25.5 John – Passover

I’ve written about this before, but understanding that the Jewish calendar is not a linear device always marching forward, but instead is seen as an ascending helix, a spiral staircase, where one event aligns just above another time and time again.

This is one of the things that makes the synchronicity between Passover and Jesus death so rich.  John the Baptist announced Jesus as “The lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world”.   Jesus’ death would occur on the day of Passover and, like the pascal lamb, He was the sacrifice, whose blood is the mark of salvation, for death to pass over the people who have received the seal of the blood of the lamb.  No bone would be broken.  No flesh would be left, all would be consumed by the grave that very day.   The lamb spent 3 days in the house before being sacrificed.  Jesus spent 3 years in his ministry and time of teaching in the temples throughout the land.

This was not coincidence.  The date of Jesus’ death was set in ancient Egypt.  The date of the arrival of the Holy Spirit was set at Mount Sinai.  All dates through all of history have pointed to these events, not simply foreshadowing but prophesying in truth to the specifics.  All dates since are not just remembrances and celebrations, but continue to build on this pivotal moment layer upon layer until the day when Jesus comes again in glory.

It is very easy to look down on the Jews who brought Jesus to Pilate, or even to look down and chastise or condemn Pilate himself.  But in so doing, we take our eyes from the real truth.  Our position in not to look down on these people, but to look up to our Lord, who

  1. accepted to hang on a cross so that he could pay the price of our sins and
  2. ascend in body into Heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father to
  3. come again in the clouds to call all believers home to paradise for all eternity

Our viewpoint or perspective for all of these events isn’t to look down on anyone else, but to drop to our knees and look up to our Lord and Savior.

My Answers:

God’s is just and true and accurate.  God, because of the act of Jesus, declares sinners innocent, whereas Pilate declared the innocent to death.

Passover was when the pascal lamb was slaughtered in observance of the night that the angel of death passed over the people of God.  This was a foreshadowing of the night that Jesus would be the sacrifice and His blood would pay the price of sin for all believers.

Thank you!

25.4 John – Sinking a boat

How big of a hole does it take to sink a boat?  Without some pump to bail out the water, you wouldn’t need a very big leak, just a drip would, over time, let drop after drop of water in, filling the hull and pulling the boat under water.

This is how the sin of rejection of the truth works as well.  Both Pilate and the Jews had developed a nice little habit of rejecting anything that didn’t match their world view, true of not, they ignored it.  It may have been true for someone else, but it wasn’t truth for them.  For the Jews, this hole became pronounced with John the Baptist.  For Pilate, it may have been from the day he moved into the palace dealing with this odd group of religious fanatics.

Drip, drip, drip.

What truths do we reject?  What is our view of the bible?  Is it unerring scripture or a collection of stories and fables?  Do the words of scripture apply to us or are some outdated for our modern society?  What do we rationalize away?  Tithing?  Love your neighbor?  Honor your father and mother? Sexual immorality?  Having no other Gods?

Does anyone else hear a dripping sound?

Can I point out one other interesting observation?  Both Pilate and the Jews thought they could project their holes onto Jesus.  The holes in the difference between what they said and what they did.  The holes in the difference between what they claimed to believe and how they lived.  The lies, the sins.  They could just cast all of these onto Jesus, kill Him, and let Him sink…  The drilled into His pure vessel with lies, with torture, with hatred.  And, Jesus allowed it all to happen.  He took on their holes, not only theirs but yours and mine as well and the holes of all people of all time.  He took them all and he took in the water of the sins and allowed it to take him under, down, into death.  But, our all knowing God did not craft His Son as a normal boat, he built him as a submarine, and after 3 days, he would remove all the sins and raise back up, not only fully restored but glorified and “holy”, but still showing the signs of being pierced for our transgressions.

My Answers:

Pilate chose to turn because of fear of loss of status or position if politically accused of not toeing the line of Roman rule.

He knew Jesus was not guilty and this was a sham, but went along.  He declared Him innocent, then beat Him and offered to set Him free, when He should have been free anyway.  He did not declare Him guilty, but turned Him over to be murdered (with the implicit approval of the state).  He yielded to mob taunts and pressures because of His own tenuous hold on His position and power.  However, He also did everything exactly as God ordained and allowed – with or without Pilate, Jesus would have been crucified.

The truth has been revealed through His word and the power of the Holy Spirit.  But, what about the days I don’t read the bible, fail to pray, fail to love others and shine the light like I should?  Am I too busy “just living” to live for Christ?

