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|Posted on August 6, 2016 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
John 19:12 (ESV) From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.”
Pilate was in hot water for his compassionate desire to free Jesus. He may have also been fearful that Jesus just might be who He said He was. He probably had trepidations about the whole matter by this time. On the one hand, Pilate found Jesus to be an innocent man; but on the other, the Jews were now saying that Jesus’ claim to be a king was an affront to Caesar. So Pilate found himself between a rock and a hard place. He found himself between The Rock and the osmium-headed (denser than lead) Jewish leaders.
John 19:13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha.
Pilate sat down to make the final judgement in the case, but according to Matthew’s gospel, he was interrupted by an urgent message from his wife:
Matthew 27:19 (CJB) While he was sitting in court, his wife sent him a message, “Leave that innocent man alone. Today in a dream I suffered terribly because of him.”
Pilate had pressure from the governmental front, the Jewish religious front, and now the home front. His wife warned him to have nothing to do with the case, but it was a little late for that.
John 19:14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!”
According to the Roman way of reckoning time, this would have been about 6:00 a.m. Pilate called Jesus the king of the Jews. Some commentators believe he was mocking the Jews that the seemingly pathetic figure before them was their king. Perhaps he was trying to point out how ridiculous they appeared for thinking Jesus could be a threat to them. I believe Pilate was beginning to believe that Jesus was the King of the Jews. Some historians record that Pilate’s wife eventually became a believer.
John 19:15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.”
Impatient to see their plan carried out, the Jews shouted, “Crucify him!” Pilate again referred to Jesus as their king, but they claimed to have no king but Caesar. They failed to acknowledge even God the Father as their king! The Jews were not the executioners, but they provided the false testimony that placed the nails in Jesus’ hands and feet.
John 19:16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
Basically, Pilate gave in to their demands because he saw that he was on a virtual hamster wheel. The Jews were relentless in their determination to see Jesus die. Matthew’s gospel reports that He washed His hands of Jesus’ blood and turned Him over to the Jews to be crucified. Of course, Roman soldiers would carry out the sentence; but Pilate was making it clear that he was acquiescing to the Jews’ demands without approving of them.
Matthew 27:24 (NASB) When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.”
Had Pilate allowed the situation to develop into a full-blown riot, he would be seen as not keeping control of the citizens which would be political suicide.
Q – We may see Pilate as a gutless wonder, but there was much at stake for him as he could be removed from being governor in Jerusalem and sent to some terrible outpost by Caesar. Also, remember that Pilate was not a Christian, so he did not have the benefit of the Holy Spirit to guide his decisions and give him strength to stand up for what was right. If you are a believer, you do have that power within you. Do you take time to pray before judging a situation or dealing with an issue? Do you ask the Lord for strength to do the right thing even though it may be viewed as the wrong thing by non-believers or even other believers?
|Posted on August 4, 2016 at 9:50 PM||comments (0)|
Jesus Before Pilate Again
John 19:7 (ESV) The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.”
We ended the last lesson with Pilate saying if the Jews wanted Jesus crucified they should go do it themselves. He did not want to be their puppet or scape goat. Since the Jews were such “loyal” law-abiding citizens of a Roman colony, they could not legally execute someone. So they explained why Jesus should be put to death according to Jewish Law. The Jews viewed Jesus as a blasphemer because in many discourses He proclaimed Himself to be the Son of God which would indicate a definite claim to equality with God.
John 19:8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid.
Why would Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God make Pilate more fearful? First and foremost, he may have wondered, “What if Jesus really is the Son of God?” If He was, Pilate would have to answer to God. If Jesus was not the Son of God, Pilate would have to answer to Rome because only Caesar could claim equality with the gods. Either way Pilate was in a royal pickle!
John 19:9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.
Pilate tried to evoke an incriminating answer from Jesus. I think He was hoping Jesus would declare He came directly from God making Him guilty under Roman law of equating Himself with Caesar. But Jesus did not answer at all.
Reformation Study Bible:
But Jesus gave him no answer. Jesus’ submission to arrest and trial is part of His surrender as a self-offering.
