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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The coronation of contempt

John 19:1-3…

Here we are now, the picture of perversion. Just because people don’t understand the full weight of what they are doing doesn’t mean they aren’t doing it. And they are doing it with malice. They don’t just deny the divinity of Jesus they defy it. They don’t just mock the King of Kings they are malicious against Him. This is the pit of hell that the unbeliever must be rescued from.

If you are a Christian, this is what you have been rescued from. Yet there are those who don’t believe that they are capable of inflicting such injustice on an innocent man. But this ugly scene plays out day after day. This is what is in the hearts of men. Here we can see clearly what the human heart is capable of. Every human heart, that is.

People do it today. They have contempt for Jesus and the people who follow Him, and would wipe them out if they thought they could, and they often do.  The human heart is not near God, it is completely afar off from God. If pressed it will lash out against that which is true Life and embrace the violence of death, and inflict destruction upon others.

It is in the context of man’s malice that we truly see man’s misery. Yet with our Lord in this position we truly see God’s majesty, His grace under fire (Matthew 5:38-42). It is when we see the heights of His holiness compared to the depths of our depravity that we see the measure of God’s love.

Just remember, when the world strips you bare, beats you down, burdens you and breaks you, Jesus was there for you (1 Peter 4:12-14). He was there first. He took the beating and He took care of the eternal penalty of people just like you. 


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Crowd control

Matthew 27:15-21 / Mark 15:6-11 / Luke 23:13-19 / John 18:38-40…

Imagine the scene here. Pilate, the Roman governor, was scrambling for a solution. The pressure was mounting to do something about Jesus. But He couldn’t find any fault with Jesus. He was suspicious of the motives of the Jewish leaders and the charges they were bringing against Jesus. He had sent Jesus away to Herod to be tried, but Herod had sent Him back.

The evidence of His innocence has also been mounting. Judas, His betrayer had declared Him innocent. Pilate knew of the fanfare that surrounded Jesus upon His triumphal entry into Jerusalem only a few days before. Pilate himself thought that He was innocent. Pilate’s wife also thinks He is innocent. Only the chief priests and other religious leaders seem to be against Him.  

Yet those religious leaders will not relent. They want blood. Pilate tries to pit the leaders against the people, offering up the notorious criminal Barabbas as a substitute. Surely the people wouldn’t let this menace loose again. But the leaders would rather let the devil run amok than let Jesus go, and they were master manipulators. They convince the people to let Barabbas go.

It is quite amazing to realize the malice that can be mustered within a mob. Still, most of us believe that we are beyond a mob mentality. We are more mature than that. But hanging around the wrong crowd begins to destroy the way, the will, the word and the worship of Jesus in your life (Psalm 1:1 / 1 Corinthians 15:33). The crowd we are in makes a difference. 

Most of us probably don’t believe that we will ever have to make a decision between Jesus and Barabbas. But the truth is that we do it every day. Lots of little choices we make count for more than we may think. We think it will be so obvious, we think the choice will be easy, we think we are beyond the influence of the crowd.

But remember this; if you don’t believe that you can be deceived, that is when you already are. 


Monday, November 20, 2017

Friends against the faith

Luke 23:6-12…

When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. Because the religious leaders had mentioned that Jesus had come from Galilee, Pilate figured that he had found a way out of dealing with this situation.  Herod was the one who ruled over Galilee, but was in Jerusalem at the time, and so this would have seemed like an ideal solution. Pilate’s authority superseded Herod’s authority, but his decision was not unlike how the Supreme Court will refuse to rule on a case, and will instead send the case back down to the state courts.

When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. Herod had been looking forward to seeing Jesus for some time (Luke 9:9). But make no mistake, Herod was not a friend of Jesus, he only wanted to see Him for a sense of entertainment. Perhaps he could get this miracle worker to become his ally. Still, as the priests and scribes accused Jesus, and after He refused to answer any charges, Herod and his men mocked and sent Him back to Pilate again.

Herod forced Pilate to make the decision, but apparently in such a way as to befriend a man who had been an enemy before (cf. Luke 13:1). They were now friends united in contempt for Christ. It is the same today; enemies often unite in their opposition to Jesus. Indeed it is the world against Christ, but Christ loves His own in the world, and He wins in the end.

The question is whose friend are you going to be (James 4:4)?