Truth, Courage, and Choice (2-4)

Journey, New Year, Isaiah, Corner, New Chapter, Beginning, Dayton, Church of God, Pennsylvania, Sermon Series

Listen Below:

Please remember that sermon notes are meant to act as a guide and may not be exactly what was preached.

John 18:28-19:16

Why was there a governor in Judaea? Herold the Great… see Luke 3

Luke 13 – Pilate mixed the blood of Galiliens with the sacrifice…

Two kinds of provinces in the Roman Empire Imperial and Senatorial…

Pontius Pilate, governor of Judaea will always be remembered for the miscarriage of justice that sent Jesus to the cross. Three times in the book of Acts Pilate is connected to this injustice. One of the oldest creeds, the Apostles Creed, which is repeated regularly by millions of people even today, includes this: “I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.”

There is no loss of love between Pilate and the Jews. His question to Jesus in vs. 35 was more of a rhetorical slur “Am I a Jew” and then his statement that this was not his doing: “Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me.” show that he was truly trying to have nothing to do with this Jewish problem. And with the question, “What have you done?” and Jesus’s answer about being a witness to the truth and saying, “Everyone who is of the Truth listens to my voice.” Pilate asks another question, “What is truth?” but instead of taking the next step and waiting for an answer and with that question till ringing in the air; Pilate returns to the waiting crowd outside and says in vs. 38, “I find no guilt in Him.

He could have taken his next step towards Jesus but instead he turned his back on Truth and stepped away to go to the world…

He is given opportunity after opportunity to come to the Truth… returns…

I would like to give Pontius Pilate some credit here. He did not have much information about Jesus and we see in our passage of scripture that he was puzzled and troubled by Him almost to the point of releasing Him. If you look at what he did to try to get out of doing the Jewish leaders dirty work, “I find no guilt in Him,” and offering him to release one man for the Passover…

Then since they would not accept Jesus and instead asked for Barabbas, Pilate had Jesus flogged in Chapter 19 to appease those that sought his death. But the Jews were even more incited to have Jesus killed when they saw Him dressed as a King crowned with thorns and wearing a purple robe…

But Pilate again states, “I find no guilt in Him” (19:6)  (3 times).

When Pilate hears that Jesus has made himself to be the Son of God, he becomes “more afraid”, as the ESV puts it, and being troubled He asks Jesus where He is from. But Jesus gave him no answer…  

So let’s review:

The Gospel of John goes to great lengths to show that Pilate was forced into a position he did not want, and was being pressured into ordering His execution. Entangled in a mess that was not of his making—He tried:

To get out of the responsibility – vs. 31 Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law

To get around dealing with Jesus by offering to free a prisoner.

Compromise: by having Jesus flogged

He tries to appeal with the crowd/mob by bring Jesus out humiliated and beaten. Thorns, robe, …

With each attempt to release Jesus, Pilate is confronted with The Jewish leaders hatred: We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” And that is where Pilate gets more afraid…

Manipulated into a corner he has two choices: bow down to their demands or do the right thing. Coerced to crucify an innocent man, with the words, “If you release this man you are not Caesar’s friend,”  he washes his hands of the guilt and blame and places the blame for Jesus’ unjust trial and execution on the Jewish leaders.

As we read in chapter 1, “He (Jesus) came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (vs. 11-13).

King Jesus, the Son of God, is rejected and crucified, becoming an innocent substitute for guilty rebels like Barabbas. Like me. Like you.

As Believers we need to set aside our fear of what others are saying or doing or what we think they might say or do and take our Next Step. Either we walk in fear as Pilate did and in the process reject the Truth and serve the World, or we Take our Next Step in courage making the right choices, Truth choices, that Jesus has led us to…

Do you choose to believe and walk in that belief and be an active part of His Church, His Kingdom, or are you stuck in fear, knowing of the Truth, but not acting on it and thereby serving and being a part of the world? “Choose you this day whom you will serve! You can return to what you know and serve the world but as for me…”

Further Reading:

Digging Deeper:

  • How are you being courageous for Jesus?
  • What is Truth for you today?  
  • What choices are you making to live the life of Christ?
  • What is your Next Step in following Jesus?

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