Jesus had already made the decision before time began, before HIStory began to be recorded, to become the sacrificial lamb. So He remained silent:
Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
Jesus had nothing to say because He was tenaciously determined to persevere in obedience to His Father and fulfill His purpose as the sacrificial Lamb of God in order to save believers and increase His forever family.
John 19:10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?”
Pilate is like, “Don’t you know who I am?!” He rebuked Jesus for not answering and reminded Him that he had the power to grant Jesus life or sentence Him to death. Pilate was letting Jesus know that He should want Pilate in His corner. But Pilate did not realize he was powerless to do anything that God the Father had not ordained.
John 19:11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
People only have the authority that God gives us, including rulers like Pilate. All authority ultimately comes from THE AUTHORITY – God.
Romans 13:1 (ESV) Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
Pilate could only do what God allowed him to do, but in this instance God was allowing him to have Jesus crucified for His ultimate glory. This was necessary for Jesus’ earthly mission to be completed.
Q – Are you in a position of authority in your home, work, or church? Do you have the responsibility to lead people and make important decisions? Remember that you have been placed in this position by God and pray for Him to enable you to carry out this purpose to His glory. Also, remember that those in authority over you only have as much power as God allows. We are to submit to earthly authority, but we are also to remember that if an earthly leader commands us to do something contrary to the will of God, we must choose God’s will. We can trust that choosing to follow God is the best path even if it leads to persecution because God is ultimately in control and is the supreme Authority.
|Posted on August 3, 2016 at 12:10 AM||comments (0)|
Jesus’ Kingdom is Not an Earthly Kingdom
John 18:33 (ESV) So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
Pilate had Jesus brought inside and questioned Him privately. This seems to indicate that Pilate had some understanding of the position Jesus found Himself in. Pilate did not believe Jesus as God. He was seeing Him as a man in hot water. Apparently Pilate had heard of Jesus and some of His teaching because he asked Jesus if He was the King of the Jews.
John 18:34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”
Jesus wanted to know if Pilate was asking out of his own belief or understanding or if others had told him Jesus claimed to be King of the Jews. Of course, Jesus knew the answer to the question; but He was trying to get Pilate to analyze his own motives.
John 18:35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?”
Pilate saw only Jews as believing in Jesus as their King, so he responded, “Am I a Jew?” His point may have been that as a Roman, he would not recognize anyone but Caesar as king. Pilate pointed out that the spiritual leaders from Jesus’ own nation had brought Jesus before him for judgement. So he asked Jesus to tell him what “crime” He had committed.
John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”
Jesus answered Pilate’s first question as to whether or not He was King of the Jews by explaining that His kingdom was not of this world. Jesus did not say it directly, but His kingdom is not of this world because it is a heavenly kingdom.
The MacArthur Bible Commentary:
By this phrase (My kingdom is not of this world), Jesus meant that His kingdom is not connected to earthly political and national entities, nor does it have its origin in the evil world system that is in rebellion against God.
Worldly kingdoms maintain power by the sword, but it was not time for Jesus to bring His kingdom rule to earth. There will be a time that He will rule on this earth. This will be when He returns to this world in glory at His second coming. Meanwhile, His kingdom comes to earth inasmuch as He rules in the hearts and minds of His followers.
John 18:37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”
Pilate countered, “So you are a king?” Was Pilate thinking he had gotten somewhere because Jesus admitted to being a king? Jesus tossed back that Pilate was the one who said He was a king. Jesus’ purpose for coming into the world was to declare the truth. Jesus Himself is the Truth. Those who are of the Truth, who follow the Truth, listen to Him with intent to obey the Truth.
John 18:38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”
Pilate asked the question that has come down through the centuries, “What is truth?” He was standing there talking to THE TRUTH and could not discern what truth was. He did not give Jesus a chance to answer but asked it rhetorically. Pilate couldn’t discern the truth and, therefore, could not handle the truth.
John 18:38b After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him…
Pilate admitted that in his expert opinion, in his estimation, Jesus was not guilty of any wrongdoing. He definitely could not find Him guilty of anything warranting the death penalty!
