Summary: In the beginning of John 19 we see three different examples of what people did with Jesus. The soldiers mocked him, Pilate didn't want to deal with him and the Jews rejected him. What about us? What will we do with Jesus?
WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH JESUS?
1) The soldiers mocked him (2-3). To mock means to ‘imitate in contempt’ or ‘ridicule’ or ‘scorn’. The specific word mocked is used in Matthew’s gospel. Matt. 27:28-30, “They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.” These soldiers thought it was funny to make fun of Jesus. They considered it a joke to humiliate him. They took advantage of Jesus’ meekness by driving thorns into his head and slapping his face and striking him in the head with the staff. What does this show regarding Jesus’ control? In the blink of an eye he could’ve squashed them all like a bug but instead he took it all; with dignity. Isa. 50:6, “I offered my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard; I did not hide my face from mocking and spitting.” The irony is that their mockery was the truth-Jesus was king. And those who mocked him would one day stand before him and see that he is the King of kings; then they would be sorry. Gal. 6:7-8, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” The Psalms declare that the arrogant and the fools mock God. People still mock God. They don’t take him or his commands seriously. They reduce him to a mere man, they defy him; they shake their fist at him daring him to do something. And although God may not strike them dead on the spot for doing so, they aren’t getting away with it either. Prov. 14:9, “Fools mock at making amends for sin, but goodwill is found among the upright.” In their foolish sinfulness people make a mockery of the sacrifice of Christ for their sin because they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong. Jesus made amends for the sin of mankind and instead of it being honored by all of mankind many choose to mock him for it. What will we do with Jesus’ sacrifice?
2) Pilate didn’t want to deal with him (4-16). (4) If Pilate found no basis for a charge against him then why did he turn Jesus over to have him flogged (1)? Luke 23:16 says that Pilate’s plan was to punish Jesus then release him. (5) “Here is the man” As if to say, “There, see how beaten up he is? Isn’t that good enough for you?” Pilate thought the Jews would see his tortured body and be satisfied with that and then have pity on him and drop the whole matter of crucifixion. However, the Jews were relentless in their pursuit of death for Jesus (6). We can’t negotiate with those who are bent on evil. We can’t compromise on Jesus to try to appease non-Christians; it won’t work. “You take him and crucify him”. Pilate didn’t want to deal with Jesus. He tried to pass him back off to the Jews. “You’re the ones who want to kill him so badly, go and do it yourself”. But that wasn’t going to work. (7-9) “He was even more afraid”. He was already afraid of what these angry Jews would do if he let Jesus go. Now, upon learning what specifically the Jews were charging him with and that it was the worst crime imaginable to a Jew, Pilate became even more afraid. He may also have been afraid of who he was really dealing with. Pilate believed in polytheism (the belief in multiple gods). He believed that the offspring of such gods were able to visit mortals. Pilate wondered if Jesus could be such with the claim that he was the Son of God and with Jesus telling him earlier that his kingdom was not of this world. So, Pilate asks Jesus, “Where are you from”. He didn’t mean from what land, Pilate knew the region where Jesus was from, he meant from what otherworldly place. Jesus didn’t answer him. Perhaps because Jesus already told him his kingdom was not of this world. Pilate was wavering back and forth. He was asking for more information; more evidence. Perhaps Jesus didn’t give him an answer because earlier he gave Pilate the opportunity to know the truth and Pilate scoffed, turned and walked away; thus indicating that Pilate wasn’t really interested in knowing the truth. People today go back and forth. They show some desire for a while but then they stop. They come to church for a while then they vanish for a while, then you see them come back again. They want more information; they want more convincing evidence. Perhaps they will get more if they’re really looking for the truth. If not, Jesus will be silent. Some people don’t need more information, they don’t need more evidence because they’ve been given enough; they just need to believe what they’ve already been shown. (10-11) “I have the power”. Here’s Pilate, who was afraid that Jesus might be the son of a god yet now he, a mortal, arrogantly tries to tell this Son of God that he has more power than he does. Jesus is like, ‘you have no power over me. I will be crucified of my own willingness; not yours. God has all the power; and he allowed you to have what you now have’. “Guilty of a greater sin”. Not sure who is meant here. Some suggest Caiaphas, others Judas while still others signify the Jews. In any event, why they were classified as having committed a greater sin was because they knew more about Jesus then Pilate did. Whether it’s Caiaphas, Judas or the religious leaders they all were fellow Jews who knew more about Jesus yet still wanted him dead as opposed to than Pilate, a foreigner, who didn’t really know Jesus and didn’t want him dead but would later condemn him to death because of his fears. Everyone has to decide what they are going to do with Jesus. However, those who continue to reject him despite knowing more about Jesus, having experienced more opportunities of Jesus trying to get through to them, will be held to a greater accountability. The more we know, the more we experience the less excuses we will have as to why we continued to reject him. (12-15) Pilate was now in a dilemma-if Jesus was the son of a god and he handed Jesus over to be killed he was going to anger the gods. But if he let Jesus go he would incite the Jews to rioting and they would get word to Caesar that he let a known threat to the Roman establishment go free; which would seal his fate for sure. We will face those dilemmas too. We know the right thing to do but in so doing we might upset certain people. We may not want to deal with it but we know we have to. Pilate was also probably remembering what his wife had said to him earlier Matt. 27:19, “While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.” What would Pilate do? He believed Jesus was innocent yet he wasn’t willing to deal with the fallout if he acted on his conscience and ruled in Jesus’ favor. Although Pilate really didn’t want to condemn him, he caved in to the pressure (“no friend of Caesar’s”). He found no fault in him yet would not let him go (16). Matt. 27:24-26, “When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” All the people answered, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.” Pilate tried to get himself off the hook but in the end it was still him that gave the order to crucify, even if he himself didn’t want to do it. People today want to avoid dealing with the difficult question regarding what they will do in response to the invitation to salvation. They try to wash their hands of it, they want to claim innocence but they can’t. Pilate didn’t want to deal with Jesus but in the end he had to; he made the decision to hand him over to be crucified. Pilate chose to be a friend to Caesar rather than be a friend to Jesus. He feared man more than God. Ironically, in the end, what he feared and wanted to hold onto he lost anyway a short time later. The Jewish historian, Josephus, states that Pilate lost the position he tried so desperately to retain. In 36 AD Pilate was called to Rome to answer complaints brought against him and his governorship ended. What did Pilate’s compromise buy him? A few short years of luxury. What will a man give in exchange for his soul? Pilate didn’t want to deal with Jesus but he had to-so do we.