Summary: What will you do with Jesus? is a question we often ask of non-Christians. But what about Christians. How do we answer that question?
OPEN: At the turn of the century, the "Des Moines Register" ran a scathing review of an Iowa singing group named the Cherry Sisters. Their reporter wrote that "Their long skinny arms, equipped with talons at the extremities... waved frantically at the suffering audience. The mouths of their rancid features opened like caverns, and sounds like the wailing of condemned souls issued therefrom."
The sisters sued for libel.
In the resulting trial, the Judge asked the sisters to perform their act for him in court... and then issued a ruling in favor of the newspaper.
APPLY: Pontius Pilate was a man trained and commissioned by Rome to act as a judge. If there was a dispute and a decision was to be made, he was the man. In cases like these he was the judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney. And as such, he was trained to ask the kind of questions that would find the truth. Notice what he had already determined
Matthew 27:18 "For (Pilate) knew it was out of envy that they had handed Jesus over to him."
Luke 23:4 "Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, ’I find no basis for a charge against this man.’"
We can tell by Pilate’s questions that he was well trained. His questions were good questions.
I. Perhaps the most critical question Pilate asked that day was: “What shall I do, then, with Jesus?”
It was a good question. But it seemed no one had an adequate answer.
· Who knew the reason Jewish leaders wanted Jesus dead because of their jealousy
· Who knew Jesus was innocent
· Who knew that this was not justice, but mob rule
abdicated his responsibility.
Pilate asks the question... and then refuses to answer it himself. He simply washes his hands of the matter.
"Yes," (it seems he says to the crowd) "I’ll make sure He’s crucified – but it’s not my fault. I don’t want to do anything with this Jesus."
The Jewish leaders’ heard Pilate’s question and reacted differently. They KNEW what Pilate should do with Jesus. And to make sure he did so they urged the people to ask for the release of a base criminal named Barabbas instead of Jesus.
The Crowd heard Pilate’s question and (urged on by their leaders) became an irrational mob scene crying: “crucify Him… crucify Him.” It’s in response to their frenzied cry that Pilate calls for the bowl and washes his hands of the matter. They respond by declaring: "Let his blood be on us and on our children!" (Matthew 27:20)
With that thought in mind, turn with me to Acts 3:11-16
While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon’s Colonnade.
When Peter saw this, he said to them: "Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. YOU KILLED THE AUTHOR OF LIFE, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this.
By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see." (Acts 3:11-16)
Notice, the Gospel message included the fact that the Jesus’ blood was upon them.
It was part of God‘s message and the Jews reacted to it. In Acts 5:25-28 we’re told:
"Then someone came and said, ’Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.’
At that, the captain went with his officers and brought the apostles. They did not use force, because they feared that the people would stone them. Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. ’We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,’ he said. ’Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are DETERMINED TO MAKE US GUILTY OF THIS MAN’S BLOOD.’"
Let me review. Reacting to the question… What shall I do…”
1. Pilate’s response was inadequate
2. The Jewish leaders were irresponsible
3. And the mob’s behavior was like a Jerry Springer audience: cruel and irrational.
None of their responses, however, undermined the fact that Pilate’s question was a good question. In fact, the question is still good today: "What will you do with this Jesus…”