2 Chronicles 34-36 John 19:1-22
“After this, Pilate tried to let Jesus go. But some in the crowd cried out, ‘Anyone who makes himself king is against Caesar. If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar.’” (John 19:12 NCV)
Pilate’s predicament grew as he sought the right way to deal with Jesus. He was the judge. He was justice personified for the Jews. Yet, rather than do what was just, he ended up crucifying Jesus. Jesus partially forgave him, noting that the worse sin was committed by the one who had turned Him over to Pilate. I wonder if Jesus meant Judas or used “man” to refer to all those who had taken part in the Jewish Kangaroo Court. His final attempt to free Jesus ran into this statement: “f you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar.” He backed off his advocacy, and while making one last attempt to free Jesus, he eventually gave in and sent Jesus on to be crucified.
Pilate ran into an interesting trap that Christians fall into often. He let Jews, who despised Caesar under normal circumstances and denied Caesar’s right to rule over them, define what it meant to be a friend to Caesar and, in essence, a true Roman. Christians fall into a similar trap. They let others define what it means to be a Christian. It’s amazing how often people who claim not to believe the Bible pull verses out of context to support a fringe belief that goes contrary to the whole Bible. They say, or imply, “If you’re a Christian, this is what you have to do.” Sometimes other Christians will do the same thing – usually to support a particular cause. Perhaps the most egregious example of that in history was when some Christians, fighting for prohibition, used the verse “Taste not, touch not, handle not.” (Colossians 2:21) as their theme. The verse just before that verse says, “don’t follow rules like these:” Don’t let others define your relationship to Christ by “a Christian wouldn’t do this” or by taking Bible verses out of context. Develop your relationship to Christ by reading God’s word daily, communing with Him in constant prayer as you go through your day, and seeking His guidance in all you do. Then, walk in humble confidence with God, examining your thoughts and attitudes – keeping them all in line with the love of Jesus.
Lord God, there are so many who seek to tug me towards their understanding of You. Sometimes they’re right, sometimes they’re wrong. Help me as I seek to follow You so that I will be true to Your calling on my life and not go the wrong way for fear of man.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.