Summary: This account of the decision that Pilate made concerning Jesus has much to that it may be saying to us about decision making.
A Study of the Book of Luke
Sermon # 64
“The Importance of Making a Decision”
Jesus had just emerged at dawn from his religious trial before the Sanhedrin in which his admission that he was the Son of God had enraged the members to call for his death. But they lacked the power to carry out this sentence and therefore had to present him to the Roman authorities and ask that the sentence be carried out. The Jewish leaders had arrested Jesus on theological grounds – blasphemy (that he had dared to call himself the son of God) – but because this charge would be thrown out of a Roman court, they had to come up with a political reason for executing Jesus. Their strategy was to present him as a rebel who told the people not to pay their taxes and who claimed to be a king and thus was a threat to Caesar. This was all lies of course but then charges don’t have to be true.
In verse one of Chapter twenty-three we read, “Then the whole multitude of them arose and led Him to Pilate. (2) And they began to accuse Him saying, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He himself is Christ, a king.” (3) Then Pilate asked Him, saying, Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him and said, “It is as you say.”
So Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you really the king of the Jews?” (v. 3). This question is included in all four of the gospel accounts and in all four the word “you” is emphatic. Luke as is his custom abbreviates the story. According to John (18:33-38) Jesus explained to Pilate in what sense he was indeed a king, not a political sense but in a real spiritual sense, he was and is king over all those who claim Him as the shepherd of their souls.
Acceptance or rejection of Jesus as your king is still the real dividing line even today. You can walk into virtually any room in America and ask, “Do you believe in God?” and expect to get an answer in the affirmative. But if you push it a bit and go on to ask, “And do believe that Jesus is the Son of God and the Only means of going to heaven?” then you will quickly sense an altogether different atmosphere.
But the religious leaders would not let it go and they responded in verse four, “So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no fault in this Man.” (5) But they were the more fierce, saying, “He stirs up the people teaching throughout all Judea, beginning in Galilee to this place.”
Tonight I want to examine this account of the decision that Pilate made concerning Jesus to see what it may be saying to us about decision making.
First, Passing off a problem for some one else to handle is not handling a problem. (vv. 6-7) “When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked if the Man were a Galilean. (7) As soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, He sent Him to Herod, who was in Jerusalem at the time.”
Then acting as we often do, Pilate attempted to avoid making a decision. When he heard that Jesus was a Galilean that was all he needed to hear, he said in effect, “Oh! So He is a Galilean?” That made Jesus Herod’s responsibility, so let him hear the case. So Jesus is sent to Herod’s palace.