John 19: He sat down at the judgment seat.
Pilate doesn’t want to crucify Jesus. In fact, he wants nothing to do with him. His brief encounter with Jesus has been disturbing and dissatisfying. He senses that this isn’t just another internal squabble among the Jews. Something more is going on here. The accused man has self-confidence and something even more that Pilate can’t quite put his finger on. This business of his being “King of the Jews” somehow resonates. The Jews are using this to force his hand. After all, no Roman governor wants it reported to Caesar that he tolerates locals claiming to be kings. Finally he has Jesus brought to Gabbatha, and takes his place on the seat of judgment. He wants to get this distasteful business over with and to get on with his morning’s responsibilities. Pilate sits on the judgment seat and Jesus stands before him. He condemns Jesus to death. It’s the world turned upside down and it’s a situation that will be rectified on Judgment Day. On that day it will be King Jesus sitting on the judgment seat and it will be Pilate who will stand before him. No doubt, his part in the injustice of this distant day will be very much in play at that time. Of course, this scene doesn’t only concern Pilate. I too will have my turn at Gabbatha. My only hope is to right now make the Judge also my Savior.
Take Away: Now is the time to prepare for my Day of Judgment.
Luke 23: He seems harmless enough to me.
Pilate says some interesting things concerning Jesus. He asks, “What shall I do with Jesus?” a question that has inspired many a sermon. He asks Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He also muses, “What is truth?” He presents the battered and bloody Jesus to the Jews saying, “Here is the man.” Then, he washes his hands and says, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.” As Jesus is crucified the Jews complain about what he’s written as his crime. He responds, “What I’ve written, I’ve written.” Today, as I read of Pilate declaring to the Jews the innocence of Jesus the translator gives me his words as, “He seems harmless enough to me.” I understand the meaning of the phrase. The Jews say Jesus is a dangerous person, influencing people to rebel against Roman rule. Jesus, of course, never does anything like that. Pilate’s investigating this charge and, as far as the Romans are concerned, he concludes that Jesus is a harmless person. Of course, that characterization is absolutely wrong. Jesus is dangerous beyond words. He intends to rule the world. Rome is, in fact, a mere bump in the road as far as Jesus’ intentions are concerned. You see, for those who love him and give themselves to him, Jesus is the most wonderful friend they’ll ever have. To this day, Jesus invites all who will to come to him and find this to be true. However, a day is coming when this meek Jesus will take his rightful place. At that time, this “harmless” Jesus will be in charge. At that time, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.
Take Away: Far from harmless – Jesus is Lord God.