Summary: The preacher, the Christian and the outsider all must answer the same question--What Shall I Do With Jesus? Each of us must answer; we cannot evade. For salvation and for service, our answer reveals who we are.

“What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ” [1]

Almost every message I have heard from this text was directed to lost people. That is certainly appropriate. However, in our study today, I want to consider how this question applies not only to the lost, but also to each of us who bear the Name of Christ. I will consider how the question applies to us who profess to represent the Master through providing oversight of the work of His churches. Then, I will explore what we who are called Christians should do with Him. Finally, the question Pilate posed to the mob howling for the head of the Master demands that I ask what the unsaved, “What will you do with the Son of God?”

The eternal question is: “What will you do with Jesus?” Just as His coming to earth divides time, so He is the dividing line between those who are alive and those who are dead. In Him is life; outside of Him is only death. Therefore, the question to those who are lost is essential if they will know God, enjoying the life that He offers. There is no hope of heaven outside of this One who is identified as the Son of God. Thus, to the lost, the question is posed, “What will you do with Jesus?”

For those who call themselves by His Name, they must know that even the rewards that are offered are dependent upon what we do with Him. As the Christian walks in Him and obeys what He commands, she moves steadily toward pleasing the True and Living God. Alternatively, when we walk according to our own desires, submitting to those base desires, we become indistinguishable from the world that is dying, even now rushing toward judgement. Each Christian, therefore, must answer the question, “What will you do with Jesus?”

Those who stand behind the sacred desk will either fulfil the calling they have received, or they will dishonour Him whom they call Lord. Either the preacher will faithfully declare the message that Christ Jesus has given in His Word, or the preacher will preach to satisfy the wicked desires of fallen people who seek only to affirm themselves in their fallen condition. Again, the question each preacher must answer is, “What will you do with Jesus?”

Pilate sat on his judgement seat. Jesus had been delivered to him for judgement. The Jewish leaders were enraged; Jesus was receiving honour from the people—honour that they felt was rightfully theirs. They concocted a charge of blasphemy, condemning Him to death. However, they were powerless to execute their rage. So, they drug Him before Pilate, the Roman governor, charging the Son of God with lèse majesté.

Pilate was shaken when he wife sent a message to him urging him to release Jesus. “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream” [MATTHEW 27:19]. Thus, much as politicians have done until this day, he tried to evade responsibility for his own decision. He devised a plan that he felt would permit him to avoid making a decision. It was the custom of the governor to release one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Pilate offered to release to them either of two prisoners—the most heinous criminal then in custody or Jesus of Nazareth. The mob demanded that Barabbas be released and they howled for the blood of Jesus. When Pilate attempted to reason with them, asking what crime He had committed that merited punishment, together they cried out, “Let Him be crucified!”’

Pilate was now faced with a dilemma—he could either do what was right, or he could do what was convenient. Either he could align himself with the Righteous One, or he could go along with the baying mob, “The governor again said to them, ‘Which of the two do you want me to release for you?’ And they said, ‘Barabbas’” [MATTHEW 27:21]. At this point, Pilate weakly attempted one final time to extricate himself from the morass into which he had sunk, “Pilate said to them, ‘Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?’ They all said, ‘Let him be crucified’” [MATTHEW 27:22]!

The corollary is given in the verses that follow. “When Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’ And all the people answered, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’ Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified” [MATTHEW 27:24-26].

Pilate’s rationalisation was that he was incapable of swaying the mob to act with integrity, so he was prepared to deliver Jesus for momentary and transient peace. The governor’s capitulation was attended by a scene so bizarre as to be almost unbelievable. The very people who professed to be living in anticipation of Messiah’s Advent now cried out for Messiah’s blood. To this day, momentary peace is still preferred over righteousness in society.

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