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Pilate and the Post-Modern in Peril

Ron Kelly
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Ron Kelly

Senior Pastor, Village SDA Church, Berrien Springs, Michigan



  • August 29, 2020
    11:30 AM
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This morning I want to bring together how his life and our culture coincide both to take away that which is good in our lives and to remake us into the image of this world and how Christ himself is pleading as he pled for him Take your Bibles this morning go back to our scripture reading in the book of John the book of John Chapter 18 pilot and postmodern in peril you have to remember we're at the end of Jesus' life literally we're coming within hours of his death he's given himself freely for all of us he's not been afraid he's moving to the cross and along the way they'll be much abuse and misunderstanding but there's one more person to save before he gets there and his name is pilot. You may not have looked at this story that way before but that's exactly the case and before we're all said and done I hope we see it I want to ask at the beginning of this sermon Who are you what's your identity some people's identity is in a Nascar driver some people's identity is in a sports person a job another play some people's identity and a successful businessman some people's identity is in some pursuit of pleasure but where is your identity all of us need to understand there is a time coming in which our identity will be forged into either a likeness of the devil or a perfect reflection of Jesus that moment is recorded in the story of John Chapter 18 Jesus has spent the night with his disciples in the garden he was praying they were sleeping and finally after being accosted by the mob on Friday morning they've been in their own little kangaroo court they're done with that but they can't kill Jesus without permission of the Romans thus enters pilot verse 28 John Chapter 18 then they lead Jesus from k I r k I have this into the Praetorian it was early and they themselves did not enter into their terms so that they would not be defiled but my eat the Passover. It's important for us to recognize the geography of the moment and the reasons behind the limitations of movement the Praetorian was a large fortress called The Antonio Pretoria it was located directly against the temple and when I say directly I mean the 2 buildings joined each other not a terribly good testimony of what could begin in the precincts of the Jewish church there were all kinds of riots there was all kinds of tumults and elements of societal civil unrest and the Romans wanted to be right by it and nip it in the bud but k. I have this and the Sanhedrin have done an illegal courtroom setting through the night and now they want to go out and finish the deed but they don't want to be made ceremony impure every Jew of the day believe that being with the Gentile made them unclean and that they could not participate in church services so they know that if they go into the government building there where the pilot is going to pronounce judgment they will be unfit according to their understanding of what holiness means to participate in the festivities that will take place later that afternoon which was the Passover the Passover was a feast in which a lamb was slain in commemoration of the night in Egypt when God took the people out of slavery and set them on the journey to the promised land a lamb was slain and blood was put on the doorpost of of the homes in which the recipients of the blood lived and when the destroying angel came through in the 10th plague and it's all the blood it would pass by those houses thus the name of the festival became the Passover it just turned out that now some 2 and a half some 1500 years later there in a moment where the ultimate Passover Lamb has come they were all symbols Jesus is the reality and what's happening now is they're going to go cellar. Rate the symbol and sacrifice the reality not sacrificing the way Christ's death should come about by sacrificing because in envy and and jealousy they can't stand to have the light of his life shining on the darkness of their religious experience now if you've known a Christian today like the Pharisees or the scribes who is not principled and loving then you might find yourself more closely familiar with the disingenuousness and the hypocrisy of this verse than you'd like to be religion in America has lost its way the principles that would make the church stand out as a glorious representation of goodness have been surrendered to make sure everybody feels good and society goes to pot they won't go in where Pilot is pilot has to come out to them this is the last moments of Christ life verse 29 then pilot went out to them and he said What accusation do you bring against this man Jesus the Son of God Now before pilot now before the Sanhedrin they answered and they said to him verse 30 if this man were not an evil doer we would not have delivered him to you so the pilot said to them take him yourselves and judge in the court into your law and the Jews said to him we're not permitted to put anyone to death all that changes the story. So in order to fulfill the words which he spoke signified by which death he was about to die pilot knew what they meant this is crucifixion it's the Roman way therefore pilot entered again into the Pretoria many summon Jesus and he said to him Are you the king of the Jews in the desire of ages the author writes pilot looked at the man who had Jesus in their charge then his gaze rested searchingly on Jesus he had to deal with all kinds of criminals but never before had a man bearing the marks of such goodness and nobility been brought before him he's looking at