Pilate’s Plight

When I read of the events that led up to Jesus’ death on the cross I am overcome with emotion.  In great detail the writers of each Gospel paint a master portrait that leaves its spectators in utter dismay and awe.

In the book of Luke, as these events unfolded before Pilate he found himself overcome, and in an act of desperation the following event took place:

“When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that a riot was starting instead, he took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd, and said, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood.  See to it yourselves!’  All the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!”  Then he released Barabbas to them.  But after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified.”

Matthew 27:24-26

Overcome with a wide spectrum of emotions Pilate attempted to leave his position of authority, if only for a moment.  By washing his hands, he made a statement that he hoped would release him of the guilt that was quickly pursuing him.  “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” Pilate quivering lip spoke “See to it yourselves.”  After finding no fault in Jesus, being warned by his wife, and offering the release of a barbaric criminal in Jesus’ place, Pilate was at the end of his rope.  Pilate had exhausted plans A-Z, and wished to removed as far from the situation as possible.  He washed his hands.

Here’s the problem.

Innocence is never provided by self-proclamation.  Pilate couldn’t reconcile the death of Jesus by washing his hands in water.  Its strange how we use the same strategy as Pilate.

Instead of making difficult righteous decisions we make the easy decisions and try to pass the guilt to someone else.

The following statement by the blood-thirsty spectators rung true for Pilate, for themselves, and even to us:  “His blood be on us and on our children!”

The punishment of the execution of Jesus does not lie merely on the people that were present for the occasion.  It’s guilt doesn’t only haunt Pilate, but it convicts all of humanity for breaking God’s laws.  John 3:19 states “This, then, is the judgement:  the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil.”

None of us can be clear from this guilt unless we accept the Holy Sacrifice.  Unless we repent of our sins  and have faith(Acts 20:20-21), believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, and confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9-13).  Our sins can be forgiven through this perfect sacrifice.

Washing ourselves with water and excuses doesn’t work, but the blood of Jesus Christ washes all sins away!

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Jesus Knocked them Off of their Feet

In reading through the Harmony of the Gospels I have arrived at Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, and came across an astounding event that I have never recognized before.

In Johns account of the betrayal in the garden, He mentions an event that has never caught my eye until now.  In John 18:6 it stands out so tall that I must have been blind to not have seen it until now.

When He (Jesus) told them, “I am He,” they (the mob) stepped back and fell to the ground.”

It’s one thing to say to your friends that you could call down angels to defend you, and another entirely to speak a mere three words that are filled with such power that it literally knocks your adversaries to the ground.

Its easy to see in this event how easily Jesus could have detoured the cross.  If three words knock your foes to the ground, then why worry about the fight.  Six words could paralyze them, and twelve words would leave them gasping for breath.

But these words were filled with such power, “I am He.”  Literally meaning “I am.”  The same Name that God utters to Moses from the burning bush, the same Nam that He spoke to Isaiah.  Jesus is “I AM.”  Not “I was,” “I am currently,” nor “I will be,” but I AM!  From the beginning of the world He was set to be the Holy sacrifice for our sin, from the beginning of time the Cross was set before Him, and from the foundation of the world His resurrection was imminent.

It’s amazing to know that moments before the cross His words knocked people off of their feet, yet He still went to the cross in obedience.  He went for you and I.

His words still knock people off of their feet today!  And I serve Him, won’t you?

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Just Because You’re not Paranoid, It Doesn’t Mean They’re not Watching You!

You are always being watched.
Especially as a Christian people are always watching you, whether you want them to or not.
They are observing how you react to certain situations, your language, your body language….everything.
It’s important to always guard your steps.
When I was younger, in the youth department of FBC Beebe I met a wonderful mentor named Brian Murphy.
He taught me how to play the guitar, and though he was not aware of it, he taught me how to be transparent.

One Sunday afternoon during our Discipleship Training hour, Brian made a comment (not directly to me, but I heard it) about something that had happened to him that afternoon.
I’m still not sure of the details to this day, but I’ll never forget what he said “This afternoon, I was given a test, and a I failed it miserably.”
I had never heard another believer say this before!
Brian was commenting on something that had happened between church services in which God had given him a test/opportunity to serve Him, and Brian felt as if he had failed.
This came as a shock to me, but it also came as a relief.
This statement perplexed, and freed me at the same time.

As I studied it further in the Bible I found that we are called to be Holy, but that we are still human and that there is nothing that we can do that can inherit, achieve, or maintain our salvation!
I learned to be transparent in that moment.
To live openly.
To confess when I had (have, or will) do wrong, and to keep running the race.

Brian never knew that he left that legacy to me, but it has kept me out of a lot of trouble.

Martin Luther, father of the protestant reformation, felt the same freedom as he read over Ephesians 2:8-10.
8 For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are His creation—created (A) in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time (B) so that we should walk in them.

This is the encouragement for believers today.
Live for Jesus, and when you mess up, don’t act like you are Him and hide your fault, reveal it…confess it, and find freedom!
(1 John 1:9)

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Leo Fields

When someone close to us dies, we find ourselves wishing that we could have spent more time with them.  We reason that if we could have just spent that extra hour with them we would have been satisfied.  If we could have just said “I love you,” one more time.  If we could have hugged them and told them how much of a difference they made in our lives one more time, we would feel better.

But it doesn’t work like that.

If we were to resign all of our responsibilities today to spend the rest of our lives hugging the ones we love, telling them we love them, and how much they mean to us…it still wouldn’t be enough.

There’s just not enough hours in our day, not enough days in our year…it would still just be insufficient.

Proverbs 17:17 (HCSB) says this about a friend

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a difficult time.”

Leo resembled this verse.  It was almost as if he inserted himself into the verse.  If you were sad, he would make you laugh.  If you were mad, he would calm you down.

If you were being taken advantage of, Leo would stand up for you.

Leo loved and served without discrimination.

I know that you are finally in a place that’s big enough for you!

See you soon man, you were always last, so I know you’re first now.

The Holy Bible : Holman Christian standard version. 2003 (Pr 17:17). Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers.

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