sunday Services @ 9:15am & 10:45am
John 19:1-16 – Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
There are some times in life when you can’t be neutral. There are some issues that require you to make a stand. Injustice, for instance, demands a response, and those who don’t stand against it (sometimes unwittingly) stand for it. Some issues are cut and dry, black and white, in or out. In those areas, no matter how hard you may try to stay neutral, you always find that neutrality is an impossible decision.
That’s how it is with Jesus, too. Jesus claimed to be the only way to the Father. He said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” With that exclusive, narrow statement, Jesus drew a line that has no neutral ground. Every person must decide what to do with Jesus.
Pilate faced that dilemma in a more immediate way than most of us in the United States can understand. To choose Jesus in this moment meant to incite riot among the Jews, something he could not afford. Yet, he somehow knew that Jesus was not who they claimed. Deep down, he believed Jesus was more than he could understand. He sensed the divine. He was intrigued, and he felt trapped.
When Pilate had Jesus flogged and allowed Him to be crucified, he was making a decision that would not wash off as easily as washing his hands. He tried to ignore what he knew was right. He tried to say, “This isn’t on me, it’s on you.” He tried to avoid the whole thing, but in the end, there was no avoiding the question: “What will you do with Jesus?”
You and I will face many decisions today, and some of them will require action. Let’s pray in each one that God will grant us the Wisdom to know the right steps to take and the courage to take those steps, even when they’re hard. Like every day, we must decide what we will do about Jesus today. If Jesus is Lord, you need to follow Him today. Let Him lead you through the terrain of your life. Even when the way is difficult, He will lead you well.