Making the morning coffee I turned on the t.v. to catch a bit of news. You may have noticed this is a pattern! The usual hubbub and mischief were certainly afoot. But, shortly, a news conference came on. A French official was holding the news conference to share more information about a tragic plane crash a couple of days ago, in the remote French Alps. The newest information is that the co-pilot likely crashed the plane deliberately. That man has become the focus of the investigation and is, in essence, "on trial", although now dead. The goal is to lay fault at the feet of someone or some thing, since over 150 people are dead from that crash, the worst to occur in France in many, many years. The investigators may or may not be able to conclusively determine where that fault lies.
In Jesus' trial, recorded in John 19, the prosecuting agency was the Roman government. And, oddly, the Roman governing judge, Pilate, three times in the course of that trial pronounced Jesus "not guilty" (vs. 4, 6, 12). Twice, he actually said, "I find no fault in Him." "He's allright." Pilate wanted to release Jesus. He was afraid not to release Jesus.
I had some weird dreams last night...One thing I dreamed was that a bald eagle flew into my classroom and landed on my outstretched arm (which is ludicrous since adult bald eagles are 3-feet tall). Then, I dreamed that I was in someone's house, cleaning out their basement (Hubster was cleaning out ours yesterday, bless him!) and I found all these lovely antique hat boxes with hats in them, in the throw-away pile. Appalling! Then, I dreamed I was looking out a window of the house and saw about 30 wild, white cats milling around. When I awoke, I was glad to be out of that crazy house in my head.
A biblical character, Pilate's wife, also had dreams. Hers were more ominous, however. In her dreams she was warned that her husband should have nothing to do with Jesus.
While he was sitting on the judgment seat his wife sent him a message saying, "Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night, I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him."
We read in the verse just prior (vs. 18) that Pilate knew the Jewish leaders had delivered Jesus to him out of envy.
So, while Pilate did not fully realize the extent of what he was about to do, he had been given plenty of warning of the consequences for condemning Jesus to death.
What "tipped the scales"? What made him decide against Jesus? It certainly wasn't Jesus' guilt over any trumped-up charge. We find the answer in John 19:12.
Pilate decided that his personal stakes in releasing Jesus were simply too high. He could not risk being associated as one who was not loyal to Caesar Augustus, who had a long and bloody track record of punishing those who even appeared to be disloyal.
Pilate said, "I find no fault in Him". Yet, he condemned Him to die.
Do you know....many, many people have done the same with Jesus? They hear about Him, gain an intellectual knowledge (to a limited extent) about His life, work, death, burial and resurrection. And, their reaction is: "I don't have any objection to Him." or "He was a good person." But, that is as far as it goes. Those people either do not fully explore Jesus' truth claims or they do explore them and decide for "Caesar", which represents any inferior "god" that takes the place of the one, true God in their hearts. As was described yesterday, these people stop short of "receiving" Jesus as their Savior. In so doing, they kill Him all over again because they make it so that (in their cases) He died in vain. Although He died for them, they accept Him only as far as "He's allright."
These same folks may even tell you that they are Christians. But, that's not true. They are either deceived or know that they are out-right lying. They say this because "Jesus is allright", and they identify with the Christian faith more than any other. But, the actual god on the throne of each of their hearts is Self.
It's easy to look at our lost friends and loved ones and shake our heads and say, "uhm-mmm-mmmmmmm", isn't it? But, Believers, every time we choose our own way over God's way, every time we choose Self in our daily walk, we quench His spirit in our hearts too. Our salvation is assured, if we have received Him, made Him the Lord of our lives. In our day-to-day living, though, we must be vigilant to guard our hearts against an attitude of "He's allright".
Because He is not just "allright." I want you to go listen to something this morning, Christian.
Take about 5 minutes to click on the above link, and listen. (Thankful for these words of Dr. S.M. Lockridge!) Re-affirm in your heart this morning who Jesus is, as we head into the Passion Week, beginning this Sunday.
Oh hallelujah! That's MY King!
Do you know Him?
O Lord, you are the Incomparable One, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Even though Rev. Lockridge and others have tried to do so, none of us can fully describe You. You are so much more than "allright". Thank you for revealing Yourself to us, through the person of Your Son, Jesus. Thank you for allowing each of us to know You. Teach us to know You more and to love You more. In Jesus' name, amen.