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Pontius Pilate-Caesars Friend (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
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September 7, 2022 6:00 am

Pontius Pilate-Caesars Friend (Part B)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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September 7, 2022 6:00 am

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The third day He rose again from the dead and ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He shall come to judge the quick and the dead. Every time we read their Creed, His name is bellowed out. But again, I think a shortcoming to the Creed is the Sanhedrin were more guilty.

Maybe the oversight is wise and intentional, not an oversight therefore. And so the world will never forget that Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate. This is Cross-Reference Radio with our pastor and teacher Rick Gaston. Rick is the pastor of Calvary Chapel Mechanicsville. Pastor Rick is currently teaching through the book of Genesis.

Please stay with us after today's message to hear more information about Cross-Reference Radio, specifically how you can get a free copy of this teaching. Today, Pastor Rick will continue a study called Pontius Pilate, Caesar's friend. He'll begin today in Acts chapter 2. A man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did through him in your midst as you yourselves also know. Because they were there. They knew about the crucifixion.

They knew about the life of Christ. He continues, Him being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified and put to death. Powerful.

God cut the channel. He directed the course of anything that was going to move. And He used the darkened hearts of the human beings who were willing to be dark in their actions to do it. He never violated anyone's free will. Pilate had made his decision that Caesar was his man. The Sanhedrin had made the decision that power was what they were about. And God just honored their decision and used it to fulfill the prophecy that He knew was going to happen long before time began. That's how far back it goes. And further than that, if you will, because God has never learned anything.

He doesn't need to. And so it was this group of sinister clerics Pilate allowed himself to be entangled with because of his friendship with Caesar. It backfired. That's our text where again the Jews cried out saying, if you let this man go, you are not Caesar's friend. And he's got to be saying, how did I let myself let these crazy zealots corner me like this? He knows they've got him. He knows Christ is innocent. He wants to execute justice or the Sanhedrin. He would love to crucify them instead of Jesus. But he's cornered. And he's done it all himself.

He's cornered because of his own ambitions. Again, John 19, verse 12. From then on, Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out saying, if you let this man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.

He didn't see that coming when he got out of bed that morning. And that's how it is for the wicked. That's that how it is for all of us at times, but especially when you're not right with God. Because the difference between Pilate being a corrupt judge, which I'm not at the present time accusing him of being, though in the end that's what it is. The difference between him being Pilate and some other judge somewhere else being corrupt with somebody else is this happens to be God the Son.

And the whole world should have known it, but the whole world did not want to know it. And so now we move from our discussion of Pilate and the Sanhedrin and we discuss Pilate and his judgment. Because I think that this is still how the impenitent man thinks, the person who is not right with Christ. And let me tell you, there are Christians who are inching away from God and they are becoming, again, worse. They are becoming that that backslide is leading to an apostasy. And when someone has fallen away from Christ as an apostate, they turn on him. It's not that they just abandon him. They turn because this is spiritual.

I mean you turn away from things that, you know, I used to like that restaurant and I don't like it anymore, but you don't think about burning it down. And I think that speaks of the spiritual nature of what we are engaged in as Christians. The greatest power to crucify among men came from Pilate, God in control all the time. But when Pilate made those words to Jesus, again, verse 10, do you not know that I have power to crucify you or power to release you?

He missed the sermon that was recently preached by the Lord on this very thing. John chapter 10, verse 18, no one takes it from me. Speaking of his life, the Lord Jesus speaking, I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again.

This command I have received from my Father. And that was fulfilled because when he died, he gave up the spirit. No one killed him. They could have stabbed him and poked him and nailed him all day long. If he wasn't ready to go, it's a grotesque picture, but it makes the point. No man killed him and that's why Pilate was amazed when word came back that he's already dead. You sure? Yeah.

He just died. At will, at command. None of us can do this. God in his genius has made our critical organs function involuntarily. Our heart beats without us helping it. I mean, of course we can mess that all up, but God said, no, if I let them control this thing, it'd be like a bad puppeteer.

I mean, it would just, it would last a minute and that would be it. And so no one takes his life, a message Pilate missed. Well, what about our, I don't want to say our neighbors because that makes it, you see, that throws the guilt onto you. Why aren't you preaching to your neighbors?