John 18:39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”
Pilate was hoping against hope that the Jews who had brought Jesus to him would do the right thing and allow Jesus to be the one released in honor of the Passover. Notice that Pilate referred to Him as the King of the Jews, maybe sarcastically. He did not see how that was a crime worthy of crucifixion.
John 18:40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.
Barabbas was a notorious robber and had also committed murder during a riotous insurrection. Yet the Jewish leaders infiltrated the crowd provoking them to choose Barabbas, a murderous thief, to be released rather than Jesus. This, too, was a part of the Father’s plan. They were so determined to see Jesus put to death that they would unleash a man like Barabbas and have him back on their streets rather than free the innocent Jesus. All Jesus had done was to elevate and enhance the people’s understanding of the Father and His will, to guide them in the truth, to see the full implications of their scriptures. He led them to more fruitful lives and love for one another. He was above reproach, of great character, and in fact, completely sinless. But per the Father’s design, the people were perfectly content to see Jesus crucified at the hands of the Roman Empire.
Q – Many times we question why bad things happen on this earth. Where was God? Why did He not intervene? His kingdom is not of this world, but He tells us how to be a part of His kingdom – how to be in this world though not of it. He does not, at this time, impose peace on this world externally. He changes individual lives internally. The day will come when He will reign in perfect peace on the earth. But right now, His peace reigns within each believer by the power of His in-dwelling Holy Spirit. Do you have this peace? If not, turn to Jesus today and allow Him to give you the ultimate transformation – inside out.
|Posted on August 1, 2016 at 8:40 PM||comments (0)|
Jesus Before Pilate
John 18:28 (ESV) Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor's headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor's headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover.
After trying Jesus illegally at night, they led Him to Pilate’s headquarters. Like by the hand? He was bound, and they probably led Him with a rope. So He was led like an animal on a leash?
Isaiah 53:7 (NASB) He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.
Wow! Visualizing Jesus vulnerable, seemingly helpless, being led by a rope, overwhelms me with grief. And to think He willingly allowed Himself to be subjected to such treatment on MY behalf! Sometimes if I think about it too long, I almost cannot breathe, to think of such a love being expressed for me!
Then look at the next little scene. These Jewish religious leaders refused to enter Pilate’s headquarters lest they defile themselves and would not be able to participate in Passover. They were about to ask the governor to execute an innocent man. They were about to request that the Son of God be crucified. And they are worried about being defiled by entering the palace of a Gentile?! All they could think about was the all you can eat Passover meal. Ironically, the Passover celebrated the fact that the blood of a lamb protected the Israelites from the wrath of God poured out on the Egyptians when the Lord killed their firstborn children. Now they were about to sacrifice Jesus, the true and final Passover Lamb! The murder in their heart doubly defiled them, but they could not see it.
John 18:29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”
Pilate respected their wish to not enter his headquarters, so he went outside to meet with them. He demanded to know what they were accusing Jesus of. What was His transgression? What crime had He committed?
John 18:30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.”
The Jews were cheeky with Pilate. They did not show proper respect. He respected the fact that they would not come into his headquarters, but they did not respect him enough to give a straight answer. They expected him to condemn Jesus just on the basis of their word that He had committed an offense worthy of death.
John 18:31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
Pilate did not want them to pass the buck to him. He did not understand why they could not try Jesus in their own courts since that was allowed under Roman rule.
John 18:31b The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.”
The exception to being able to try someone in local courts was the death penalty. The Jewish leaders finally say something truthful when they admit it is illegal for them to execute criminals.
John 18:32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.
How do we leap from this to the fact that Jesus was crucified? Jesus had said He would be “lifted up.” The Jewish law called for stoning criminals to death. The Romans were the ones who crucified people. Remember what Jesus said:
John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
“All men” does not indicate that every person will be saved.
Reformation Study Bible:
John 12:32 note: will draw all people. The Cross exerts a universal attraction, and people of all nationalities, Gentiles as well as Jews, will be saved through it. “All” means all kinds of people without distinction, not all members of the human race without exception.
