I believe in starting the New Year out right! We all have our goals set for this coming year. Today, I want to challenge your heart of where you are with God.
Few people betray Christ in cold blood as Judas did. Only a small minority will revile and reject Christ to the last breath as the impenitent thief did. Only a handful will vent their rage against Jesus Christ as the Pharisees and Sadducees did. Yet, multiplied thousands refuse to acknowledge his claims and decline to commit themselves to either accept or reject Him.
Some compromise the question with an attitude of, “I just don’t want to think about it.” They adopt the old philosophy “out of sight, out of mind.” Such an attitude may postpone a decision. It may give one momentary reprieve, but it is no the solution.
Time also forces us to live with the decisions we make; over and again those decisions bring us back to thoughts of the eternal. Jesus Christ makes us think of life beyond the moment. He gets to the heart of the matters, forcing us to look inside and consider the loneliness, pain and hopelessness of tomorrow. We wonder what is going to happen later.
What are we doing with our everyday activities? And what are the Consequences? Jesus speaks of being the Way, the Truth, and the Life. The Lord will not let us be, for it is His convicting Spirit that brings the question to us again and again, “What am I going to do with Jesus?” By failing to answer this question, people think they can remain neutral. But just like Pilate, they soon see that the question is inescapable.
Every time Pilate endeavored to dismiss Jesus, a tide of events that he could not control brought the Lord back to his judgment seat. After learning that Jesus was a Galilean under the jurisdiction of Herod, Pilate gladly dismissed Him. He tried to avoid Jesus by sending Him to Herod.
At first, Herod was glad to see Jesus. He had heard many things of Him and hoped to see this teacher perform some miracle. After a period of questioning, though, during which Jesus spoke not a word, Herod retuned Him to Pilate. Adding sting and remorse to a guilty conscience, Pilate’s wife sent word to him in the midst of this ordeal, “Have thou nothing to do with that just man, for I suffered many things this day in a dream because of Him.” (Matthew 27:19).
Oh, how God tries to warn us too and woo us. This is how God extends His mercy and concern for humanity. At a time when His only begotten Son was being tried falsely, He thought enough of Pilate to warn him supernaturally through a dream. No doubt God has tried every means and method possible to awaken you and to bring you to a proper decision in Christ, but you have, like Pilate, have allowed fame, fortune, or other things to cause you to stifle conviction and trample your conscience underfoot.
Always remember the scripture that asks, “Who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?” (Job 9:4). Pilate thought he would appease the people by simply scourging Christ, thus gaining pity for Him by His accusers. So Pilate had his soldiers to publicly scourge Jesus. The soldiers platted a crown of thorns and put it upon His head. They put on Him a purple robe and said, “Hail, King of the Jews.” They smote Him with the palms of their hands.
Pilate brought Jesus forth and said, “I bring him before you, that you may find no fault with Him.” Jesus was wearing a purple robe and had a crown of thorns on his head. The crowd cried out aloud Crucify him. Pilate once again found himself face to face with Jesus. Pilate under political pressure knew he just could not let Jesus go, but Pilate could find no wrong in this one they called the Christ.
We all face the question, “What shall I do with Jesus, which is called the Christ.” Pilate offered the crowd one last solution. An attempt to compromise, he decided to release Jesus and not Barabbas. The crowd wanted to release a true criminal in Barabbas, but they wanted to crucify the Lamb of God that came to give His life, so we all could live eternally with God. Pilate had a decision to make on what to do with Jesus.
Today you have a decision to make on what to do with Jesus. The pulling on your heart today is the Holy Spirit speaking to you to submit your life to God. What will you do with Jesus? I challenge you to ask Christ into your life? Don’t compromise the cross of Christ but start this year out with hope, joy and love. Only the Cross of Christ can give peace.
Rev. Scotty Dingess is pastor of West Logan Church of God and a member of the Logan Ministerial Association.