Summary: Part 2: What we can and should learn from Herod Antipas & Pontius Pilate through their role in the Passion.
SURPRISING ’STARS’ OF THE PASSION
Part 2: Pilate & Herod: Villains We Can Learn From
Rev. Todd G. Leupold, Perth Bible Church, Sunday AM 3/9/2008
In our look at some of the Surprising ’Stars” of The Passion, we turn today to two government officials of great power and ill-repute: Pontius Pilate the Roman Governor of Judea, and Herod Antipas the ’King’ over Galilee. Though much and could be said to present the biographies of these men and their despicable character, that is not our aim or focus this morning.
The ’big question’ on many Christians’ minds whenever they think about these men is, “Why did God ever allow such men to do what they did with Jesus?” And, “How we can say God is always in control in the midst of accounts like these?” “Why did the LORD God Almighty allow such heinous villains to play such a role IF He is really in control at all times?”
The truth is that God is always in control, even in the face of such apparent injustice and evil as we see in these men and their treatment of Jesus! And, yet, it is important to recognize that through these men God has not cursed the world, but rather given us a great gift! The greatest gift, of course, is the ultimate sacrifice of Christ that provides for the eternal gift of salvation!!! But, couldn’t that have been given giving men like Pilate & Herod such a prominent role? Was it really necessary for the Father to allow them to draw out the process and humiliate Jesus the way they did?
This morning, I would like to challenge us to look afresh at Jesus’ encounters with Pilate & Herod and see together that there is much these villains have to teach us!
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE NEUTRAL ABOUT JESUS!
LESSONS TO BE THANKFUL FOR:
Through these villains - their attitudes, questions, comments, and decisions - we can all learn 7 important lessons for our own lives!
PILATE, PART I Mt. 27:1-2, 11-14; Mk. 15:1-5; Lk. 23:1-8; Jn. 18:28-38
1.PROPER UNDERSTANDING OF AUTHORITY Lk. 23:1-5; Jn. 18:28-37b
Notice that the core issue at question here is that of authority. Who is really the ultimate authority? Is it Caesar? The appointed leader of the Jewish people?
The idea of a yet higher authority isn’t even a consideration or option, until Jesus emphatically introduces it as such (Jn. 8:36-37b).
The lesson Jesus proposes to Pilate and now to us, is that the real and final authority in this universe does not rest with any man or determined by the election of any group. Rather, it is that which is inherent and irreversibly of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!!!
Any time we fail to recognize that Christ is the only perfect, indisputable and final authority, we are every bit the self-absorbed, stubborn and ignorant fool that Pilate played!
2.TRUTH IS IMPORTANT Jn. 18:37-38 (14:6; 8:31-32)
Pilate’s focus was on what he and the Jewish leaders had the ability to decide and do, based on the subjective and fickle laws and authority of men.
By contrast, Jesus breaks His silence in order to re-frame the debate as an issue about truth. Not just any truth. Not one person’s idea of ’truth’ against another. But, an absolute, universal, and unalterable Truth.
With this, Jesus gave Pilate a tremendous opportunity, an opportunity stand and stake his life and position on such a Truth rather than the vapors of an opinionated truth that is only as true and strong as one’s ability to impose and enforce it.
We, in turn, must recognize that Jesus gives us the same opportunity. Will we respond, like Pilate, and flippantly challenge the entire notion of a certain truth? Or, will we embrace that which is absolute and unalterable, regardless of our denials and efforts to re-define?
3.TEMPTATION TO HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH JESUS
The bottom line and lesson of this encounter is that ultimately Pilate wants nothing to do with Jesus.
He would rather ignore just ignore Him and leave Him to others to figure out.
To what degree have we done the same?
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE NEUTRAL ABOUT JESUS!
HEROD ANTIPAS Lk. 23:6-12
The encounter between Jesus & Herod Antipas (son of the King Herod who reigned when Jesus was incarnated and sought to kill all the first-born baby Jews) is a brief, yet significant one.
4.JESUS EXISTS FOR MORE THAN OUR PLEASURE Lk. 23:8-12
Herod never had any interest in picking up this ’political football’ and making any decisions himself.
Nor, I’m sure, did he relish the idea of giving audience to the cousin of John the Baptist, whose head Herod had cut off for daring to question his adultery and incest.
Yet, Herod did meet with Jesus, and with some degree of pomp and circumstance no less? Why?