John 18 Evil Hates Truth

DSCN4379 What was Pilate thinking when he got the response from the Jews? He was clueless that they could hate their own true king so much as to want Him dead. How could they miss it so? In his own short questioning, the authority was undeniable. Pilate called Jesus King of the Jews, and it enraged them.

When evil intent hears truth they don’t want to hear, it just might enrage the hearer. Don’t be surprised by the anger, the tirade or the reaction I might get when confronting evil with truth.

In Pilate’s situation, the Jews response to his offer to release Jesus as the Passover release customary on that day is met with anger. They wanted a thief over life; death rather than all life; they preferred one who steals that which belongs to another, that one is valued over the One who is the giver of all.

  • How can I discern when someone is not on the Lords side?
  • What choice do they make?
  • What do they value in relation to life and death?
  • Who do they value?
  • Do I value Jesus over my own life?

I pray Lord, if ever tested on this point, I will trust You over fear, trust in You, author of all life, over the voice of evil and death.

Forgive us faulty humans Lord Jesus, my King!

Choose life and the giver of life, choose Jesus!

John 18 A Response to Truth: Jesus Is NOT GUILTY

Pilate, in the face of truth, walks away from Jesus asking what is truth? Pilate’s world was filled with spiritual options, and many gods, many faiths, many practices. Sounds a lot like today with the celebration of diversity taking a priority over truth! Truth, had become unknowable, certainty an impossibility. Does that sound like today’s babble with the “what is true for you is not necessarily true for me”?  Thus, like Pilate, many walk away confused and without hope.  img_4956.jpg

  • Am I also guilty of asking a question and then walking away because I don’t really want the answer- for that would make me accountable?
  • Have I, like Pilate, given up hope while asking a question when the only one who could and would answer me is right next to me- yet I walk away?

Pilate was deeply affected by the presence of the King Jesus who challenged him with the truth of who He is. Pilate refused to turn Jesus over to the Jews. He proclaimed Jesus innocent. I find no guilt in Him. It is proclaimed for all history, for me, for you. Jesus is not guilty.

John 18 Authority Speaks to Authority

Jesus speaks to Pilate. He begins to answer Pilate’s question on what He has done, as owner of a kingdom, (an other – world kingdom.) This answer falls on the Roman ears in a startling manner. Romans believe in many gods, in many spiritual realms and Pilate may understand that before him now stands “a god” from the realm beyond his understanding. Clearly to Pilate, Authority has spoken to his own authority. Ah ha! So He IS a king! Pilate so concludes to Jesus confirmation. That must delight Pilate at first to think he is beginning to get the picture. I imagine it unfolded further in his mind as he puts it together .

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a born king

an other world king

a truth king

Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. Pilate hears a challenge? What does Pilate think he is hearing, comprehending and needing to do- a man of authority in one world is confronted by a king born here, into the world where Pilate is set up to judge him,  yet belonging to another world.

Who is really in charge?

If ever one must stand before human authority, will we stand under and through the Holy Spirit? I read of a woman who was from Iran, a believer who was afraid that she might be arrested and she knew she could not withstand questioning and might give away the names of those she led in her small secret house church. She prayed she would not be arrested. But she was. And she was terrified. But when they took her for questioning the Peace of God came upon her and she found herself witnessing truth, love and compassion. This happened each time she was taken from solitary for questioning. Fear in between, peace under trial. In the end, she was released, and her questioner came to Christ along with his family. This encourages me. I can trust that under trials, which may come, my God, Jesus, His Holy Spirit, will fill me with His peace, and give me all words to speak.

Just as Jesus spoke truth to authority then, He continues to speak truth through believers. Will I trust Him for my own needs today?  Who is really in charge?

 

John 18 The Ministry of Truth

IMG_4554Because Pilate is in the position of authority, he has an opportunity to experience true witness from The One who is Faithful and True – not that he knows this.

Jesus in turn, is ministering truth to Pilate, even in His final hours, Jesus reaches out to the very one who will send Him to the cross, just as Jesus allows and expects and even planned.

