Monday, December 5, 2016

Pilate An Evangelist?

John 19:19-22
Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

In chapter 19, we read of Jesus' sentencing, death and burial. There are lots of interesting details in this chapter, and different characters who play a part in this last scene of Jesus life. You have Pilate, the soldiers, the two criminals crucified next to him, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, and finally, Jesus' mother and her sister Mary, and Mary Magdalene. Notably absent are his disciples. During the sentencing it is clear that Pilate had his reservations. The charge the Jews were trying to convict Jesus with was that he claimed to be a "king". When the leaders added, "He even claimed to be the Son of God", this made Pilate even more nervous.

At the end of the day when Jesus is crucified on the cross, Pilate had a notice prepared that read, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews". Ironically it was written in all three major languages of the day, Aramaic, Latin and Greek. It is almost as if Pilate was the first evangelist proclaiming in all languages that Jesus was the King of the Jews. The Jews were furious with this, but Pilate remained steadfast saying, "What I written I have written." It is almost as though through Pilate's hand, the final Word of God was established. What irony that the Roman governor acknowledged Jesus as the King, the Messiah, and the Jews, his own people, wanted him crucified.

Throughout this chapter we also see Jesus fulfilling many prophecies, mainly from the Psalms.

1. "They divided his clothes and cast lots for his undergarment". This is an odd story in of itself. Why would these soldiers do this? See Psalm 22:18

2. "Not one of his bones was broken." When people were crucified, if they didn't die fast enough, they broke their shins so they could not push themselves up to breath. How cruel is that? See Psalm 34:20

3. "They will look upon the one they pierced." Zechariah 12:10

So at the end of the day although there were many human actors in the story of Jesus' death and burial including: the Jews who rejected him, his disciples who abandoned him, and the Romans who finally crucified him, God was in control the whole time. Nothing happened outside of His will and plan. The fulfillment of all the Old Testament prophecies showed that this event had been planned in God's time and sovereignty way before the actual events happened.

Sometimes we struggle to see how all the details of our lives fit together, the good ones and bad ones. But God is in charge of all of our days. Nothing happens in our world outside of His sovereign will. Most importantly, Jesus' life and death show that God has planned for our salvation from the beginning of time. Just as God used many people in bringing salvation through Christ, he uses us to continue to share the Good News of His love in His Son Jesus.

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