Monday, September 24, 2012

John 18:28-38a

I have un update on Jacob, my former student who is battling Hodgkin’s Disease. Jacob’s recent x-rays showed substantial shrinkage of the tumors in his chest after the first round of chemo. This is great news! He entered the hospital Monday for round two. Please pray that the chemo would knock out the “enemy” cells in his body. Also, pray that he would be encouraged and strengthened in his spirit and in his body.

I’m awaiting news from my sister, Jodi, today on whether or not her doctor will release her to travel out here this week. I’ll let you know! Thanks for your prayers!

This morning we will look at Jesus’ appearance before Pontius Pilate.

Then the Jews led Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness the Jews did not enter the palace; they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. (John 18:28)

Isn’t it amazing that the Jewish leaders were not worrying about be defiled by the murder of Jesus? They wanted to enlist the help of Pilate, but they didn’t want to be contaminated by him! It would be funny, if it weren’t so serious and if we didn’t also do the same things ourselves! We worry about how we look at church and that we get there on time, but think nothing about gossiping over donuts after the service! We may not see our inconsistencies, but others do!

So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?” 

“If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.” 

Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” (vs. 29-31a)

Pilate was going to be very careful with these Jews. He did not need anymore trouble with them. Jon Courson points out that Pilate was “a former slave, who through marriage and political maneuvering” became the Procurator of Jerusalem, after the Jews had appealed to Rome for a replacement for the incompetent Herod Archelaus. He had two previous problems in his dealings with the Jews and was on warning from Rome to shape up. So he tells them to take care of Jesus according to their own laws. Now, this was a problem for the Jewish leaders:

“But we have no right to execute anyone,” the Jews objected.  This happened so that the words Jesus had spoken indicating the kind of death he was going to die would be fulfilled. (vs.31b-32)

In 30 A.D., Rome had taken away the Jewish right to execute criminals. They needed Pilate to accomplish this. So Pilate goes back and interviews the prisoner himself:

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” 

“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” 

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” 

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate. 

Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” 

“What is truth?” Pilate asked. (vs.33-38a)

When Pilate questioned Jesus, Jesus understood that Pilate did not really want any answers. Pilate’s question, “What is truth?” was a disdainful rhetorical question, not the question of a seeker. Jesus promised here that anyone seeking truth will listen to Him. And we know from Jeremiah 29:13, that all who seek Him, find God: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Had Pilate been a true seeker, Jesus would have opened his eyes to the Truth standing before him. But none of the parties there was interested in the Truth. They all had too much to lose if they had actually sought it. The Jewish leaders and Pilate were only concerned with their own power and authority over the people. They did no want Jesus messing with their comfortable lives. And isn’t that how we feel sometimes? Before coming to Christ I agonized over how my life might change if I submitted to His authority. Would it ruin my marriage? Would God send me out into the streets with tracts? Would I become one of those “Jesus freaks?” Well, yes to the last one!! I am still a Jesus freak, 36 years later!!

As much as Pilate tried to get rid of Jesus, he wasn’t finished with Him yet. Tune in tomorrow!

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