Jesus and on the face of Jesus he sees no signs of guilt no expressions of fear no boldness or defiance he saw a man of calm and dignified bearing whose countenance bore not the marks of a criminal but the signature of heaven and pilot finds himself in a dilemma he knows what the Jews are doing and he doesn't know a lot about Jesus but he knows something and he can tell just by looking at him the Jews are blind to themselves and consequentially they are blind to the fact that Christ the sinless spotless Lamb of God is there to pay for their sins but pilot season a little better than even the day pilot knows that Jesus had resurrected Lazarus he knows a little bit about some of his ministry and pilot is not accustomed to just passing judgment without some sense of justice although before he has swept people away who were not guilty by that was not a just a conscientious judge but he was weak and though he was weak in moral power he refused to grant this request he was not going to condemn Jesus until the charge him been brought against him put one up for pilot but the priest want to make sure that Jesus doesn't get out of their grasp Jesus has been asked the question verse 33 Are you the king of the Jews Jesus answered and he says are you saying this or did others tell you about me. Palin answered I'm not a Jew your own nation and the g. priest delivered you to me what have you done Jesus said My kingdom is not of this world if my kingdom were of this world than my servants would be fighting so that I wouldn't be handed over to to the Jews but as it is my kingdom is not of this realm therefore pilot said Him So you're asking me Jesus said you say correctly I am the king for this reason I've been born for this I've come into the world to testify of the truth everyone who's of the truth hears my voice. And then pilot listening to the sounds of the mob steps away during this famous phrase what is true how would you like to be a pilot you're a pagan you're not an atheist because Rome's Romans worshipped all kinds of gods but here you are in this country where the religious people are some of the meanest people you've ever seen but they say they worship the only true God And so here's pilot stuck in an interesting dilemma he doesn't profess the high lofty moral standard of the Jews. But he can see that something's very wrong here they're full of hatred and greed and envy they want to destroy a man who is clearly not a criminal and pilot has to make a decision he steps back and talks with Jesus he's been woken up early because the trial of Jesus went on through the early hours of the morning in other words very late at night which was against us law and as Jesus is standing here in Gauge is Jesus in a discussion and Jesus says in effect you don't have to worry I'm not against Rome I'm not after your position I'm here to establish a kingdom of truth I came into this world to establish the line clearly between right and wrong based on what true love is and here's pilot under deep conviction which nobody likes to be under because it means moving out of a comfort zone into a scary new zone. And pilot doesn't know what to do and he says what is true. We're in a dangerous position as a country because we no longer corporately really believe telling the truth is that important so it doesn't matter as long as you get your message across and you really believe in it you don't have to tell the whole story you can tell the part you want to tell and leave the part out you don't want to talk about what does that mean when you start looking at elements of governance it's hard to come to a place where you know what to do if you don't know right from wrong and why is pilot all of a sudden thrust into the position of being the most noble man in the crowd aside from Jesus we don't usually think about pilot that way but in effect he's standing up to the church saying Oh not so fast this man is clearly not guilty so what is he done that so terrible pilot says what is truth we ought to be asking ourselves what happened to truth our society used to believe whether you liked it or not that you at least needed to tell most of the story and nowadays you don't have to do that and if you want to get it you tune your radio to this side of the channel in the morning or this side in the evening so that you can try to figure out what they're saying this and they're saying this unfortunately when we lose truth it's hard to know where to go and what to do but if there's a story line in this message it's this Christ wants to save us from not knowing what to do and invite us into a relationship with him where we can be free he'll go to great lengths to do it. When pilot said what is truth he then went out to the Jews and said to them again I find no guilt in him that's at least time number 2 now every one of the Gospels Matthew Mark Luke and John all record this story they tell us all something just a little bit John takes up part of Chapter 18 and the largest part of Chapter 19 you could have put it all into a chapter pilot is a main player in the Gospel story for John so what do you want me to do with them I have a custom verse 30 night where I release someone for you at the Passover do you wish that I release free the king of the Jews they cried out say no not this man but barabus now barabus was a robber So pilot makes his 1st made a fatal mistake verse one of 19 he took Jesus and he scourged him now why would you scourge an innocent man pilot had a colossal misunderstanding and listen to me very carefully because it doesn't matter how good you think you are or how long you come to church if you allow sin to deepen it's rooted in your life you'll end up with the fruitage you never wanted to have tile it didn't know that behind the cloak of religion was so much