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When the truth was finally laid out, three facts remained—Jesus was innocent, the crucifixion was a farce and the Jewish leaders would denounce all things dear to complete their political plan. The longer Pilate listened, the more he knew Jesus was not a criminal—especially one deserving to die. He tried every loophole to avoid pronouncing judgment. Sadly, however—he was matching wits with the Jewish leaders—the masters of loopholes. In the end, he had no personal interest or desire to cause an uprising—so he gave in.
The Jewish leaders, however, were willing to break every rule and do anything necessary to rid themselves of Jesus. The ultimate test and proof was the call of allegiance—We have no King but Caesar. These men, the “men of God” easily changed their tone and publicly bowed to their earthly king, simply because it was politically expedient. What they REALLY meant was “We have no king but our own self-interest.”
In today’s culture, men are faced with the same choice—who will they serve. And while the names vary—God, money, beauty, entertainment, power and so many more; the ultimate choice is either God or Self. As with the Jewish leaders, the proof lies in what we are willing to do for our king. If we serve God, we must be willing to humble ourselves and follow his lead. If we do, our thoughts and actions push toward honoring and becoming like the Lord. Conversely, if we choose self, our actions, words and thoughts ultimately support our personal agenda and our personal gain—it is inevitable. But, in the end, following Christ means freedom, and following self interest means slavery and chaos.
Bob Dylan said it best—“You gotta serve somebody. It may be the Devil or it may be the Lord, but you gotta serve somebody!”(Bob Dylan—Long Train Coming) In the book of Joshua, Joshua tells the people of Israel that each must make a similar choice—God or self. I join in his choice—“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:15)
God Bless You
Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. 2 The soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they put a purple robe on him. 3 “Hail! King of the Jews!” they mocked, as they slapped him across the face.
4 Pilate went outside again and said to the people, “I am going to bring him out to you now, but understand clearly that I find him not guilty.” 5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said, “Look, here is the man!”
6 When they saw him, the leading priests and Temple guards began shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
“Take him yourselves and crucify him,” Pilate said. “I find him not guilty.”
7 The Jewish leaders replied, “By our law he ought to die because he called himself the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was more frightened than ever. 9 He took Jesus back into the headquarters[a] again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. 10 “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?”
11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.”
12 Then Pilate tried to release him, but the Jewish leaders shouted, “If you release this man, you are no ‘friend of Caesar.’[b] Anyone who declares himself a king is a rebel against Caesar.”
13 When they said this, Pilate brought Jesus out to them again. Then Pilate sat down on the judgment seat on the platform that is called the Stone Pavement (in Hebrew, Gabbatha). 14 It was now about noon on the day of preparation for the Passover. And Pilate said to the people,[c] “Look, here is your king!”
15 “Away with him,” they yelled. “Away with him! Crucify him!”
“What? Crucify your king?” Pilate asked.
“We have no king but Caesar,” the leading priests shouted back.
16 Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified.