Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea at the time of Jesus’ arrest had a dilemma. Should he put Jesus to death knowing that Jesus was innocent or should he anger the crowds and allow Jesus to live?
This question could be boiled down to another one that each one of us face every day. It is the question of whether we wish to please God or please men. And Pontius Pilate was the biggest prime example of this dilemma in the bible.
Today, our current society demands of us to choose. We are bombarded with pleas for us to join in on a march because of political or social injustice. We are barraged with petitions and bombarded with phone calls soliciting support or money to help a cause. We are not only asked but there is a certain air of expectancy. We are appealed to with a kind of expectancy that says that while they are asking us we are really being told what the correct response is. We are expected to agree with them and agree with a wholeheartedness and fervor which the solicitor has. We are expected to not only see their point of view but agree with it to the point that we fight alongside of them.
So, they decry their “gospel” to those of us who already have a gospel. And we who disagree with their opinions of a social or political nature are looked upon as being anti-people rather than anti-issue. But, Jesus warned us about that in the Bible.
At the moment that Jesus stood accused before Pontius Pilate the crowds were crying out that they wanted Jesus crucified. Pilate had had trouble with the Jewish people before and didn’t want an uprising. To Pilate it was one man’s life versus being ousted from his cushy post by Ceasar in Rome. Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent of all charges and this was what created his dilemma. Does he do what he knows is right and stand up for Jesus to the crowd or does he do what he knows is wrong and execute Jesus to please the crowd?
Pilate decided to do some fishing. He asked Jesus a series of questions to try and determine if there was some intent on Jesus’ part to start an uprising that would cause the Roman rulers any problems. Would Jesus try to overtake the government with His new kingdom that He preached? Pilate had not always agreed with the Jewish leaders in the past but he knew there was a buddy system in place with them. The “you agree with me and I’ll agree with you even if we don’t like what the other is doing” was a system that had been in place for a lot longer than Pilate’s lifetime. In the end, Pilate took the cautious way out and tried to wash his hands of the whole mess. It didn’t work in the long-run for Pilate and years later he committed suicide.
I see the stands and issues that I choose to take as having an impact on God’s acceptance of me. God loves me but His acceptance of me is dependent on the choices I make. God still loved Pontius Pilate as he was sentencing an innocent Man to death but God didn’t accept what Pilate was doing. I believe that God had the expectation that when I chose to accept Jesus as my Savior, that I knew that for the rest of my life it all had to be God’s way. I was becoming His servant and He ran the “household” as He saw fit. I knew that I was to have the same mind on everything that Jesus did and does today. So, in a nutshell, if God is for it then I am too. If God is against it then I am too. I now live in His household, under His authority and according to His rules. By God’s taking notice of when I have chosen His way over the way that seems right to society then I am guaranteed an eternal dwelling place with Him in heaven. If God finds that I only had lip service and really didn’t mean what I promised I would abide by when I accepted Christ, then why would He want me in His heaven for all eternity? If we don’t agree here, in this earthly life, then why would Jesus invite me to spend eternity in heaven? So we could fight more? Or so we could carry on our debates there? No, then we’d be robbing heaven of final, lasting peace. Heaven will never be a place of issues, protests, lifestyle choices or political outcries. It will never be a place of tears, sorrows, pain or injustice. We will have NO issues in heaven.
Christians must always keep in mind that this earthly experience is a kind of staging area for the real deal which is eternity in heaven with Christ. This world is not our home. It is a testing ground for God to find out which humans on earth are worthy of His gracious offer to be with Him in heaven for an eternity. If you don’t like Jesus here, you won’t like being around Him for an eternity, will you? It’s His place to rule and reign in as He sees fit and the Bible tells us that Jesus will rule with a rod of iron in the next phase of existence which is His millennial kingdom.
Most of us are now getting pulled into another persons fight, injustice or cause by reason of association. In other words, we know the person and we care about the person. It may be a relative, friend or coworker whom we know to be an outstanding individual that doesn’t deserve the treatment they are getting. It is painful to watch someone we care about being treated horribly. We naturally want to join in their fight and help their cause. We want our opinions to be heard. Jesus may have said the first commandment is to love the Lord, your God with all your heart and soul and might but He didn’t stop there. He said that to love your neighbor as yourself was the next great commandment rule in His kingdom. So, isn’t that what we’re doing when we take up their cause and fight the rest of the world in defense and support of them?
That’s just the thing, you are fighting and defending them. You feel that equates to love but it doesn’t. Love doesn’t fight or need to fight. Love doesn’t exclude even if the other person doesn’t hold your viewpoint. Love doesn’t make a fight and love doesn’t need defending. Love isn’t about a lifestyle or a cause or a candidate.
The other problem I see here is that sometimes people will forgo the first great commandment of Jesus and try to make up for it by doubling down on the second. We think that if just overdo the commandment to love your neighbor as yourself then we’ve filled both of Jesus’ commandments. That is, at least, the lie we use to rationalize not keeping Jesus’ first commandment.
Jesus had no problems when it came to Whom He would stand up for and whom He would stand against. Take a look at this scene…
Jesus had no problem in standing against Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends. He had no problem in standing up for God’s plan over what Peter wanted.
And then there’s this time when Jesus said…
Jesus is letting everyone know that if there is ever a time when there is a family versus God situation we all know Who Jesus would side with, even if it meant going against his own family. Jesus had no problem in siding with God, the Father, even if it meant He needed to stand against his mother and brothers.
Even King David said it in the Psalms when he said…
Here, King David is saying that he will not stand up with anyone who does not stand with God. In fact, he states quite forcefully when he says he hates those who hate God. He loathes those who stand in defiance to God. Loosely interpreted, one might say that people who don’t take God’s way as the law of their life have become King David’s enemies.
You cannot say that you love God and then be for what His word states He is against. Do you really think that your love for the person, by supporting their issue, will win favor with God?
May God bless you and keep you until we meet again.
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