How Do You Handle Jesus?
|John 19 (NKJV™)|
|1||So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged Him.|
|2||And the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe.|
|3||Then they said, "Hail, King of the Jews!" And they struck Him with their hands.|
|4||Pilate then went out again, and said to them, "Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him."|
|5||Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, "Behold the Man!"|
|6||Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" Pilate said to them, "You take Him and crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him."|
|7||The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God."|
|8||Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid,|
|9||and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, "Where are You from?" But Jesus gave him no answer.|
|10||Then Pilate said to Him, "Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?"|
|11||Jesus answered, "You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin."|
|12||From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar."|
|13||When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.|
|14||Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold your King!"|
|15||But 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!"|
|16||Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away.|
New King James Version®, Copyright © 1982, Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved.
Pontius Pilate was like every other person who has ever lived. The fundamental question of his life was, "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" (Matthew 27:22). Everyone has to deal with Jesus, to decide about Him and His claims. In one setting, we can see how one man (Pilate) was influenced to deal with Jesus in three different ways. These three ways are how many people today still choose to deal with Jesus Christ.
"But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name" John 20:31.
Believe:879 is an epic journey through the book of John led by Pastor Skip Heitzig of Calvary of Albuquerque. As we explore each of the 879 verses of this gospel, we'll grow in grace and in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. From His pre-incarnate existence, to His public ministry, through His death and His resurrection we'll traverse familiar territory and embark on new adventures of faith.
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Publications referenced: Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius
Cross references: Isaiah 52:14; Isaiah 53:7; Matthew 7:13; Matthew 12:30; Matthew 27:19; Luke 23:23; John 18:38; John 19:4; John 19:6; James 4:4
Open your bibles please to John Chapter 19. And before we consider the word of God, let's talk to the God of the word.
Lord we believed that statement to be true that we are not holding merely a book written by a bunch of well-meaning guys over a long period of time but that you have super intended the writing of it so that the accounts that we read reflect truth, revealed truth that you being the creator are also able to sustain the documents that would lead to the making of the bible so when we read it, we can read it knowing that you are speaking your will and that the events really happened.
Lord, we pray that it would be your Holy Spirit that would teach us we're reading familiar truth to most, foreign to some but vital to all. And we pray that what you have intended for us would not be taken away by any distraction by any focus on anything or anyone other than yourself as we examine this truth, in Jesus name. Amen.
There are questions and answers that define a moment, in fact question and answers that define a person in a moment. There was a young man who went to the Super Bowl. Can you imagine how excited he was? He got a Super Bowl ticket. He was really excited when he got to the stadium. He realized that his ticket was for a seat in the last row in the far corner of the stadium. So, it wasn't a great seat but it was a free ticket and he was happy.
About halfway to the first quarter, he notices by looking that there is a seat on the field, I mean right on the edge of the field empty. So he thinks, "I like to sit there." So he goes over to that seat, next to the empty seat as an older gentleman. And he says, "Is anybody sitting here." the guy says "Nope." "Could I take the seat"? He says "You certainly may." So he finds his some comfort zone and then he says, "Man, I can't believe anybody would pass up this seat at the Super Bowl." And the older gentleman said, "Well actually that's my wife's seat and she and I have been to Super Bowl since the year we wed but she has passed away."
"This is the first year that we haven't been to a Super Bowl together since we married in 1967." The young man was saddened and he said "I am so sorry. I am thankful but I am so sorry." But then he said, "Now, couldn't you have found a relative or close friend to come with you to the game?" And the older gentlemen said, "Oh, no they're all at the funeral."
It's pretty gnarly isn't it?
The question and that answer defined that man at that moment, right? It revealed a man who was selfish. It revealed a man who had his priorities all messed up. He revealed the man who would honor a game more than he would honor the memory of his own dear wife who accompanied him every year.
So, questions and answers to questions define a person in a moment. There is another man with another question that we want to look at today. Now the question is not asked for us in our text but it is ask by Pontius Pilate at the trial of Jesus as recorded in Matthew's account. Here's the question. Pontius Pilate looking at Jesus then looking at the crowd says, "What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" That question and the answer that he provides to the question will define Pontius Pilate forever.
Pontius Pilate comes to us as sort of a tragic figure in history. He was a powerful figure 2000 years ago. But because of his interfacing with Christ during this trial, he's come down to us as this tragic pathetic figure in history because of the way he handles Jesus.
