John 19:7-16: ”Finally…”
“7 The Jewish leaders insisted, ‘We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.’8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. ‘Where do you come from?’ he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 ‘Do you refuse to speak to me?’ Pilate said. ‘Don’t you realise I have power either to free you or to crucify you?’11 Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, ‘If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.’13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). 14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.‘Here is your king,’ Pilate said to the Jews.15 But they shouted, ‘Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!’‘Shall I crucify your king?’ Pilate asked.‘We have no king but Caesar,’ the chief priests answered.16 Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.” NIV
”The Jews insisted…the Jews kept shouting…But they shouted…” (7, 12 & 15).
You feel the insistence of the Jewish people as you read through this passage. Pilate doesn’t want them to win, but they just won’t back down. As we have seen, he first compromises, but then he capitulates. He has resisted to some extent; he has held out for a while. But there comes the dreadful, fateful ”Finally” (16)
”Pilate caved in to their demand” (The Message).
This is is how it is with us, is it not?
The voice of the WORLD is so insistent, telling us how we should look and what we ought to desire; where we should go and what we must do; attempting to squeeze us into its mould.
The voice of the FLESH is so insistent, craving within us, often with a red hot destructive desire, for things God forbids and knows will do us harm. We know we shouldn’t. It didn’t satisfy before, and really we know it will prove futile and shameful again. But still we head to the banks of the polluted stream, and stoop to drink the muddy waters. That voice cajoling us; seducing us into believing it’s a fresh, sparkling stream, is so insistent.
The voice of TEMPTATION is so insistent. The old serpent slithers once more into your garden, casts doubt on God’s Word, and proffers forbidden fruit. And we know the story well. We know it doesn’t have a good ending. But still we sink our teeth into the juicy looking specimen held out for the titillation of our taste buds…and again we are poisoned.
Like Pilate, if we first start to compromise with the insistent voices, we will end up capitulating, caving in. We will arrive at our ”Finally” moment.
But isn’t this inevitable? Frail, fallen, fragile creatures that we are, can anything better be expected of us?
Well I suppose the reality is that as broken people living in a broken world, we will often eat the food of failure. But that said, I have to believe that the victory of Christ on the cross means something for my daily life and my on-going struggle with temptation and sin. It is possible to refuse, to resist, to not give in to these raised, clamouring voices of the world, the flesh and the devil. We are seated with Christ in the heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:1-11). If the devil and the powers are under Jesus’ feet, and we are ”in” Him, they are under our feet also. Therefore a different ”Finally” is possible (Ephesians 6:10ff). Don’t settle for a defeatist attitude. Jesus’ death deserves a different response.
PRAYER: Thank you Lord that my fight is not for victory but FROM victory. Teach me please to stand in your triumph.