Day 99: The Way Of The Warrior - The Warrior's Journey®

Day 99: The Way Of The Warrior

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The Way Of The Warrior

Our last devotions we noted Jesus’ illegal trials.  Three religious trials then three civil trials.  Five of the six trials had been completed, and Jesus was sent back to Pilate.  Jesus had been hit, beaten, insulted, spit on, mauled by six hundred Roman soldiers (John 19:1–3).  Jesus has been taken by Pilate in front of a crowd of Jews, letting them see how Jesus had been severely chastised, hoping they would have some compassion.

Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” (John 19:4).  This was the second time Pilate gave his verdict: I find no guilt in him (18:38).  So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” (Jn. 19:5).  What a pathetic scene.  Pilate hoped the Jews would be appeased seeing he’d been punished enough. Jesus’ purity was not enough to free him.

Many noted his innocence.  Judas said: “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” (Matt. 27:4).  Pilate (3) times says he no fault in Jesus (John 18:38; 19:4; 19:6). Pilate’s wife called him a: righteous man (Matt. 27:19).  The thief on the Cross: this man has done nothing wrong.” (Lk. 23:41).  A Roman centurion: the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” (Lk. 23:47).

What was the Jewish response to Pilate?  It was venomous: When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!”  (Jn. 19:6a).  Pilate seems to be disgusted with them, vexed with their attempt at getting rid of Jesus.  Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” (Jn. 19:6b).  This was the third time Pilate said this.  His verdict was not guilty, but he did not free him!

The Jews were shrewd and diabolical. They acknowledged that Roman Civil Law had no complaint against Jesus and his kingship — so they appealed to Mosaic Law. The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” (Jn. 19:7). Here’s the Law: Whoever blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall stone him. The sojourner as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name [YHWH], shall be put to death. (Lev. 24:16)

When the Jews noted Jesus called himself the Son of God, that got Pilate’s attention!  Pilate did not fear scourging an innocent man, or condemning him, but he feared the idea, the Son of God. This was a common phrase in the ancient world, which alluded to gods who came to earth in the form of men.  In the back of his mind was his wife’s unease: his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” (Matt. 27:19).  Pilate was afraid Jesus was a Roman god appearing in the world…and he just had illegally flogged a god!

When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. (Jn. 19:8).  Now Pilate had a titanic struggle.  What controlled his fate? Spiritual truth or self-preservation? He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. (19:9).  Gulp!

Why didn’t Jesus answer him?  In a moment Jesus speaks to him, so his non-answer was about the question, not Pilate’s character.  You see, Jesus had already answered this question.  Read John 18:36, 37.  There’s a time to keep silence, and a time to speak (Eccl. 3:7) He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. (Isa. 53:7).  Jesus had been beaten within an inch of his life, yet he doesn’t lose composure.  Pilate who had not suffered torment or indignity, was walking on eggshells.

So what does a weak, defeated man like Pilate do?  His bluffs and exaggerates: So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” (Jn. 19:10).  Christ’s calm dignity vs. a haughty Pilate.  With this statement Pilate condemns himself. “I have authority to release you…” he noted he had the power but was incapable of using it correctly.  He boasts of legal authority yet mentions no indictment or verdict.  He’s morally impotent.  Contrasting Jesus’ majestic character.

Jesus answered.  Remember he’s been brutally abused: Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” (Jn. 19:11).  Jesus notes that Heaven rules. He [God] does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Dan. 4:35). Not convinced? Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. (Rom. 13:1).

Some will have to shoehorn this into their theology.  That’s a mind-bender.

But Jesus said something very prescient: “Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.” (Jn. 19:11).  The Jewish leadership delivered Jesus for their own designs.  Thus, they have: ‘…greater sin.” Pilate was ignorant about the sovereignty of God, but he was not guiltless.  The Jews: Judas, Annas, Caiaphas, the Sanhedrin, the nation had more guilt in this travesty of justice.  There are differences in guilt and responsibility.

And that servant who knew his master’s will but did not get ready or act according to his will, will receive a severe beating. But the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, will receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more. (Lk. 12:47, 48).

Here is the good news…or very bad news: Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; [good news] whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him [bad news]. (Jn. 3:36).  You choose.  The answer isn’t difficult.  But why resist?

People like Pilate resist, but not from ignorance.  Jesus gave him the truth.  He didn’t like it or want it.  Okay.  Jesus didn’t wrestle with Pilate and put him in an arm lock, forcing him to choose.  Pilate chose of his own free will.  He chose poorly.  The same with the Jews, they were stubborn rebels, knowing Jesus was the Son of God, yet they killed him.  Try explaining that to Jesus’ Father.  They won’t like His answer.

By Nathan Werner

The Warrior’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

Continue to give me a healthy respect for the character of your Son.  Please, don’t let me minimize Jesus’ work for me in his suffering and death.  Continue to awe me with Jesus’ great sacrifice for me.  May my spiritual perspective me renewed each day with the wonder of Jesus Christ.  Then let his life be the engine that fuels my daily living.  Let the Holy Spirit be my energy source.  Do not let whims, or fanciful dreams be the source of my hope, only the reality of a Living Lord.  Don’t let me linger on the lifestyles of the prosperous, rather let me yearn for the glories of Heaven.

Then as you do this work in me, let others catch a glimpse of the Divine. Since you will launch me into a group to influence, empower me to: but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, (1 Pet. 3:15).  Let my character mirror Christ’s character, so people will wonder at my ‘hope.’  Empower me to reflect diving attributes, so people get to see hope in action.  I pray this in Jesus’ precious name.  Amen.

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