He asked the question verbally. He answers the question experientially by his own actions in John Chapter 19.
Now we want to look at how a person handles Jesus by looking at how Pilate handled them three different ways on this day.
Now for a moment before we jump in to our text and read it, just in your mind's eye. Picked up on this scene, here you have two men facing each other, a proud Roman, a humble Galilean, a man of the earth, a man from heaven, a man who has put all of his mind on earthly things, earthly honor, earthly power and the God man who abdicated all of that to come and suffer on purpose for the sins of the world. And they faced off with each other during this moment.
And so Pontius Pilate has to handle Jesus and he does so three different ways and so we begin in Verse 1 with the first way. Jesus can be handled passively. Verse 1, "So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him and the soldiers twisted a crown of thorns and put it on his head and they put on him a purple robe and then they said, 'Hail, king of the Jews!' and they struck him with their hands."
Pilate then went out again and said to them, "Behold I am bringing Him out to you that you may know that I find no fault in him." Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns in the purple robe and Pilate said to them, "Behold, the man." Therefore, when the chief priest and the officer saw him, they cried out saying "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to him, "You take him and crucify him for I find no fault in him."
Just to jog your memory a little bit from the last time that we were together, I mentioned that there wasn't one trial but there were six different trials Jesus faced on this day. Three were before the religious crowd those were done. We've covered those three or before the civil courts. We are at trial number four and trial number six. I'll explain. Trial number four was before Pontius Pilate. Trial number five was before Herod Antipas. Trial number six was again before Pontius Pilate.
We started reading through this and coming through all of the material of the trial and we discover Pontius Pilate is a guy who is pretty passive, noncommittal. He doesn't really want to handle Jesus. He doesn't want to make a decision, doesn't want to deal with him would rather other people decide for him.
So, in dealing with Jesus passively Pontius Pilate has a three fold strategy. Number one, he thinks, "I'll let the politician decides what should happen with Jesus." You see, Pontius Pilate realizes that Jesus is not from Jerusalem not from Judea but he is a Galilean therefore the one who has jurisdiction over Galilee is the great politician, Herod Antipas.
So he goes -- "I don't have to handle Jesus. I'll ship him up to Herod. Herod will make the decision." Herod is all excited. He meets with Jesus. Herod is hoping Jesus to do some tricks, some miracle. Jesus says, absolutely nothing to Herod at all, not a word. No miracle. So Herod mocks Jesus for awhile puts a purple robe on him and ships him back to Pontius Pilate. Now Pilate has to deal with him again. So his first strategy in dealing with him passively, let the politician decide backfires on him.
Strategy number two in dealing with Jesus passively, "I'll let the people decide. If the politician won't decide, the people will." So in a brilliant strategy really, he remembers there is a custom we have worked out with the Jewish nation that during Passover we release to them one of their own that's a criminal, somebody in prison. So he thinks that the worst possible insurrectionist in jail, Barabas thinking this crowd isn't going to want Barabas. They going to want Jesus released. He is innocent. Barabas is guilty he's a known insurrectionist. He's a known rebel.
So in letting the people decide, he is blown away when the people actually say release Barabas and kill Jesus. Now understand something the entire time of the trial, Pontius Pilate knows Jesus is an innocent man and this is a rigged trial.
And he is attempting to let him go three times we read that in our text. Go back to Chapter 18 and look at the 38th verse.
It says that he went out again to the Jews and said to them, "I find no fault in him at all." Case closed he thinks.
Verse four of Chapter 19, ""Behold, I am bringing Him out to you that you may know that I find no fault in Him." Again in Verse 6, "You take him and crucify him, for I find no fault in Him." He knows Jesus is innocent but he's trying to escape the responsibility so he thinks "I'll let the politician decide." That doesn't work. "I'll let the people decide." That doesn't work.
Here's his third strategy in dealing passively with Jesus. "Perhaps if I let pity decide." So he thinks "I'll beat Jesus up a little bit. Parade him before this blood thirsty crowd kind of bloodied and beat up and they're going to take one look at him and say enough is enough and then release him." That's where Verse one and two is all about. And Pilate took Jesus and he scourged him. You're wondering well if the Pilate knows that Jesus is innocent, why would he get him beat up? Just so that the crowd would pity him and he wouldn't have to personally deal with it.
