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Pontius Pilate-Caesars Friend (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston
The Truth Network Radio
September 8, 2022 6:00 am

Pontius Pilate-Caesars Friend (Part C)

Cross Reference Radio / Pastor Rick Gaston

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September 8, 2022 6:00 am

Pastor Rick has a topical message

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The media is not a single person. It's like a corporation. There's a bunch of people that make it.

There's a bunch of people that feed it. There are a bunch of people that enjoy it, that want it to be so. So we're not so far removed. So he lived in a world that was dominated by lies to a large extent, and so do we. But also the wrong allegiances that we have in life don't. It's all our ability to do right, even when we're staring right, right in the face. 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 not on that team. I am with Jesus now, and I'm 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 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. 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. I 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. 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, 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 and 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, oh that's 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 are raking some other biblical character over the coals, so that we don't have it recited to us as somebody else's story, as though we're removed and it is therefore not pertinent, it is very much a part of life. Long ago, before this day happened, Pilate had decided that he was going to be a friend with Caesar, that this was important to him, that it had offered him great opportunity, that perhaps maybe he came from a farm somewhere, or maybe raised up in the palace, wherever he had come from, he felt that friendship with Caesar was the right thing to do.

And up to that point, I'm not so sure we can fault him, but that's not the whole story of course. But these Caesars that he wanted to be friends with, they had no true sense of justice or honor, only when it came to their own writings or their own selves, really a lot of people would have loved to have been without them. And it is dangerous when we try to be friends with Caesar and friends with Jesus Christ at the same time.

Not only is it dangerous, it's not possible. Thus the teaching of Paul, if any man is in Christ, he must become a new creation, all things pass away, behold all things become new. That includes the relationships that we should get away from. And it's unfortunate how many Christians want to hold on to a relationship that they need to let go.

It's as though they fear that they're not going to find any more friends, that God can't bring more friends for them. It's something that we should never encourage, that people be panic-stricken as Christians about anything. It doesn't mean we're pleased with a lot of things, but we're not to be panic-stricken about it.

Okay, those points are, I always feel I need to say them. But when we seek to do right and wrong at the same time, we get confused. And when we get confused, we begin to compromise.

And when we get, once we're compromised of course, then the Christ-likeness breaks down and his name is shamed, if not our own, also. When we seek to honestly do right, then we see very clearly, and this was what was happening with Pilate, he was trying to do right and wrong at the same time. He was trying to please the Sanhedrin, he was trying to get out of it, all these other things, and then he's trying to uphold justice and be the judge and that pillar of the legal system of Rome. And he failed miserably in every area. Now, on the surface, none of this came back to bite him.

Rome never said, hey, we heard how you handled that, that was bad. He probably got a promotion. He probably ended his life very comfortably as a Roman politician.

I don't know, many of them poisoned themselves, or someone else poisoned them, or who knows what happened to them. As mentioned in the beginning, he dropped out of sight. But his position here in Judea was not a minor one. Jerusalem is a land bridge to Egypt. And at that time, Rome's grain fields were in the Nile Delta. And so the Parthenians, the Persians, they were always a threat. People from that part of the world of just swooping on down, and the only way by land that they could really get there was through Israel onto Egypt. And so the 10th Legion in Syria with Pilate there in Judea was a critical part of this whole process. Yeah, Rome could send ships across the Mediterranean to Egypt, but that wasn't all the time. And that was not enough. It was not sufficient.

Armies could come through the land and stop all of that very quickly. And so with this came this distinction, this sense of honor for Pilate. Even though he probably hated serving in Judea, he loved the importance of his position.

It gave him a sense of meaning, and unfortunately, not a sense of eternal life. I want to quote Billy Sunday here, because this has to do with friendship. Again, our title is Pontius Pilate, Caesar's Friend.

Billy Sunday. A man who lets the devil choose his friends for him will soon do anything the devil wants him to do. How many people are in jail because of their friend? At some point, at some point in their life, it was a friend that got them involved. Friendship with Caesar cost Pilate everything.

I prefer saying, I'm not as eloquent as Billy Sunday is. I like to say it this way, a stupid friend is worse than an enemy. And by that I mean, you know, those friends that have no desire to do good. This is the stupid friend in this picture. The one that is jail bound.

The one that has no respect for anything, but is always trying to get what belongs to somebody else. We worry that our children will somehow buddy up with someone like this in life, and things go bad for them. And so I think it's very appropriate to teach our children and to instill in them the importance of surrounding themselves with people who are good. Ideally Christians, of course, but that's not always an option. You can go into a workplace and there are no Christians there. And you certainly have to know how to balance that.

But very important to the whole thing is eliminate those friends who will doom you. And Pilate was not able to do that. He was bound by the Roman superstition and her religions and all the things that went along with this.

As a saying, show me your friends and I'll show you your future. Could you say that about Pilate? Friend of Caesar. He had the ring on his finger, big honking ring, that I am, I've been given this ring by Caesar, I am a friend of Caesar. There's even Latin words for that.

Show me your friends, I'll show you your future. And so there's Pilate and Christ. There's Pilate and Caesar, there's Pilate and Christ. This man Pilate, as I mentioned earlier, when he mentions what is truth, was telling us that, you know, I know a little bit about the subject, I've discussed it at length, I've read our philosophers, I've been around a while myself, and my conclusion is, what is truth? We have several responses to that. First, he was aware that he lived in a world that was largely dominated by that which is untrue. See, I can identify with that.

Same for me. We call it the, you know, the mainstream media. They are the biggest lie mill on the planet. Nobody prints more lies, mills more lies, forges more lies, don't call them forges of lies, than the media. But the media is not a single person, it's like a corporation. There's a bunch of people that make it.

There's a bunch of people that feed it. There are a bunch of people that enjoy it, that want it to be so. So we're not so far removed. So he lived in a world that was dominated by lies to a large extent, and so do we. But also the wrong allegiances that we have in life dull our ability to do right, even when we're staring right, right in the face. I think this is clear from, again, verses 37 and 38. Pilate therefore said to him, are you a king then? Jesus answered, you rightly say 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. Truth staring him right in the face, and he couldn't recognize it. One day, just one day before this encounter, Jesus said these words, I am the way, the truth, and the life.

No man comes to the Father except me. But he missed that sermon too. Two sermons that had everything to do with his future and his present. He wasn't there for them. How about the people we know? What sermon are they going to get that's going to help them?

How are we going to reach them if they don't get the word of God deep into their hearts? When he nailed the placard over the head of Christ, Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews, he was doing what the lost people do, selling God short, seeing God for less than who he is, king of Jesus of Nazareth? How about creation, king of the Jews? He's far greater, far bigger than anything you could ever imagine. Revelation 17, 14, these will make war with the lamb, and the lamb will overcome them, for he is Lord of lords, king of kings, and those who are with him are called chosen and faithful.

That's us. Psalm 24, 7, lift up your heads, O you gates, and be lifted up, you everlasting doors, and the king of glory shall come in. He's the king of glory. He's the king of kings. He's not Jesus of Nazareth, king of the Jews, that he's that too, but he's so much more. And so our message, when Pilate, after he presents Christ and pronounces three times, I find no fault with him, after he has him scourged, the Jews come to Pilate, and they answered, verse 7, John 19, we have a law, and according to our law, he ought to die because he made himself son of God. Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was more afraid. Why? Because he's superstitious.

That's why. He wasn't having, his wife had sent him, I had a dream concerning this man, back off. But she was superstitious too. Rome is deified, made her a saint. We don't even know her name.

History has something about her name. We don't know it from the Bible, I should add. And went again into the Praetorium, verse 9, and said to Jesus, where are you from? But Jesus gave him no answer. Now he's going to answer him, the Lord is going to answer him in this dialogue that they're having, but not right away. And I think part of the message, I know part of the message is this, when our only response to truth is to scourge the truth, then the truth goes silent.

You cannot beat friendship out of Christ. Look at verse 1 of chapter 19, John's Gospel. So then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. So our Lord's standing there bleeding, dehydrated, in pain, suffering. And Pilate wants to continue dialogue. And so there's this moment of silence, the Lord's not going to answer him. But then verse 10, then Pilate said to him, are you not speaking to me?

I would love to just have been like there in the room, but you couldn't really hurt me. I said, man, do you know who you're talking to? Do you not know I have power to crucify you and power to release you? And Jesus answered him, at that point Jesus said, I'm not going to let that go. When Herod was doing his interrogation, Jesus said, I don't care what you say, you're done. But for Pilate, the Lord sees something in the man enough to say, I'm going to give you something else. He says, you can have no power at all against me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who has delivered me to you has the greatest sin. And so if our only response to light is to shut our eyes, then the light does not get in. And I think that is our message that we take to the world, that you cannot scourge the truth out of Jesus. You cannot attack him and expect to find the light.

It's by yielding to him, but it's going to cost yourself. James chapter 4, I'll close with this verse. Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. He's not less of a pilot, he's a friend of Caesar who is postal boy for the world. The Caesars again, the Caesars like king, the Roman Empire.

It's not just at this time Caesar Tiberius, who's a decadent man, friendship with the world. You've been listening to Cross Reference Radio, the daily radio ministry of Pastor Rick Gaston of Calvary Chapel in Mechanicsville, Virginia. Pastor Rick is teaching from God's word each time you tune in.

As we mentioned at the beginning of today's broadcast, this teaching is available free of charge at our website. Just visit That's 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 07:36:07 / 2023-02-28 07:46:10 / 10

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