Summary: Jesus appearance before Pilate

Jesus before Pilate John 19:1-16

I saw some interesting tombstone inscriptions.

• The first one was from a place called Tombstone Arizona. It says, “Here lies Lester Moore; four slugs from a .44, no Les, no more.”

• Here’s one from Lincoln, Maine that says, “Sacred to the memory of Jared Bates who died August the 6th 1800. His widow aged 24, lives at 7 Elm Street, has every qualification for a good wife and yearns to be comforted.”

• Here’s one from a place called Skaneateles, N.Y. “Underneath this pile of stones lies all that’s left of Sally Jones. Her name was Briggs, it was not Jones, but Jones was used to rhyme with stones.”

• And then finally here’s one from Springdale, Ohio. And it says, “Here lies Jane Smith, wife of Thomas Smith, marble cutter. This monument was erected by her husband as a tribute to her memory and a specimen of his work. Monuments of the same style 350 dollars.” When I read that, I thought, now here’s a guy who is really committed to his work.

The fear of death is a universal phenomenon because no matter where you go in the world, you’ll always find people who are afraid of dying. The reason for this fear is obvious and it’s because death is the greatest mystery in life. And since death is considered to be the biggest "unknown" of all, many people, including some Christians, find the very thought of death terrifying. The problem that all of us face is that none of us know how long we’ll live and how we’ll actually die and so we wonder, what will it feel like? What will be waiting for us as we reach the other side? Will there be any such thing as problems in the afterlife? I mean, since none of us have ever died before, we really don’t know what to expect.

And as they say, death, like taxes, is unavoidable. It doesn’t matter how rich, powerful, or influential you are because death is no respecter of persons. I think of people like J. Paul Getty or Howard Hughes who were worth billions of dollars and yet neither one of them could buy five more minutes of time.

One of the reasons people fear death is that we have to face it alone. I mean, even if you are surrounded by hundreds of people when you die and they all love you and think of you as the greatest person on the planet as soon as you die you’re on the other side all by yourself. And if the thought of dying is frightful then the very idea of standing before God Himself can be downright terrifying; and so it should be if the one who is dying doesn’t know the Lord.

It’s been said that there are two things that a man cannot view with a steady gaze – one is the sun, the other is death because every time we think about death we flinch.

There are some people who deal with the issue of death by becoming obsessed with the subject while others simply try to ignore it all together. And since there are plenty of distractions in life then ignoring death can be easy. The only time some people have to think about death is when they become seriously ill, when someone close to them dies, or there is a major crisis in life like the collapse of the World Trade Center. It was interesting to read that right after this attack there was a large number of people searching the Internet looking for websites that dealt with death.

There are three main fears a person needs to address about death and they are, the fear of death itself which is as some say the great unknown, then there is the fear of facing death all by yourself and then there’s the fear of standing before God. Although making peace with God eliminates the fear of meeting God, it doesn’t eliminate the mystery of death because the experience of death can be different for every one. I like how Woody Allen put it when he said, “It’s not that I’m afraid to die, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” The fear comes from the fact that no one knows the specifics of how they’ll die or when they’ll die or what comes afterward.

And yet, we who know the Lord can have confidence knowing that everything will be alright because we know that the God who cares for us will work out all of the details. And as people who’ve trusted Jesus to save us the Bible says He’s coming back to take us home and we all know there’s no greater sense of comfort than being home and especially when your home is in heaven.

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