Now, a word about scourging. Scourging was a brutal punishment that the Romans enacted in their criminal justice system. A scourge was made up of wooden handle, six inches long a wooden handle. Attached to it were leather thongs and embedded -- tied into the leather thongs where bits of the lead, glass, bone designed to grip the skin and shred the skin.
Now there were three levels of scourging, level number one was the "fustigatio". This is for less intense criminal cases. If the guy was like a hoodlum, the Romans would take them, beat them a little bit but give them a verbal reprimand and then let them go.
Number two, level number two was called the "flagilatio" that is where he would be brutally beaten because the case, the crime was more intense than just being a hoodlum.
Level number three was known as the death before the death and the Latin's called it the "verberatio." It was the most intense. The prisoner was led with his hands bound to a courtyard. A low lying pillar was in the middle and the prisoner was forced to hunch it over the pillars so that his back was exposed and taut hard like a drum.
There were two lictors, men would whips, soldiers, one on either side who would administer diagonal blows on the back of the prisoner usually tell the soldiers we're exhausted or the commanding officer said enough is enough at least keep them alive to get him crucified. Usually that last third tear, that verberatio was reserved for those who would be crucified. They're going to die anyway, let's give it to them in increments.
Historians tells us that many of these prisoners never survived that flogging because it was designed to shred the skin, lacerate the muscles and even eviscerate the subcutaneous tissues of the victim.
Eusebius, the Church historian writes in his book Ecclesiastical History that many martyrs who were flogged that people in the crowd could actually see down into the lower veins and arteries and that the entrails and organs were exposed to sight. It is believed that Jesus faced the second kind of flogging at first. And then once the gavel went down and Pilate said, "Okay, take him to the cross." that he received that third type.
So Jesus is pretty mangled by now, pretty beat up. Besides that, they mock him and they put a crown of thorns on him, a mocking and they slap him around. And finally in Verse 5, he is paraded on the balcony out in front of the people. And you'll notice Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them as if to incur their pity "Behold, the man." In his Latin tongue, "Ecce Homo" as if to say "pity this poor creature. Look at this bruised and bloodied man having you had enough. This is the one that you say is the big threat and is going to overturn the nation. Look at him now, he poses not threat." Now he's hoping they're going to say "You're right. Let him go."
But like sharks who have gotten the smell of blood in the water, they're circling. They want nothing more than and nothing less than the death of Jesus Christ.
Now as you yourself this morning in this message, in your minds eye are beholding the man. There's a scripture that is brought to mind, a prediction made by the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah Chapter 52 in predicting this scene hundreds of years before it happened Isaiah said, "And many were appalled at him because his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and his form was marred than human likeness." I'm sure that when people saw Jesus at least a portion of the crowd just gasp like "Oh, my."
This is Pilate not wanting to make a choice, acting, dealing, passively with Jesus, getting the politician to decide, the people to decide, pity to decide but nobody has decided it. So here's Pilate he believes in the innocence of Jesus but he concedes to the operants of the crowd dealing passively. He didn't really want to kill Jesus but he didn't want him to believe in him either. He's not going to follow him. Jesus has talked about truth in another kingdom from heaven and Pilate is not interested in that.
There are a lot of people who tried to handle Jesus passively like Pontius Pilate. They'll say, "Well, I'm not like anti-Jesus. I'm not against Jesus but I'm not like pro-Jesus either. I'm sorry he got beat up and this is a horrible travesty of justice but at the same time, I really don't want to deal with Jesus. I'm neutral concerning Jesus." And they try to lived their lives sort of, "That didn't really matter. I just don't want to deal with them. I'm neutral. I'm a no vote. I abstain."
Now Jesus himself said "You can't do that." He said "You are either for me or you are what?" Against me. Now think about that. You don't' have to be opposed to Jesus to be against him. "If you're not for me, you're against me. If you don't help me gather, you actually help me scatter." he said. I know people will say "Yeah, but there's always two sides in every issue, always two sides to every question. You're right." But that's like telling a fly there's always two sides to that fly paper. You're right. But it makes a big difference which side he decides to land on.
Let's look at the next way Pilate handled Jesus. Jesus can be handled fearfully. Look at Verse 7. The Jews answered him, "We have a law. And according to our law, He ought to die because He made Himself the Son Of God. Therefore when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid and he went again into the praetorium and said to Jesus, 'Where are from?' But Jesus gave him no answer. And Pilate said to him, 'Are you not speaking to me?'" Can you hear the pride in that? "Do you not know that I have power to crucify you and power to release you?"
