Summary: In the Gospels there are two bowls of water, one of which represents self interest and the other represents service Which bowl will you take?
The two bowls of water TSJ/TAS 28-09-2014
Often in life we have both of the two bowls of our readings offered to us in various situations of life.
The two bowls recorded in our readings today:
The BOWL of Service and
The BOWL of Self- service
One costs us – and other costs others.
1. The BOWL OF SELF-Service (click the clicker)
In our first reading we read of Pilate and his self-serving decision to wash his hands of the “Jesus problem”.
Here was a man who had the power to do right but didn’t.
The very man who had asked Christ “What is Truth?”
He was a man with a dilemma.
Was it his career or justice that was more important?
1.1 Who was Pilate?
• He was Upper middle class,
• Procurator of Judea with the power of life and death
• As Procurator a man with power who appointed High
Priests and had controlled Temple and funds
1.1.1.First recorded action (Josephus: Ant. 18 55)
His first recorded action was the setting up Roman Standards (bearing the image of the emperor) in Jerusalem.
He thereby broke with previous Roman practice and inflaming Jewish feelings against the Roman occupation.
In addition - as the Roman standards had the image of the Emperor on them (known as the imago) and because by this time the Emperor had been deified – he provoked the Jews to see the setting up of Standards in Jerusalem as an act of sacrilege too.
The Jewish feeling was so strong that he had to remove them 6 days later.
This shows some of his character traits:
Vain and Haughty - but a weakness in his character in - not following through.
1.1.2. His Second recorded action (Jos. Ant.18 60)
His second recorded action was appropriating Temple funds to build an aqueduct into Jerusalem.
When the Jews protested he sent in the troops and caused a massacre
This shows us another couple of character traits : Misappropriating money and Prone to Violence
1.1.3 The third recorded action (Luke 23)
His third recorded action was the crucifixion of Christ.
This shows us that Pilate didn’t care for Justice – as Procurator he should have done but rather that Expediency wins out over Truth
1.1.4 The last recorded action (Jos. Ant. 18 85 89)
The final recorded action of Pilate was the massacre of Samaritans at Mount Gerizin.
This led to such a protest that Vitellus, Governor of Syria recalled him and sent him to the emperor to explain his actions.
Again it shows us a man of unnecessary violence
Philo ( De Legatione ad Gaium 301) sums up Pilate as
by nature rigid and stubbornly harsh, of spiteful disposition and an exceedingly wrathful man, full of bribes, acts of pride acts of violence, outrages, cases of spiteful treatment, constant murders without trial and ceaseless and grievous brutality.
For Pilate expediency was more important that serving the people by governing with TRUTH
Just before we leave Pilate, let’s realise that although our actions were not as important as Pilate’s – we too have probably put expediency ahead of truth at times
The little white lie!!!
As a schoolboy put it: A very present help in trouble!!
I would now like to look at the OTHER Bowl
The BOWL OF SERVING (Click the clicker twice)
In our second reading, we hear how Jesus decided to serve the disciples when he TOOK the BOWL to wash their feet
In doing this, he took the role of the lowliest servant and washed his disciples’ feet – even the feet of Judas Iscariot who was going to betray him.
St Paul put Christ’s humility in these words from Philippians 2 5-11
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.
Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honour and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow - in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Story: Once when I was in my second year at Chelsea College in London University, we had a foot washing ceremony in Christian Union.
And it was very humbling to allow others to do it to us.
But it changed the dynamic in the CU that year as we grew closer together.
Serving can be costly.