hate that scourging Jesus would do no good a scourge was where you took a whip embedded with metal or bone and the man had no shirt on you tied him to a post and 39 times you let the last come down on him and every time you pulled it away there was a new channel for rivers of blood to flow in Jesus was whipped 39 times and then his clothes were thrown back on him. And pilots hoping that the mob will see this and they'll be a bit of pity but the problem is the devil is in the group demons are active in the crowd and all pity is gone and what pilots plan is isn't going to work but when they see Pilot give in on a little bit of integrity they're willing to push him for a greater offense to his own person of course you have the experience with Herod which I'm not going to go to but while he's being whipped by the Roman soldiers they put a crown of thorns on his head and they put a reed in his hand and sometimes they take their hands and slap them in the face when it's all done verse 4 of 19 Chapter 19 pilot came out again and they said to him he said to them behold I'm bringing him out to you so that you may know that I find no guilt in him. Jesus came out wearing that crown of thorns in the purple robe and pilots said to them behold the man so when the chief priest of the officers saw him they cried out saying crucify him crucify and pilots taken back this isn't what he thought he could see that he's not guilty what other people can't see that he's not guilty and the Pity that would come to a suffering human being seems to be absent in the environment of this crowd that says to him finally take him and crucify him yourself and I want to interject one more thing into this story go back to the book of Matthew Matthew 27 in the book of Matthew we have one more intervention from heaven for punishment Matthew chapter 27 I'm not going to read all the verses I'm just going to get you to the place and I'm going to summarize what happened that day they bring in the pilot he tries to release him 2 times he finds out he's from Judea so he sends him over to Herod Herod doesn't want to do the dirty deed so he Sims him back to pilot has him scourged again. How many times Pilar tries to release Jesus is more than probably most of us know it's at least 3 and maybe more but finally before the story is all over the pilot who has gotten out of bed early in the morning is summoned to read a message coming from his wife. Or 17 of chapter 27 in the book of Matthew So when the people gather together pilot said to them who do you want me to release you barabus or Jesus who is called the Christ we're getting down to the end pilot thinks Surely they'll see the hardness written in the face of barabus and say release him for he knew that because eventually they had handed him over verse 19 and while he was sitting on the judgment seat his wife sent him a message saying have nothing to do with that righteous me in for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of him I want to tell you what she saw she stood there before this she was in her dream and she stood there and saw the Son of God wearing the robe of mockery in the crown of the arms this is Mrs pilot in her dream according to the desire of ages this is what she saw Jesus was stripped to the waist his back showed the long cruel stripes from which the blood flowed freely His face was stained with blood and bore the marks of exhaustion and pain but never had it appeared more beautiful than now every feature expressed gentleness and resignation and the tenderest pity for his cruel foes in the manner there was no cowardly weakness but strength and dignity of long suffering in the midst of that moment Mrs pilot is watching what's going on in the in the judgment room of her husband and she is hoping with all hope that the dream will end up different than it looks like it's ending up she's watching the abuse of Jesus. And finally she awakes from her dream screaming she pencils out what she was saw sends it to her husband and the final part of what she says is that she sees Jesus in this dream coming back in the future sitting on the judgment throne of God and pilot is shaken to the core but because pilot has started down a wrong road because pilot had not decided early in his career to be this he was slowly being made into that and what he became in that moment was something he never thought he would be but eventually the Jews pushed the secret button they called out that anybody that didn't deal with a threat to Caesar was not a friend to Caesar and in that moment pilot comes to a place where he brings the water pan and he washes his hands and as he is turning to leave he says to Jesus forgive me for this act. I cannot save you. And when he had again scourge Jesus. He delivered Him up to be crucified but I want you to know is that when Jesus was in give him an a that night. He was praying for pilot when he was sweating great drops of blood on Thursday night before he was coming accosted by the mob he was praying for pilot. The one that would hold his destiny in his hands Jesus could have died the weight of the world could have snuffed out his life pilot didn't have to be the avenue through which hatred was allowed to flow pilot didn't stand up and put an end to justice just sit a civil little let alone a moral and religious law but that night as Jesus now in the Garden of Gethsemane he and prayed he was praying for a pilot and the dream that Matthew records that came to Mrs pilots mind which trouble are so greatly was a function of that prayer and I want to assure you that while Jesus was standing before the mob and for a pilot his prayers were ascending on behalf of this ruler whose destiny hung in the balance it's not just pilot it's every person that declares themselves good in this post