Now in hearing that Jesus has something to say and he says it in Verse 11, "Jesus answered, 'You could have no power at all against me unless that it have been given you from above. Therefore, the one who delivered me to you has the greater sin.' From then on Pilate sought to release Him." Stop there.
Finally, finally, we hear the true motivation in Verse 7 of the crowd that is bringing Jesus before Pilate. See, up to now they sort of count to. They said, "Well this guy is a real bad guy. He's an insurrectionist, he's the tax evader and he's trying to cause an uprising." But now they finally admit the real charge, the real beef they have against Jesus is, he claims to be God. He claims to be deity. He says He is the Son of God. That's real beef they have. That's the real reason they want this crucifixion.
Now when Pilate hears this, he is terrified. He's the more afraid. Why does that frightened Pilate? Well let me help you understand the world view of Pontius Pilate really of all the Romans and Pilate included.
The Romans including Pontius Pilate, they were superstitious people.
That is they believed not only in the world of humanity but they believed in the realm of the Gods and they believed that from time to time, the gods could empower human beings with supernatural abilities or in some cases the gods could lead the realm of the gods and actually come to the earth like Hercules, the Greek legend that was passed down to the Romans. They believed that that could happen.
So he hears that Jesus claims to be the Son of God and Pilate gets terrified. Why? Because the Pilate just had him beat up. And if this guy has supernatural power or is indeed a son of one of the gods, I'm dead meat. I'm in trouble. And so he is terrified.
Now probably right about now, I'm guessing that saying of his wife, who warned him earlier that day, comes to his mind. His wife had told him, "I have nothing to do with this righteous man, Jesus. I have suffered many things in a dream because of him." That comes to his mind and he's going, "Oh, no."
So, he goes to Jesus again and he asked him this question, "Where are you from?" No, he's not asking his address. He knows he's a Galilean. He knows he's from Galilee not from Judea. And saying, "Where are you from?" he's saying, "Do you come from the realm of the gods because that's what I just heard that you claim to be the Son of God?" So the claim of Jesus and the calm of Jesus, unnerved him. Jesus says nothing to him. He didn't say anything to him. Pilate asked him a question, Jesus answered sort of this way. Pilate gets really unnerved. "You're not going to answer me? Don't you know that I have power over you?" Here's a question. Why didn't Jesus talk to him? Why didn't he answer him? Why did Jesus remain silent before Pilate?
Let me give you three explanations. Explanation number one, to fulfill prophecy, Isaiah Chapter 53 anticipating this said, "He was oppressed, and He was afflicted. He opened not His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter as the sheep before that shears to silent, so he opened not his mouth."
Reason number two, and really perhaps the reason is because Jesus had already spoken to Pilate. Jesus had already told Pontius Pilate, "I'm a King. I come from above. I came from another realm to bear witness of the truth." And Pilate walked out on him saying, "What is the truth?"
So Pilate has already heard the testimony by Jesus. Jesus has nothing more to say to him. Jesus knows Pilate isn't interested. But there's a truth there. I've discovered that when God reveals something to a person and that person doesn't act on that truth, God has really nothing more to say. It's just -- all you proved is you really don't want to hear from God. What else do you got for me? So he reveals himself incrementally to those who are open by showing their obedience to what he has revealed. Jesus has nothing at all to say to Pilate any longer. So, silent.
But perhaps, let me turn the coin. Perhaps there's a third reason. Perhaps Jesus is silent just to demonstrate how patient he will be in his being with Pontius Pilate. To just sort of let it sink in, "Where are you from?" No answer as if to say, "Now Pilate just in quietude, think about the events of this day that you have seen and heard because you have to make a decision."
I read a letter. I worked with an organization in India and I read a letter about a group that went to a village in Andhra Pradesh, one of the provinces of India and showed the Jesus film to 1,200 people who showed up to watch this movie. And at the end of it, 36 people came forward to receive Christ all of them from non-Christian background.
The next day, one of the film crew guys was taking a morning walk and he overheard two boys talking in that village and one boy said to the other boy, "We should believe in the Christian God. He's a good God." And the second boy said, "Why should we believe in the Christian God?" And the first boy said, "Because our gods are short-tempered but Jesus is a very patient God as we saw in the film yesterday." It could be that Jesus is simply lingering to give Pilate the ability, the thinking space to make the decision. Pilate is afraid. Pilate has been handling Jesus passively but now fearfully. He's unnerved.
