Jesus knew what He was doing. He was rescuing us from the power of sin and death. And He did!
At the climax of Passion Week and Lazarus’ resurrection which led up to it, we find Jesus being interviewed by Pilate. Here is the first interchange between the two:
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.
Pilate asked Jesus point blank if He was king of the Jews. Jesus replied that His kingdom was not of this world. Since Jesus held no threat to Caesar, Rome, or even Israel, there was no basis for a charge against Him. But, the crowd would not consider flogging enough; they wanted Jesus dead. Here is a part of their interchange:
5 When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
6 As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”
7 The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace.
The Jewish leaders knew exactly what they were doing. The problem is that Jesus wrote the very law that they were trying to execute. Jesus had told them earlier, “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life” John 5:38-39. It scared Pilate. Word of a capital execution would get back to Rome and might cost him his position. Here we have the second interchange between Pilate and Jesus:
“Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
This greater sin was the rejection of Jesus as their Messiah. The interesting thing is that after Jesus’ resurrection, ascension, and Pentecost, many priests became followers of Jesus (Acts 6:7). What happened to the Jewish leaders who didn’t accept Jesus as their Messiah? Some may have died during the next 40 years, but many of them died in the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.70.
The point? BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ for life. FOLLOW Him in the Way. Exchange darkness for light, ashes for joy, chains for freedom, and hate for love–His love. JESUS IS MESSIAH! This is what EASTER is all about!
Abba, may we do just that! We celebrate tomorrow Your resurrection. In You, we are resurrected! We await Your return, Lord Jesus. Even so, Come!