Todays readings.. 1 Chronicles 13&14, Ezekiel 26, Luke 23
Pilate was the most powerful man in Israel in the days of Jesus. But he was strangely helpless in carrying out his own desire to let Jesus go free, though he said “I find no guilt in this man,” (Luke 23 v.4) adding, “nothing deserving of death has been done by him” (v.15) “I will release him” (v.16 and again v.22)
After all these declarations, it is strange how Pilate gives in. When we compare the different gospel records we get a clearer picture, one issue being that Jesus was claiming kingship. Pilate queried him on this, but said Jesus, “My kingdom is not of this world (or age)”
So Pilate, the most powerful man in Jerusalem was indifferent to truth and justice and gave in to the demands that Jesus should be crucified; the biased and prejudiced jealous men got their way.
There is a parallel today to what happened at that time.. Like the voices of the prejudiced religious leaders of that age, so today we have the insistent voices (and writings) of the atheistic and agnostic intellectual leaders – and throughout my lifetime they have been getting louder!
The great majority argue that evolution is true, there is no God. They are no better than the Jewish leaders in the time of Jesus who blindfolded their minds to the heavenly power Jesus displayed.
When you add all the evidence together from Scripture – and the background of secular history in the first centuries the intelligent mind becomes certain it all happened. We have a firm foundation for our faith that Jesus did rise from the dead and is the coming king and is the only eternal hope for our godless world.
Just as the resurrection of Jesus astonished the Jewish leaders – and those still alive died in the later destruction of Jerusalem, so the return of Jesus will astonish the world – also those who do not believe the Bible and are not ready for his coming; instead being convinced there is no God. All will perish, but many only after they have seen the folly of their beliefs: many will first see, in some measure, the wonders of his kingdom – and the fulfilment of the prayer, “They kingdom come, thy will be done on earth.”
What do we really believe? Are we influenced by the spirit that surrounds us, as Pilate was? If we are, we are not ready for his coming! That will be a tragedy, and the “guilt” will be ours.