I found a lot of people who deal with Jesus fearfully. They're afraid, they're afraid of the future. And if they're not Christians, if they don't trust in Christ for their salvation, they ought to be, morbidly afraid of the future. But that's where they stop. They're afraid and so they want to mitigate against the fear and they think, "If I just say that cute little prayer then it'll keep me out of hell?" They deal in fear not in faith. They're not dealing faithfully but fearfully. They don't place their faith in Jesus, they're just afraid of Jesus. It's fear of repercussion not faith in Christ's forgiveness.
Let's look at the third way that Pilate handled Jesus. He can be handled selfishly. Go back to Verse 12. We cut off right in the middle of it. "From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out saying, 'If you let this man go, you are not Caesar's friend.'" Mark that well. I'll get back to it. "Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar." When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment's seat in a place that is called the Pavement." but in Hebrew Gabbatha.
Now it was the preparation day of the Passover and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, "Behold your King." And they cried out away with him, away with him. "Crucify him." Pilate said, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priest answered, "We have no King but Caesar." Listen to the hypocrisy. They hated Caesar. They wanted nothing to do with Caesar. They chased under Caesar's rule but now they sound so patriotic. "Man we're like totally into Caesar man. We're stoked on him." Then he delivered him to them to be crucified so they took Jesus and they led him away.
What was the saying that Pilate heard that moved him to get Jesus crucified? It's when they said, "If you let this guy go, you are not a friend of Caesar." And here's why.
Tiberius Caesar, the headhunter(ph) in Rome at this point in history was a paranoid recluse living on the island of Capri, very suspicious of everyone. And if he had any hint of unfaithfulness by any of his underlings or incompetence, there would be brutal consequences. Pilate knew that. Pilate had been the governor for five years but Pontius Pilate had several flaws in his leadership up to this point and this was the tipping point in what he heard.
Now I got to explain this to you. It'll make sense. If this were baseball, Pilate already struck out. There were three strikes against him. Strike one is when Pontius Pilate brought banners into Jerusalem with the emblem of Caesar on it. Now if you know anything about Judaism, you know that Jews hate images of any kind and they protested against Pontius Pilate saying, "You remove those incense out of Jerusalem. We don't want images in our town." Pilate said to his soldiers, "Take out your swords and threaten them."
So they took out their swords to kill them. The Jews laid down on the dirt floor of the amphitheatre in Caesarea and bear their necks as if to say, "Go ahead, kill us. Cut our necks. We're not backing down." And this shook Pilate saying, "Who am I dealing with?" They were ready to die for this." so he backed off and they removed the incense. That was one.
Number two is a few years later when he, Pilate, raided the treasury in the temple of Jerusalem, stole the Jews money to build an aqueduct to Jerusalem to carry water in for himself and the soldiers. Again, the Jewish crowd protested against Pontius Pilate. At that time Pontius Pilate ordered his soldiers to dress up like civilians carrying clubs and daggers and upon his signal butcher the crowd which he did.
Strike three came a little bit later when once again Pontius Pilate ordered shields to be made with the inscription and the face of the side profile of Tiberius Caesar for his soldiers at the Antonia Fortress in Jerusalem. The Jews this time appealed directly to Caesar, Caesar himself ordered Pontius Pilate to remove the shields and threatened Pontius Pilate. He's at three strikes. Pilate is tittering on the edge. So when they say to him, "You let this man go and you are not Caesar's friend."
That was threat. It was an intimidating threat. It's like we're going to nark on you to Caesar and you're out of the job.
So Pilate being a good politician -- somebody said a good politician is somebody who doesn't throw his head in the ring fully discovers which way the wind is blowing. Pilate feels the wind blowing against him so he is ready even though he knows Jesus is innocent to get him crucified. So he handles Jesus selfishly because he wants to hang on to his job. He'll have a death grip, "I want this position. I want this status." and so he handles Jesus selfishly.
Now for just a moment, I want you to think of what it would've been like to be Pontius Pilate growing up. There's little Pontius running around the yard with his friends. And that little Pontius kid, he wants to be something great. He wants to be successful. He wants to make a difference to be that kind of a person.