Q – Who killed Jesus? The Jews? Pilate? The Roman soldiers? God? Jesus Himself? Me? You? YES! The Jews plotted to kill Him and accused Him before Pilate (Acts 2:22-23 and Acts 4:10). Pilate sentenced Jesus to death even though he found no fault in Him (Luke 23:4,13-15,22-23). The Roman soldiers carried out their orders without question (John 19:16-18). It was God’s plan from the foundation of the world that Jesus be slain (Acts 2:23, Mark 14:35-36, Revelation 13:8). Jesus willingly surrendered Himself to be killed (John 10:14-18). My sin was the reason He went to the cross, and so was yours (Romans 3:23, 1 John 1:8-10).
|Posted on August 1, 2016 at 1:05 PM||comments (0)|
Jesus Before the High Priest and Peter’s 2nd & 3rd Denials
John 18:19 (ESV) The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.
According to the Reformation Study Bible, this could have been Annas, the former high priest, or Caiaphas in Annas’ house. This should have been a preliminary hearing since the law would not allow a trial until two or more witnesses had established probable guilt. Everything at this point was being unlawfully carried out since these kinds of activities were not to be held at night.
John 18:20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. 21 Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me what I said to them; they know what I said.”
Jesus stated that He had never been secretive about His teaching but had spoken openly not only in synagogues but also in the Temple. Jesus had nothing to hide. Many of these men had heard Him speak, and He invited them to question His followers as well. Jesus’ teachings were public knowledge because He had taught in public places where the Jews gathered. Why should they bother Jesus with questions for which they already knew the answers? Was the high priest trying to trick Him into saying something to incriminate Himself? Jesus may have been demanding that witnesses be called according to the Law.
John 18:22 When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?”
The implication is that he either slapped or backhanded Jesus in the face. The officer may have been passionate about the proper treatment of the high priest thinking Jesus to be insolent by rebuking Annas, but only a coward takes a cheap shot and strikes a man who is bound. The scripture does not say anyone ordered the officer to strike Jesus. He acted impulsively of his own volition. No one had authorized him to strike the prisoner.
Isaiah 50:6 (KJV) I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
The striking of Jesus, and later the soldiers taunting Him was prophesied by Isaiah as seen above. This was all a part of the Father’s difficult but necessary plan. Even though Jesus knew this would be how things went down, He submitted to the Father’s will as He prayed in the garden.
John 18:23 Jesus answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong; but if what I said is right, why do you strike me?”
Jesus confronted the man for hitting Him when all He did was tell the truth. In reality, the officer was being insolent to the King of Kings by striking Him as He spoke the truth. Jesus was asking for a fair trial which was not going to happen. The Bible does not record whether anyone answered Jesus’ question. Perhaps they were shocked and in awe at Jesus’ calm reply to being struck.
John 18:24 Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.
In order for the chain of command dictated by the Romans to be fulfilled, any recommendation to be brought before Pilate had to come from the reigning high priest, Caiaphas, as president of the Sanhedrin. So Annas sent Jesus, still bound, back to his son-in-law to be tried before the Sanhedrin.
John 18:25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.”
The officers and servants in the high priest’s courtyard questioned Peter again as to whether or not he was a disciple of Jesus. Once again, Peter lied to save himself. Obviously, at this point, Peter’s loyalty to Jesus was running very shallow. I think he was “scared spitless.”
John 18:26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?”
The next dude to question Peter may have even been out for revenge since he was a relative of Malchus, the one whose ear was cut off by Peter but healed by Jesus. If I were Malchus’ relative, even though Jesus healed the ear, I might still have a big, fat, juicy bone to pick with Peter.
John 18:27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.
As Jesus had prophesied, Peter denied Him a third time right before the rooster crowed just as the sun was edging up over the horizon.
Matthew 26:72-74 And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.” Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed.
Mark 14:70-71 But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders were again saying to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too.” 71 But he began to curse and swear, “I do not know this man you are talking about!”