What have You done? ” is Pilates next question to Jesus. His questions sound like he is annoyed and frustrated to be thrust so early in the morning into this confusing circumstance. Perhaps he is thinking ‘how can I comprehend you crazy subjects who deliver your own guy up to me, for me to deal with’

  • Do I get thrust into situations where I must deal with something, someone, some problem where I need to ask the basic ‘why are you here with me?
  • What am I to do?’
  • Or am I experiencing the side where I have been shoved into a place of judgment?
  • Will I minster love and truth to the ones who judge me?

John 18 Intentional Questioning

IMG_4554Based on the complaint that Jesus was a criminal, and the crowd was calling for the death penalty, Pilate goes inside to where Jesus is, indeed, as the Passover lamb in human flesh, outside the holy walls, The Perfect Sacrifice stands and listens to Pilates question: Are you the King of the Jews? Certainly Pilate knew what happened a few days ago as Jesus entered this Roman controlled backwater town he was in charge of administering.  He had to know something of the reputation of whom he was dealing with. I wonder what was going through Pilate’s mind as he walked back and forth between the Jews and Jesus? ‘What’s the true story here? What is right? and I must be careful’

  • Why do I ask the things I ask?
  • Do I want to really know who Jesus is or do I just want to be careful, to CYA?
  • Do I ask because of what others say?
  • Do I seek God out of duty or true desire?

Lord, cleanse me of my wrong questions. Let me seek You with a true and honest heart, searching for You with all my heart -for You promise to be found that way.  As I grow in my knowing You, keep me honest with myself and with You.

John 18 Enough

According to Matthew 26:2 at the last supper Jesus had said: you know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the son of man is to be delivered up for crucifixion. He had said before they left for Jerusalem in Matthew 20:18-19 behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will deliver Him to the Gentiles, to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up. Mark and Luke also report this prophecy Jesus spoke and that His best friends did not comprehend it at the time. This was not the first time Jesus had alluded to how He would die. John has three other times, 3:14, 8:28 and 12:32. Jesus made it clear that the incident of Moses “lifting up” the serpent in the wilderness to heal the dying was a prophetic example of how He must be lifted up to save the dying world from the power of death itself.

IMG_4944The desire of those who bring Jesus before Pilate is a desire to kill the One whom will save them. It was not just to put Him to death, Jewish authority had the power to stone people but to take it to Pilate was to specify a death reserved for the worst criminals, a death without honor, a death filled with shame, a death fully naked before the public view. They were after much more than simply to have someone killed.

What went through the minds of Peter and John as they heard this? Were they starting to remember the prophecy and understand or were they still in shock, unable to comprehend what was unfolding? When I have gone through shock, life becomes a blur and there is no ability to understand the events as they unfold. There is a super heightened awareness of moments that sear themselves into my memory, never to forget the visual moment. Perhaps some people have that experience and remember words, for me the visual has precedence over the words. Although there are a few times the words, or at least the gist of them are just as powerfully kept locked in my brain. Were these two men, Peter and John now connecting those dots? Or were they still fumbling around just to survive the ongoing trauma?

Lord, let me trust You in times of trauma, turn to You to carry me through, to comprehend the incomprehensible, to know that in the midst of all this trauma, You have a perfect and good plan. I may not be able to follow what it is, but I can trust You and obey You in the moments as they unfold before me. You are enough!

John 18 Vague Accusation

Recap. A handful of Jewish officers, under the authority and behest of the high priest and his father in law, in the middle of the night, roused the Roman troops of hundreds, to arrest the man, who days earlier, had been welcomed by massive crowds of Jews who have traveled to Jerusalem from all over the country and beyond to celebrate Passover. They had called him their king and held a spontaneous parade and now, in the early morning hours of the Passover day, they stand in the yard outside the governors office wanting the governor to come out to them to talk because they hold to a rule that says they can’t eat Passover dinner if they defile themselves, which entering his place would do.

Right. Let’s be on the Govenor’s good side. Let’s make his life easier. Yet they may think they are doing such a thing. They may see their actions as preventing an uprising, which both groups would be keen on.

camel 5Pilate has to leave his office, his place of work, to go outside to conduct the interview with the arrested man. First he demands to know the accusation. I suspect he is not excited and happy to be outside just now, it’s very cold, remember? He gets a rather vague answer from the accusing authorities. In fact, it’s rather an odd answer to the very direct question. What accusation do you bring against this man? Pretty straightforward, what did he do? Now if your child were to answer your direct question with a defensive remark like this one, I think little red warning flags would be going off in your head. If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered him up to you. Translate to “if little Johny had not been a bad boy, we wouldn’t be here to tell you.” Really? All that was asked was what did he do, and this is your answer? What did he do!