modern age with no one to tell them nobody's good all of sin and fall short of the glory of God It's not just pilot it's you and me in a society where nobody wants to risk the emotional pain of being smeared across public media social media. Nobody wants to be the bad guy so we all get to play act like we're good guys and we all just slowly get squeezed into the worlds mold and you end up in a moment like pilots were either your destiny or yours and somebody else's is hanging in the balance and the devil knows you're not firm you're not on the rock you're just a bunch of silly putty in his hands and the squeeze is on and he miss shapes who you are into somebody you never planned to be. You see we're in an age now where the truth is largely absent. And people can do what they want as long as they have might but the day is coming. When True Christians will be labeled the problem when that time comes it will be so absolutely important that our lives were shaped like Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. That everybody will know when they look at us this person is not a criminal in an age where nobody can know what's true and lives can be spread all over the place there are some things that rise above the confusion and the visit to the countenance the presence of Jesus did that. And the beauty of Christ in us is to do that. So that when the final judgment comes not the one where civil society pronounces guilt upon the innocent but when the final judgment comes where Jesus sits on the throne of judgment not lays themself out on the sacrifice of mercy for our sins when that moment comes in Jesus must be clear in truth what is and what is it about those that would love to have life eternal he won't be force to have the painful word wrung from his lips Depart from Me I never knew you but instead we will be calling out Yea this is our God We waited for him and he will save us and he will be welcome home little children but who you are then is determined by who you've chosen to be doing pilot never meant to go down in history as one of the most cowardly people that ever existed but he wasn't willing to lose his job and he wasn't willing to lose the favor of those he was governing So instead he lost his integrity with an expedient decision and later on he lost his place for the Roman government and history tells us committed suicide. There is nothing worth gain if you gain it at the expense of your soul there's nothing that's beautiful and happy if it isn't clean and true. There's nothing worth holding on to if you could walk with it all the way to the kingdom God gave us love God gave us life it's built on truth it's built on acceptance provided by the sacrifice of Jesus and today he's calling each of us to know who we are when pilot woke up that Friday morning he didn't say I'm a bad man and I'm going to give away my integrity to an angry mob. On pilot woke up that morning he didn't say I'm throwing away my internal destiny one pilot woke up that morning he didn't say I'm about to become everything I never wanted to be I'm and become worse than the Jews because I'm going to give in to them. No and we don't either. So by divine appointment we're all here today what's God saying to us the Holy Spirit was speaking to pilot that's why I tried so many times to get Jesus out of this dilemma but when push came to shove it meant Jesus pay the price or pilot pay the price it was going to be Jesus praised God Jesus paid the price can you say. Listen friend that was the king of the universe he could have called $10000.00 angels to set the record straight but somebody had to pay the price for a pilot and for me. He died for my sins they still exist whether society wants to say so or not whether the modern church wants to acknowledge them or not Spirit speaks to our hearts we do things that are wrong crisis I'll forgive you if you come to me. But if we never come we're trotting the path of piling. On the devil knows at some moment in time I'm going to get him. So this morning friends I want you to know something. Jesus is calling you to bear across He's calling you to the cross for forgiveness he's calling you to the freedom that's on the inside no matter what's going on on the outside it's called forgiveness it's the most beautiful thing in the world it's called true love. It's called True freedom this is why thousands through the ages could say to their persecutors you can take my physical life but you can't take the life I have in Christ. And the small army. On behalf of the Living Christ who shed drops of blood praying for piety. Appealing for him in silent prayer as he stood before him waiting for Judge I want you to know that same Jesus is praying for you and me today. And he same sinner what you receive me would you be willing to wear the cross carry the cross would you take a stand but meet the cross for me. This morning friends the invitation is given. Are you a person of substance. Or are you play dough in the hands of the favor of the world. This is what everybody's got to decide. Will I pay any price. Even the littlest price to follow Jesus could I live out my conviction and let the world scorn or Mark or deride me. Or am I just going to move wherever the path of least resistance is that's what pile and. Today's day a beautiful day beautiful on the outside by God's grace beautiful on the inside. I'm inviting you today to give Jesus. First place in your life and then let the world go wherever it may opportunity privilege favor and let it go. Wherever you go will have to happen for. This media was brought to you by audio person a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio verse you would like to listen to more sermon leave w.w.w. dot audio Verse dot org.


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