Because they don't want to hear it. But when the opportunity does come for us to preach to anybody, and I used to preach in the sense of the Greek, the herald, to say, make way for the king. He's coming again or you're going to him.

Either way, you will stand before him. Our message has got to be like this. We've got to get the message to the impenitent before they entangle themselves in a situation where they cannot get out of. It would have been nice if someone could have gotten to Pilate these words, no one takes his life from him, but he lays it down of himself. He's gotten this, he's got this power, and there's nothing you can do about it, Pilate. And so in the midst of this dialogue between he and Pilate, at one moment Jesus has been abused throughout the night. Unfortunately, the Apostles' Creed, which we should get to shortly, it does speak that he suffered under Pontius Pilate, but he also suffered under the Sanhedrin in Herod too.

He suffered there in the Garden of Gethsemane when Judas Iscariot, who was entrusted with so much, threw it all away for a few pieces of silver. He was convinced that the Lord, who claimed to be king in the realm of truth, was no threat to Caesar. Pilate knew this, and that should have been the end of it all. Verse 37 of John 18, Pilate therefore said to him, are you a king then? In other words, are you a king then, as has been said about you? Jesus answered, you say rightly that I am a king. For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth.

Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. What was Pilate doing with that? What was he thinking at that time?

I'll get to that in a moment. Three separate times this night, Pilate will pronounce the Lord innocent. These are official verdicts of a judge empowered by Caesar. In verse 38, I find no fault in him. In verse 4, I find no fault in him. In verse 6, I find no fault in him.

On the strength of two or three witnesses, and there it is. But he underestimated the blood lust of the religious Jews, and that's all they were. They had no relationship with Christ. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea and perhaps others were not in this group. But the ones that were, they had blood lust. John chapter 19 verse 5, then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and a purple robe, and Pilate said, behold the man. They had beaten him already, verse 19, again.

Pilate left the crown on him with the blood. I'm not going to try to dramatize this. It's not necessary.

The apostles don't do it, and I'm not either. The idea behind this was, look, is this enough for you? Hasn't he suffered enough? He's harmless.

Let it go. That's why he parades the Lord before them, but he miscalculated. They weren't interested in mercy or kindness.

They wanted full-blown power. They were in Satan's care. It took this one time for Pilate to violate his conscience, to cause the shameful reputation that he has forever. He did violate his own conscience. He pronounced him innocent. When Jesus said that he had come for truth, what is Pilate's response?

What is truth? He'd become jaded. He had listened to all of the philosophers. It was common discussion at the Roman gatherings with the wine and the servants and all the grapes. You know, you can't have Romans without grapes. And he had heard it all and made up his mind it was better for him to look out for himself, be a friend of Caesar. Caesar in that sense had become his God.

Innocence took second seat to that. Justice, these things had happened long ago. The Caesars, the Romans who boasted about such a civility and truth and order, that was only for them. It wasn't for the people they conquered. It wasn't for their slaves. And to this day, the court systems and the aristocracy of the world applaud the Romans. There are many people who go around, boy the Roman army was awesome, well I wish I could have lived back then.

On what side? The people whom they came to conquer and enslave or as one of the enslaved soldiers? There was no way to live.

History romanticizes this, but this stuff was awful. And so what it comes down to, this one violation, this critical moment of violation of conscience, was he is innocent, it's my official decision, now kill him. That's, you know, the cut and dry. That Jesus was that way, he's not for me, you're against me. He who is not for, whosoever is not for me is against me. You don't get any more cut and dry than that.

And here, now I don't want to oversimplify that or make it overly complex either, but that is what it comes down to. He's innocent, now you can kill him. And there are terrible consequences to violating your own conscience. One thing is you get better at it each time, until after a while you don't have a conscience.

It's seared, as Paul wrote to Timothy, with a hot iron. We all have to guard against this, having our conscience pecked to death by our own weakness, by our own flesh. One of the lessons that we get out of these, we'll take three of them, and maybe I'll think of one more as we go on. But responsibility can't be transferred, because for conscience sake. And that's what he was trying to do. He was trying to transfer the responsibility of this knight to the Sanhedrin. He wanted no part of it.

