The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 103

“Jesus replied, ‘Are you saying this of yourself [on your own initiative] or have others told you about me?’ ” (John 18:34, Amplified Bible).

The incident: a momentous trial. The day: the early hours of Friday morning. The place: the judgment hall of Pontius Pilate, the Roman prefect of Judea. The reason: The Jewish council had urgently petitioned Pilate to conduct a hearing for a prisoner that they deemed deserved the death penalty. The persons involved: Jesus, Pilate, the Jews and a large mob. The question: are you the king of the Jews? Read chapter 18 for the full story.

Notice that Jesus’ did not reply with a simple yes or no but in the form of a question. Pilate interpreted Jesus’ question as impudence. But Jesus did not need to be impudent. He knew who he was. He feared no earthly judge. What he simply wanted to know was whether Pilate had adequate information concerning him so as to pass judgment on him. If he did not, he would be acting merely on hearsay.

It would be a fair assumption that Pilate’s knowledge about Jesus was limited to what he had heard about him from the High Priest Caiaphas. What’s more, it seems obvious from their conversation that Pilate had never met Jesus on any prior occasion. Yet he was about to pass judgment on the basis of his scanty knowledge of Jesus. So Jesus challenged him. I personally believe that Jesus was giving Pilate an opportunity to evaluate his credentials, but Pilate (even though he doubted in his heart whether Jesus was really guilty), was not prepared to investigate further the claims that Jesus was making about His person and work.

Pilate’s actions are recorded for posterity. But the issue that Pilate faced on that momentous day is very much alive. And the issue was simply this: confronted with the opportunity to discover first-hand about Jesus, what would he choose to do?

Today, unlike any time in the past 2000 years, the world has a vast amount of information available, in every language, on the life, teachings and person of Jesus. This fact in itself will condemn many unbelievers who plead ignorance.

As Christians, we too must beware of making the same excuse! Being a ‘Believer’ implies a personal relationship with Jesus. It presupposes a first-hand knowledge of Him. Our preaching and living must come out of knowing him, not knowing of him. We must not be like the seven sons of Sceva (Acts) who tried, to their detriment, to use the name of ‘the Jesus whom Paul preached’. Remember too, Jesus challenged Peter, “But whom do you say I am?” That challenge confronts us every day, in the courtroom of our daily trials and persecutions. Do you know him?

            Devotional                                                                                                                            Preach The Word The Word with Pastor Joseph Rodrigues