Apr 3, 2014

Life's Biggest Question

Matthew 27:22  Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?"

Not a question Pilate wanted to deal with that morning when he woke up.  Pilate was against a rock and a hard place that day.  Things were not going well for him.  He had been governor of Judea for about five years and had pleased nobody.  He was living in a land that wasn’t his and had made some major mistakes that got him in a lot of trouble with both the Jewish community and Caesar himself.  He already had three strikes against him and was hanging on by only a thread as a leader…he didn’t need another religious problem.

Isn’t that how we encounter Christ sometimes?  In the toughest times of life.  The story of Pilate is a great picture of what all of us face at some point when we face the person of Jesus.

Pilate knows that the trial of Jesus had been handled wrong from the start.  He was convicted before the High Priest previous the night.  It was done at night when by Jewish law it should have been done during the day.  It was done at the High Priest’s home, when it should have been done in the temple court.  It was a sketchy trial at best, a mistrial.  Furthermore, the demand for execution was being rushed.  After  a person was convicted the high court members were supposed to fast for three days before a criminal was executed, giving the opportunity for any last minute evidence to come forth.  None of this was done.  They demanded it now.  Pilate had nowhere to turn and the angry crowd knew it.  A riot was being threatened which meant Pilate’s days as governor would more than likely would be over if he didn't do what they demanded.

So, what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?

That’s the question.  The question of eternity.  The biggest question of life.

It is a question that God asks of everyone. 
We all sit in the same place that Pilate sat that day and we must all answer this question.   Whether your life is in the pits or whether you are happy with the way it is…we must all answer the question.  It’s the most important question we face.  It’s the only question that we answer that will last for an eternity. 

It’s a question that no one can answer for you. 
Pilate is pretty clever in the story as he tries to dodge the question.  He turns the question over to the people.  In fact, he even gives them option:  Barabas or Jesus.  Now Barabas was not a great guy at all.   He was a public threat, had led revolts against the Romans, he was bad PR for the Jews, he was a guy that the Jews wouldn’t have wanted roaming their streets.  The last person the Jews would want released, or so Pilate thought.  It was an easy choice for the angry crowd.  Pilate could push his decision about Jesus off and let the people make it for him.  But to his surprise, they picked Barabas over Jesus.   So once again, what is Pilate going to do with Jesus? 

You know the rest of the story.  That day Pilate chose to execute Jesus by crucifixion.  Three days later Jesus rose from the dead, victorious over death.  And as a result, the same question Pilate had to deal with that day is now turned upon us. 

You see, just like Pilate, no one can answer this question for you...not your church, your pastor, priest, your parents, spouse, children, or the majority's vote.  No one can make it for you, it’s your decision.  Only you can answer that question.  And your answer means everything.  The stakes are high and the consequences of your answer last for an eternity: heaven or hell, life or death, freedom or slavery, joy or sorrow, peace or war.

So what about you?  What will you do with Jesus who is called Christ?