He wanted to give it all to them. Verse 31, John chapter 18, then Pilate said to them, you take him and judge him according to your law. Because he's saying to himself, well, they can't kill him, so I've saved his life. And this is an easy way out of this. Therefore the Jews said to him, it is not lawful for us to put anyone to death, liars.

It's unlawful, yes, but that's not what you mean. What you mean is you want to kill him in front of Rome, in front of the Jews, in front of the Greeks, in front of anybody, in a shameless way. You want the whole world to know that you've prevailed. But you didn't think, did you, that men like Matthew and Mark and Luke and John would be writing this stuff down and that for all the ages, while you are more than likely judged to an eternal hell, others are working to avoid others from going to the same place you are by telling these lessons. I don't know about you, but when I was a beginning Christian and I'm going through the Gospels, I was so in tune to this. I was so sensitive to anything that had to do with eternity. Hell, heaven, I was, I mean, you just read these verses when Jesus talks about weeping and gnashing of teeth. I'm so, I'm not on that team.

I am with Jesus now and I am never going anywhere else. And I don't want to ever forget these things. I don't want them to become old news to me or lame information.

They need to be real and alive to me all the time. That's my hope and my goal. It's what I work for and I'm not paranoid about it because I have blessed assurance. I know Jesus did not die for me for nothing. I know he did not receive my confession and my conversion just so that I could lose it. One of the great stories of God's care for his people is from the Jews in the wilderness with them, you know, God has led us out into the wilderness to kill us off.

No, he has not. That's not how God, God will kill you where you are if he wants to do it. He doesn't have to waste time, get you into his sights. We're never out of his sights.

And I love those lessons. You know, in life you get a victory and then some catastrophe hits the first, one of the first things that the devil wants to get you to say is God is doing this to you. He's looking to destroy you. No, he's not. That is a lie. And so he attempted to transfer the responsibility but he was also a victim of compromise. You know, when it comes to conviction, there can be no compromise. You know why Paul was persecuted? He was a man of conviction.

He was convinced and nothing took that from him. That irritates those who don't agree with you. They call you stubborn, bullheaded, wrong, everything they can think of because you're convicted. I'm doing this because I believe this is true.

I believe it is right and I'm not moving away from it. I don't know what's the, you know, take the jury order, you know, ten egg salads and one tuna. You know, this one person that's in the jury going the different direction, all right, maybe you'll like it later.

Maybe you don't like tuna and egg salad, I don't know. But people who stand by their convictions even when they're right become the outcasts. Problem is we have people who stand by false convictions knowing that they're false convictions. In the Sanhedrin, they illustrate this for us tonight. Verses 39 and 40 bring out the compromise. It's all through the pages of this story but it says, but you have a custom, Pilate speaking to the Sanhedrin, that I should release someone to you at the Passover.

Do you therefore want me to release you, to you, the king of the Jews? Then they all cried, again saying, not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber. Luke tells us more about Barabbas. He was not only a robber, he was an insurrectionist, a rebel against Rome.

He was also a murderer, an assassin, likely part of the Sicari, or maybe just an outlaw. But be it as it may, Pilate thought at this point before the bringing Christ out and having him scourged with the crown of thorns, before he got to that point he felt, well, you know what, they've got this thing. They surely don't want Barabbas. He miscalculated again but he's trying to compromise. So he's not thinking straight. He's not remembering. He knows who these people are but yet he's behaving as though he's forgotten that because he's trying to wiggle out.

How do we know that? Well, when he says the king of the Jews, hey, Pilate, where's his aid to come and whisper in his ear, they hate that. They don't see him as their king. They despise him. He's going to figure it out at the end, of course, that's where the placard over the cross comes in.

Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews. He was sticking it to them. They don't like Nazarenes?

Put it on there and make him their king. He knew that would grate on them but it was still all a failure. And then, in addition to his attempt to transfer responsibility as being a victim of compromise, he was also a victim of neutrality all at the same time, trying to, you know, make everybody happy. For that we have to go to Matthew chapter 27 to see it illustrated. I'm neutral. I'm not really in this.

I'm a government official and I'm there but, you know, I'm really not part of this. Matthew 27 verse 24. When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person you see to it.

