Summary: The question asked by Pilate is one that each of us face every day of our life as a believer in Christ. This determines whether or not we will FOLLOW Christ
What Shall I do with Jesus?
• Important questions for life are found all through God’s word. These questions have eternal consequences for each one of us and deserve our attention. (TEXT CALL)
• Nothing is worse than injustice. Over the last several years we have watched high profile cases end in surprising ways. Like you, I have questioned some of the results, but one thing is certain: in none of these cases have you and I received the complete & undiluted facts that the jury possessed. Obviously, our information was only a part of what the jury had to consider. A verdict of innocent is a travesty of justice ONLY if the accused is guilty. Any death is bad & we expect family members & friends to want justice for the untimely & unjust death of a loved one. But to exact a penalty on an innocent person is just as horrible as the death.
• The plot of Harper Lee’s novel “To Kill A Mocking Bird” revolves around the courtroom trial of an innocent black man unjustly accused of raping a white woman. In spite of his innocence and in spite of the valiant efforts made by his attorney, Atticus Finch, the fate of the defendant, Tom Robinson, was uncertain in the hands of a prejudiced jury. This is a very tragic story. For nothing is quite as disturbing and causes our blood to boil as much as when the gavel of justice falls to squash the life of an innocent person.
• With these words, have now set the backdrop for our question today. Before we read, the story:
• Jesus and His disciples have walked and ministered together for 3 years or so. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, fed the multitudes, taught the masses, and He even raised the dead. He was kind & patient with all – well, not patient with everyone. There was a group to which He showed little patience & no deference. It was the ‘religious group.’ To read about His encounters with the Scribes, Pharisees, & other religious leaders is to see a side of Jesus we don’t care to see.
• Think about that: The very reason Jesus came was to bring new life, new hope, & a new future to all people, & the crowd was angry because of the evil leaders masquerading as godly.
• In our text these evil religious leaders have now had Jesus arrested on bogus charges, brought Him before Pilate, whipped the crowd up into an emotional frenzy, & demanded Jesus’ death. Now Pilate has seen through the plan of these religious people but he was a weak, appointed leader who was afraid for his own position so he really wanted to appease this crowd. He didn’t want Rome coming down on Him. So here’s the sad conclusion (read text).
• Pilate stands before the mob with a decision to make. What will he do? What can he do?
• Today, you stand before God with a decision to make? Pilate asks, “What am I to do with Jesus?” Your question, “What will you do with Jesus?” In a very pragmatic sense, I offer you some choices:
1. Will you do what’s popular? – This was the dilemma which faced Pilate. Think about his position: He held the powers of life & death in his hands. Dr. Luke tells us that 3 times Pilate pronounced Jesus innocent with the words, “I find no fault in this man.” The first time he rendered this judgment, the case should have been closed. Furthermore, Matthew tells us back in verse 23 that “Pilate knew it was out of envy that they delivered Jesus.” Even that wording tells us what the crowd or mob had expected – They wanted Jesus dead! Don’t miss this truth, that opinion is still the popular opinion today. ‘If Jesus were out of the picture, all would be well’ is the prevailing attitude. So I ask you, will you do what’s popular? There are 2 possibilities:
a) Reject Him – This is what the people in Jerusalem did. They listened to the leaders, they allowed them to exercise control over them, and they rejected Jesus. Mob means ‘mass of betrayers’. This week I read a quote which said, "Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side." Know what? The majority of people today are rejecting Jesus. Many outside the church reject who He is, what He did, and how He did it. They see Him as a fraud.
• Jesus is the dividing line. What you do with Jesus determine who & whose you are. This decision determine friends & family, life & death, as well as heaven & hell.
• I wonder if ‘inside the church’ we find those who reject Jesus–yet they do it a little more subtly. Instead of challenging who He is & what He wants, they simply ignore it. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my words.” That’s the litmus test. What will you do with Jesus?