25.3 John – Truth in the House

I read an interesting thought the other day that I believe was written by David Jeremiah.  He commented about the Inn-Keeper when Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem who had no room for them in his home and, as a result, how he had missed out.  He had missed out of being present at the birth of the Son of God.  He missed out on being in the presence of angels singing praises.  He missed out on hearing the first breath of Jesus when he took on the body of a man.  Instead, this was something that happened outside of his door because he was too full, too busy, not enough room.

And look at Pilate.  Here he has the King of the Jews, the Son of God, in his palace.  He has the opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with the Messiah, God Incarnate.  And what does he ask?  He asks only about the things that occupy his current busy life.  Are you a king, a ruler, are you one of them, against them, what is the decision I am going to have to make.  He is consumed by his world, his position, his role, his job.  Even if, as some commentaries say, Pilate thought Jesus may have been a manifestation of a Roman god, he does act like it.  Jesus replies that his kingdom is not of this world, but Pilate asks not questions about Jesus’ kingdom in another world/heaven.  Jesus says he came into this world to testify to the truth, but instead of asking about this truth Pilate throws out a rhetorical question of “what is truth?”

But what about you and me?  Not only do we have the word of God in our home, in the form of the bible, but we also have the spirit of God living in us.  Yet, we stay so busy.  We talk with God most of the time only about things in this world.  We ask for favor and blessing in business deals, in conflict with neighbors, with money, with sickness.  We go for days at a time without opening our bibles.  We go for weeks looking just like every other busy business worker, parent, neighbor, citizen, with so much to do, added to all the more by “church obligations.”

What if instead of following the footsteps of the inn-keeper or Pilate, we take a little time and follow the example of Mary and just pour out praise and love on Jesus and sit at his feet?  What would life like that look like?

My Answers:

Are you the king of the jews?            Is that your own idea or did others talk to you about me?
Am I a Jew?
Your own people handed you over…What is it you have done?        My kingdom is not of this world
You are a king then (implied question)             You say that I am a king, in fact I was born to testify to the truth.
What is truth?

Jesus is not only a King, but He is the Messiah, the King from Heaven.  He came into this world to testify to the truth and all His words and actions are true.

He is sovereign and He is true.  Truth is real, not relative.  Jesus is pure and solid.

25.2 John – Animosity and Superiority

How would you feel if the people who were under your rule and command refused to step into your house because it would make them unclean, yet still came to you asking/demanding you to do their bidding?  Would you think it was childish? Quant?  Would it make you angry?  Defensive?

This is what we see in this opening scene of our lesson today.  The Jewish Leaders, predominantly the Pharisees and their Teachers of the Law show up early in the day, unannounced, to Pilate’s palace, a mob who has now been up all night and probably growing in size as people wake up and come out to see what is going on.  But to talk with them Pilate must come out to stand on his front step since they won’t come in.

They bring him this man who is defacto guilty because they say so and they wouldn’t have brought him to Pilate if he was not, so just go ahead and declare Jesus guilty already because we say so.  Again, if you are in Pilate’s shoes, how would this make you feel as the judge and commander of these people?

I’m certain this is not the first time Pilate and the Jews have clashed.  Clearly the animosity has built over time as each asserts their superiority over the other, Pilate as a Roman, the Jews as “God’s people.”  You hear it in the tone of the Jewish leaders.  You hear it in Pilate’s quip to Jesus, “Am I a jew?”  You can almost hear him spit out the word.

But Jesus is not a part of any of these.  He speaks only the truth to Pilate.  He is a King, but His Kingdom is not of this sinful world.  He has committed no wrong, broken no law and certainly not any that Pilate has jurisdiction over (i.e., Roman law vs Jewish religious law).  He does not claim to be anything he is not.  He does not speak down to Pilate (or to the Jews other than to say they had sinned).

But frustrated Pilate sends Jesus, whom he is declaring to be innocent, off to be flogged.  Is this evil and wickedness manifested?  Is it a release of the pent up anger and fury at the Jews?  Is Jesus even at this point serving as the scapegoat for the sins and conflict of the people?

My Answers:

They wanted to eat the passover meal.  To enter his palace would have made them unclean and they would not have had time to become ceremonially clean before passover

The jews did not have the authority to execute Jesus (not that this fact had not prevented them from plotting to beat or stone him in the past).  This caused Jesus’ death to be on the cross.  If the Jews had gone outside of Roman law and taken things into their own hands, Jesus would have been beaten, stoned or stabbed, not crucified.

prayer – I have good intention to pray for others, but don’t organize myself enough to follow through.
Church and Bible Study commitments – do I use these as excuses for being too busy to invest time in others?