What I Read Today;
Galatians 6; John 18; Micah 1-2; Ecclesiastes 5; Nehemiah 10; Deuteronomy 16
When I read John 18, I wonder what Pilate was thinking. I have a feeling that he might have been a bit annoyed. It was Friday, after all. He gets into work and is going about his daily business, then bang!. A bunch of religious fanatics comes knocking on his door. They are making a scene and demanding to see him. Making it worse, these wackjobs won’t even step into his office, no he had to come to them because of some crazy religious rule. Perhaps, he asked himself why he had taken this job in the first place.
As Pilate steps outside, hoping to keep this short, what does he see? A mob that has this poor soul tied up and standing in front of him. I wonder if the Sanhedrin was screaming at Pilate so loudly that he had to yell for quiet. What a commotion on a Friday.
Then he hears someone say, “He claims to be a King.”
I bet that got Pilate’s undivided attention. I’ll bet he was thinking, “What is this all about” as he has the soldiers escort Jesus into his office.
Pilate gets right to the point.
“Are you a king,” he asks.
I’m sure at this point he’s worried he’s got a rebellion on his hands. Rome wouldn’t like that at all. So if something is going on, he needs to figure it out and fast.
But Jesus’ answer only confuses him, “My kingdom is not of this world.”
Now Pilate is completely confused. He must have been thinking, “What in the world does that mean? “Not of this world,” you’ve got to be kidding me.”
I bet he wondered if this day could get any weirder.
Then Jesus tells Pilate that his kingdom is different. Standing chained and being offered up for execution, Jesus preaches the Gospel to his executioner. Jesus is here to show people the way to the truth.
You have to believe at this point, Pilate is as confused as any human being could be. Then Pilate utters the now-famous words, “What is Truth?”
With all the infighting in the Jewish church, the truth of God’s Grace had become lost. The Jewish people were supposed to be a beacon of God’s grace and mercy to the world. But now it has become more about politics and doctrinal arguments. At the time of Jesus, it looked more like a club for Gossip and self-righteousness than a place of forgiveness and hope.
The people who suffered were those who needed God’s grace and love the most. People like Pontius Pilate, who at that moment needed to hear the clear Gospel, didn’t listen to it because the church didn’t live it.
It’s not much different today.
The church has become too involved in politics. The church has missed opportunity after opportunity to show God’s grace and mercy to a hurting world. Instead, the church chooses to argue about points of doctrine and dogma. We get into the weeds of arguments that only the academicians with Ph.D.’s have time to research and think about. The ordinary person in the pews can barely understand what the point is.
The Bible doesn’t say what happened to Pilate after this event. History shows he was recalled in failure at some point, but that’s about it. We don’t know if Pilate became a Christian later in life. Some traditions say he did. Too me, Pilate will always be an example of what bickering and back-biting in the Church really causes. It causes people outside the church to be confused.
When the church devolves into a chaotic pit of doctrinal arguments and fights over scriptural interpretation, what does that do to people outside of the church? When a Pastor’s twitter feed reflects disagreements over church policy rather than extending the message of God’s grace to those who need to hear the Gospel, that drives people away from the church.
When that happens, people like Pilate ask the now-famous question, “What is Truth.”
The next time a fight starts within the church, ask yourself a question.
Is this argument worth driving people away from Jesus?