Wait a minute. If this was your son and the judge was doing that, you wouldn't think that judge was innocent? He's pronounced him guilty, now let's kill him? What kind of world are you living in? Why don't you just ring the bell and those soldiers at that antonial fortress will swoop down on the Gabbatha and get this stuff cleared up with?

He doesn't do it. From Rome's perspective, I guess they could say, you know, Pilate maintained the peace in Israel because after Pilate, there was the first great revolt that cost them the temple and the city. There were two other revolts after that, not counting Masada. It was a disaster for everyone. And so we've covered his failure to hold responsibility, his attempt to compromise, and then his attempt to be neutral, trying to do good and bad at the same time. I'll come back to that in a minute. But I just want to comment on that useless gesture of washing his hands before everybody as though that just makes it all okay.

You see, I've done this and now I'm free from it. You cannot wash guilt off with water, only the blood of Christ. Pilate threw away his chance, his opportunity to do the right thing, to be a noble man. And because he did not, his memory is not sweet. It is bitter. It is captured for us in the Apostles' Creed, which is not written by the apostles, but it is built on their teachings.

And it is accurate and it is good. It says, I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of a virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate. You see, forever, his memory, the memory of Pontius Pilate is not sweet. You can't say that about Mary, but you can say that about Pontius.

It's bitter. It says, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried. He descended into hell. The third day he rose again from the dead and ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead. Every time we read the Creed, his name is bellowed out. But again, I think a shortcoming to the Creed is the Sanhedrin were more guilty.

Maybe the oversight is wise and intentional and not an oversight therefore. And so the world will never forget that Christ suffered under Pontius Pilate. But listen, Peter giving another sermon in Acts chapter 10 verse 38, God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good, healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. No one could stand up and object to that, not even the Sanhedrin. No one could object to those words. Even though they were spoken much after or at least put into print from that time, it was already circulating in the time of Jesus' day about him.

The stain that could not wash out. Luke 23 verse 12. That very day, Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other. Pilate patting himself on the back in the midst of this disastrous court system, because politically he had gained an ally in the treacherous Herod Antipas, who would want him for a friend.

His father would not even take the idea of another king being around him. Incidentally, if they had said this is Jesus, king of Rome, then Pilate would have wasted no time acting on it. But that never was the way it was presented. He was presented as the king of the Jews, and they held the Jews in contempt as the Jews held it back at them. And to this day, there are those Jews that have great animosity and distrust and disgust and contempt for Gentiles, and there are Gentiles on the other side throwing it right back at them, and neither one has a just cause. But such is life, such is the world. And here we, the Christians, come along and we're supposed to straighten it out.

And how do we do that? By bringing the truth and not being afraid of the truth in the record of the scripture. And so we move now to Pilate and Caesar, which largely explains the failure of Pilate through the whole thing.

Now the significant thing about this to me is that as I'm looking at Pilate, I'm seeing other people, traces of Pilate's behavior in the lives of other people I know, maybe even myself. And so what I'm interested in is how does the Lord want me to respond to these findings? And once I discover them and begin to address them in my own life, if I can't get the victory, am I willing to plow forward nonetheless? You see, our victory in Christ is not predicated on our victory in the flesh.

It's victory in Christ. I may never be able to defeat some of the things about me that I detest, but that does not knock me out. That does not take me out of following the Lord.

And that is one of the most beautiful things about Christianity is that it never applauds the wrong we do, the sin we have. It never says, okay, but it always deals with it. And it deals with it in such a way that I survive. I'm treated as nobility.

I'm still loved. I'm just talking about the power of God's mercy. I always feel I need to bring this up when we're raking some other biblical character over the coals so that we don't have it recited to us as somebody else's story. So we're removed and it is therefore not pertinent.

It is very much part of life. We'd also like to encourage you to subscribe to the Cross-Reference Radio podcast. Subscribing ensures that you stay current with all the latest teachings from Pastor Rick. You can do so at or search for Cross-Reference Radio in your favorite podcast app store. That's all for today. Join Pastor Rick next time for more character studies right here on Cross-Reference Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-28 19:55:12 / 2023-02-28 20:04:51 / 10

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