July 21, 2013 – Read the Word on Worship
How many times do we ask ourselves, “What am I to do?” The answer is often to answer the crowds- our friends, family and those whose opinion we value. Usually our decisions are to cede responsibility for our actions to popular opinion and cultural standards. It is often easier to keep our finger on the pulse of society as long as it costs us nothing. We want to satisfy the expectations of our friends; even we know their desire to be less than honorable. How often do we sit in the seat of Pilate? We ask the right question- “What shall I do then with Jesus?” But we get the answer wrong.
Join us this Sunday as we look at Jesus before Pilate as recorded in the Gospel of Mark. “How Do You Shock a Cynic?” Join us tomorrow and find out.
Word On Worship – July 21, 2013 Download / Print
“Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he was aware that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask him to release Barabbas for them instead. Answering again, Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?”
How many times do we ask ourselves, “What am I to do?” The answer is often. To answer the crowds – our friends, family and those whose opinion we value – we usually cede responsibility for our actions to popular opinion and cultural standards. It is often easier to keep our finger on the pulse of society as long as it costs us nothing. We want to satisfy the expectations of our friends; even when we know their desire is to be less than honorable. How often do we sit in the seat of Pilate? We ask the right question – “What shall I do then with Jesus?” But we get the answer wrong.
In the quiet of our own mind and souls we prefer Jesus to the envious and manipulating religious leaders and the rebellious Barabbas, but in the noise of real life we never move further. It is easier to risk nothing than it is to stand next to Jesus in the noise. The difference is whether Jesus is king of the Jews or He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. A king of some other people can be deferred to when it is convenient, but the King of Kings and Lord of Lords requires our utmost devotion and loyalty. In Pilate’s mind, this crucial moment in God’s dealing with mankind’s sinful nature was just another day in his long tenure of dealing with the squabbles of the troublesome Jews.
Jesus took the place of a condemned man. He did not volunteer to die in the place of Barabbas, but was chosen by God to die for all sinful mankind. Jesus took up the bitter cup and took the place of a murderer and all humanity on the cross. To be the victim of leaders who have no moral compass would be difficult for anyone to abide. But it would be particularly difficult for one who brought about so much good in the lives of people. And still every day we turn our eyes away so we can pretend not to see what is taking place. And on this dark day, no one stands up to say stop.
How much have we learned since the day the crowds shouted for the release of Barabbas and for the crucifixion of Jesus? We still prefer the one who represents our narrow personal hopes. Barabbas appeals to our personal interest, with violence if necessary. Jesus holds out a kingdom that will require personal sacrifice and perseverance in this life. One path allows us to defer to the blowing wind of public perception. And when others use tools we do not agree with, that is just the cost of doing business. The other path requires we trust God at a personal cost. We gladly trust God for the afterlife, but do we trust God enough with the here and now if we have to suffer? Do we fear not only the physical pain, but also the blast of disapproval from friends, family and culture when we answer the question of what we will do with Jesus Christ?