Pilate is the Roman judge. He judges when Roman laws are broken. Local laws, like our state laws, are judged at the local, not the federal level. Pilate hears that no Roman law has been broken by this non-accusation accusation. The vague charge receives a vague reply. He tries to send them home. But then they declare they are after a death penalty, which can only be given out under Roman authority, not local. Sigh. It’s instantly clear what they are after (and it is for prophecy that it is logically so.) Pilate must continue to investigate now.

Watch out for vague accusations that seem harmless at first, for behind them might lurk dangerous plans. Evil is rarely direct. Plans for destruction and death are often wrapped in vagueness, falsehood and deceit.

Lord, keep me alert and prepared for the trickery and deceit of evil. Make me wise in my response to vague accusation and alert to potential dangers.

John 18 Sham Piety

IMG_0385v.28 They led Jesus therefore from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium in order that they might not be defiled, but might eat Passover.

The above is a little insight into the ways of evil. First, those intent on harming Jesus work through their own legalistic set ups, propped up by the ruling political authority. Then, after striking out on their own middle of the night kangaroo courts, they turn in the early hours of the morning to the political courts, the Roman halls of government, in this case. They act as though they are not “participating” by standing outside, as if this will not “defile” them. But they have entered ‘enemy territory’ mentally and spiritually and are indeed defiled. The intent of evil defiles them.

  • In what areas of my own life, do I enter mentally but not physically into places that defile me?

Lord forgive me! Make me aware of my own hypocrisy and cleanse me from my wrongdoing. Cleanse me. Renew a right spirit within me.

John 18 Shame and Community

DSCN0976Oh Peter, what anguish of heart, soul and mind you were feeling. How painful was that cock crow, that knowing gaze from your Master? Was it a slap in your face? How awful a crash to your pride and self image. You had convinced yourself you would die for him, with Him, but you ran. You hid. You denied. You had no clue what that would look like and feel. Now that the time had come, and you discover you cannot keep your bold promise, you see yourself as a failure, a liar, a betrayer, at a complete loss. How horrid these next days! I am so glad for you that you did not desert your friends, but you sat with them in that upper room, locked away but not alone in your grief. You did not isolate yourself but you and your friends stayed together.

  • When I discover my own ultimate weaknesses, do I stick with my friends or do I isolate?
  • Do I lean further on faith and trust and wait for God to do the next thing?
  •  Here it is again:  Trust and obey,  for there is no other way.  No other way.  No other way to be happy in Jesus but to trust and obey.

John 18 Failure to Witness

Jerome to Sedona 7Already, the work of Jesus in the garden to one of the least of these, was bearing fruit. Peter had sliced off the ear of a slave. Jesus had healed that man.  At the warming fire, in the courtyard of Caiaphas, from a Roman officer first and now by a slave, (a relative of the man Peter had struck) asked Peter if he was not indeed in the garden at the arrest of Jesus. This man who questioned Peter had been there, had been bowled over at the declaration I Am, and had seen the attack by a disciple on his relative and in the dim light of those lanterns had also seen the healing. Doubtless the two relatives had discussed this at whatever opportunity they had on the march from the garden to Annas’s house and now at Caiaphas’s. He must have had very personal questions about whom this man was who could do such a thing. What was at work in his heart? Full of wonder and a desire to comprehend the current goings on, here was hope he could perhaps understand something about this miracle done for a slave of Rome by hearing from Peter.

Yet Peter again denies Jesus and the cock crows. Oh, what arrows through Peter’s heart as Jesus captured his gaze! Luke tells us this. Peter goes off and cries at his own failures. He is a completely broken man. The kind God can use when surrendered to Him.

And the slaves?  What of these men?

  • When I fail to acknowledge God, will someone else fill the gap?
  • When another has missed an opportunity to witness, will I step up and claim knowledge of Christ and share Him with others?