So, he grows up. The problem is, he's not born in Rome. He's born in Sibyl on the Iberian Peninsula way out in the boondocks. But he joins the Roman army when he can. He becomes a legionnaire and he gets promoted. But that's not enough for Pontius. He wants more. He wants to be successful so he moves to Rome. This is all historical.
He moves to Rome. He's excited about Rome. The forum, the coliseum, the Roman arches, the architecture, wows him. "It's amazing. I'm here." But that's not enough for Pontius Pilate. He wants more.
And so he marries into the family of Caesar. Marrying the granddaughter of Caesar Augustus, Claudia is her name, that's Pilate's wife. And because of that marriage, the emperor, Caesar gives him the governorship of Judea. Now, he's arrived. Now he is successful. Now he has status.
And when he hears this, "You're not going to be Caesar's friend," that was Roman catchword, "amicus Caesaris." he goes -- I'm going to loose my status, my position. Let's get Jesus killed so he handles him selfishly. To Pontius Pilate, being Caesar's friend is more important than doing what is right.
Now there's a scripture. I'm going to quote the first part of it, you're going to give me the second part of it because you know it, James Chapter 4. James writes, "Whoever would be a friend of this world will become the enemy of God." That's the choice that Pilate had. "Do I want to go with the crowd or I want to be a friend of Caesar and the friend of the crowd or do I want to do what's right because I know this man should go free?" but he handles Jesus selfishly.
One of the most tragic verses of scripture found that happened at this trial is -- Luke's account of this, Luke 23. It says, "And the voices of these men and of the Chief Priest prevailed." I'll let that just settle in on you a moment. The voices of these men and of the Chief Priest prevailed.
Pilate was willing to turn off all the other voices, turn off the voice of Jesus speaking to him about another kingdom, the voice of his wife saying "I have nothing to do with this righteous man." Let's turn off that voice. The voice of his own conscience said, "This is an innocent man." Let's turn off that voice. The voices the people and of the Chief Priest prevailed. Here's a man who wants to go along with the rest of the crowd to save his own status.
Let me just tell you this. In handling Jesus Christ, if you're thinking, "Well I want to go the way that everybody else is going in the world." Just ask where that path is going to end up. Where are they going to? Where are they marching toward? You see, that question "What will I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?" will define you for eternity, not just Pilate. Where that's crowd going? Jesus said it this way, "Enter into the narrow gate because wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction and many enter therein." It could be translated most enter therein. Most people go to destruction. Very few people make the smart choice that defines them with eternal life.
Once upon a time there was a spider who built a magnificent web in an old castle -- shiny, brilliant, bright and he always tidied and kept it clean because whenever he got a fly trapped in there, he would clean up quickly and make it look new again, so that other flies wouldn't suspect anything. And he wanted more patrons.
One day a fairly intelligent fly was flying around that spider web and the spider cried out and said, "Come on in man. Sit a while." And the fairly intelligent fly said, "Not me. I'm not stupid. I don't see anybody else in there. I'm not going in alone." And just then the fly noticed on the ground there were a whole bunch of flies dancing on a piece of brown paper. And he thinks, "That's were the crowd is." And so he goes down to join them. Just before he lands a bee buzzes by and says, "Don't land there stupid, that's fly paper." And the fairly intelligent fly says, "Oh, don't be silly. They're dancing. There's a big crowd. Everybody is doing it. That many flies can't be wrong." Famous last words, he landed on the fly paper.
As you look out at the world and what people have done with Jesus, dealing with him passively or fearfully, or selfishly, are you thinking "That many people can't be wrong?" Uh-huh, oh yeah, all the time.
So, let me give you in closing a fourth option. Don't deal with him passively. Don't deal with him fearfully. Don't deal with him selfishly. Handle Jesus humbly, sincerely, personally, repentantly where you handle him by making him the exalted Lord that you worship and the one that you submit to. Let's pray.
Father, it's our prayer that those who have not yet submitted to the lordship and the rulership of the Lord Jesus, the one who claimed to be a King, the one who proved that the kingship by what he did in changing people's lives while he was on the earth and the lives that he has changed since he has been on the earth, and the one who fulfilled hundreds of predictive prophecies, I pray that everyone in the hearing of this voice and thinking "What will I do with Jesus?" would say "The best thing to do is to crown Him, Lord of my heart, King of my life, Master of my being." I pray for that in Jesus name. Amen.