Matthew and Mark, above, even record that Peter swore and cursed as He denied knowing Jesus. As we will see later, Jesus forgave Peter and restored him completely. He denied the Lord with cursing, but he did NOT lose his salvation. There was a rift in his closeness with Jesus, but he was still eternally secure. On the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit entered the believers, Peter gave personal testimony and boldly proclaimed the gospel. Three thousand people were added to the church in one day!
Q – Have you ever thought you have totally blown it as far as your walk with the Lord Jesus? Take heart. You can’t blow it much worse than the Apostle Peter did, and look how God used him! When your actions have failed to line up with what you say you believe, repent and ask the Lord to cleanse you. I know from personal experience that if you think you have become completely unworthy, the Lord can make you usable again.
|Posted on July 28, 2016 at 10:10 AM||comments (0)|
John 18:10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant's name was Malchus.)
Peter impulsively shot from the hip, cutting off the ear of the High Priest’s servant, Malchus. Jesus admonished Peter to put away the sword, and Luke records that Jesus healed the ear completely.
Luke 22:51 But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.
Jesus instructed them not to respond to the unjust arrest with violence. He did not want His disciples to be known for violence, but to be known for peace and for their love for one another. Also, His arrest was a part of the Father’s plan.
John 18:11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”
Peter’s heart was sincere, but his response was wrong because he was disrupting the Father’s purpose designed from before time began. Peter’s desire to protect His Lord was honorable, but as when He earlier tried to talk Jesus out of dying, it was not according to God’s will.
Matthew 16:21-24 (KJV) From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men. Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
I’m sure Peter had no intention of tempting Jesus to thwart God’s plan. His rashness sometimes caused him to take things into his own hands, acting before he thought things through. Peter was an “act first, think later” kind of guy.
John 18:12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him.
At Jesus’ urging, Peter put the sword away. Not sure why he thought he could single-handedly fight off a cohort of soldiers in the first place! I’m not sure why the High Priest thought they needed 200 to 600 soldiers to bring in one man! Perhaps witnessing His miracles made them fearful of the power He might unleash. After all, Jesus simply responding, “I AM He,” bowled over all the men, laying them flat on the ground! He didn’t even have to touch them. Jesus willingly surrendered to the band of officers, but they bound Him anyway, treating Him like a common criminal.
John 18:13 First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.
Reformation Study Bible:
18:13 Annas. One of the most influential Jewish leaders of that age. Although deposed from the high priesthood by the Romans, he was still known by this title among the Jews. It is difficult to determine whether this verse and vv. 19–24 represent one or two phases of a trial before the Jewish authorities. Matthew, Mark, and Luke refer to an additional phase before the Sanhedrin. Judging from the description of rules for trials found in the Mishnah of some two hundred years later, the proceedings here were marked by serious irregularities and violations of Jewish law. The Sanhedrin was not supposed to meet at night; the death penalty could not be declared on the day of the trial; there was false evidence, and false witnesses were used (Matt. 26:59, 60); Jesus was exposed to blows from attendants during the trial (v. 22; Mark 14:65). In addition to all this, it was illegal for the Sanhedrin to meet for a capital case on the eve of a Sabbath or a feast day. These violations show that Jesus’ condemnation by the Jewish authorities was a travesty of justice.
Annas was the former high priest as well as being the father-in-law of the current high priest. Both men were trying Jesus unjustly. Both had surely plotted for Jesus’ arrest.
John 18:14 It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.
Caiaphas had prophesied (John 11:50) that it would be better for one man, meaning Jesus, to die for the benefit of all. He did not realize at the time that he was stating prophesy as the high priest but was merely trying to justify murdering Jesus. He did not understand that Jesus did indeed die for all who would believe in Him to save them from sin and into relationship with God.
Q – Aren’t we often like Peter, wanting to speed up God’s processes to suit our own timetable? How hard it is to wait on the Lord and to realize that sometimes hardships are necessary for the best results, for moving us into position to obey His will. If you are eager to resist, to fight, to claw your way through life, stop. Slow down. “Be still and know that He is God,” (Psalm 46:10 (NIV)) or as the NASB puts it, “Cease striving…”