What to do With the King

Here is the opening to what I’m sharing this Sunday:

Imagine if you will for a moment a scene in Afghanistan, where you are the U.S. Commander of an outpost and you’re confronted with a mob of Afghan people who are dragging a prisoner to the gates of the U.S. Military base….and spokesman for the mob is shouting in broken English that the man they have captured is an insurgent, guilty of plotting against the presence of American troops in their country.

You recognize the person who is making the accusations against the prisoner…he’s the imam of the local mosque, a well respected man in the town.

The mob is calling for the immediate execution of the prisoner – they are asking you to do this in deference to the presence of our troops…they don’t want to be mistaken as insurrectionists themselves.

You call for a translator and try to get to the bottom of what’s happening here. Why should this prisoner be executed? The answer comes back that he has blasphemed Mohammad and declared himself as the rightful leader of the region who will bring a new jihad against your military base.

You try to ask the prisoner what he’s done, but he just stays silent.

As the commander of the base, you’re on thin ice. You’ve been reprimanded by a brigadier general and a major general for the way you’ve mishandled diplomacy with the locals…one more write up and you’ll probably be transferred and busted down a rank….or worse, face a court martial.

You don’t know if the prisoner is guilty or not. You know virtually nothing about him except that he’s at the center of a growing crisis.

The imam is getting hysterical, demanding the prisoner’s death. You don’t know why they consider him worthy of death.

You don’t understand his religion, the culture is alien to you, the mob is growing in size and volume teetering on the verge of a riot….and you’re job, you’re FUTURE is on the line.

What will you do? Sacrifice this one insurgent whether he’s guilty or not…. or defy the mob and risk a riot and the loss of many lives? (Not to mention your career)

Execute one potentially innocent man in order to save a lot more lives who are potentially guilty?

We will be reading about the trial of Jesus in Luke 23:1-25.  Pilate is under the extreme pressure of the world and religion as he decides what to do about Jesus’ claim to be king.  As you read his story, think about the pressures life has put on you at times – and think about Christ’s claim as king over  your life. What did Pilate try to do, and what did he  ultimately do, and what can we learn from observing his actions?

Small Group leaders, your leader’s guide can be found here: leaders guide 23-1-25 – note that the title of the message has been changed.

See you Sunday!

2 thoughts on “What to do With the King

  1. The Last Sentence of your narrative prior to “We will be reading…” was simple but directly to the point.

    Execute one potentially innocent man in order to save a lot more lives who are potentially guilty?

    Isn’t that exactly what Jesus did? Sometimes in life actions are REQUIRED (and not just an option) when one has been speaking about a subject. The actors in this drama (religious leaders, unruly crowd and Pilate) have all taken a stand prior to this final confrontation. Each is asking the other “Do your words mean something, or are they just hollow words?” The religious leaders and the unruly crowd demand action and those actions are release Barnabas (who by the way is another sinner released by Jesus’s substitution despite the recognition of the particpants), and of course the death of Jesus. Pilate makes the choice of action that responds to those demands. In the case of Jesus, He has spoken for three years to everyone who would listen. Actions are now required so that His words are true.

    All made choices. Most chose an actions that satisfied either the demands that they put on themselves, or other put on them. Jesus made a different choice.

    I would love to report a particular time in my life when the same situation occurred. But in light of the previous words anything I say would be woefully inadequate. I might ask that we are reminded at this time of the sacrifice of the American soldier.

  2. Well, Pilot tried to do the right thing, then he tried to pass the buck, then he again made the right decision but ultimately buckled under the pressure of the crowd. From this we see that under mounting pressure’s it can be difficult to stick to our convictions. I imagine that all of us have been faced with pressing circumstances that would try to push us toward compromising our convictions. It is easy to trust God to meet our needs when we have a fat bank account. It’s easy to trust Him in our marriage when our husband is bringing home flowers and helping with the kids. But, when we loose our job and that savings account is gone or our husband has forgotten our anniversary and gone fishing, we might begin to waver in the trust department. Neither of those situations hold a candle to what Pilot or the the commander of the base was facing above. In those situations really either decision takes you out of the frying pan and into the fire. I am guessing here that trusting God even under the most tumultuous of circumstances is the bottom line. When we put our trust in our hero we are able to make the right choices knowing that He will carry us through whatever consequences may result from being loyal to Him. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were willing to be burnt alive standing up for their King…..they trusted Him and He preserved their lives (accompanying them) inside the fiery furnace!! He is with us in whatever consequences we may face as a result of trusting Him!! “Whatever He brings us to, He will bring us through”. I heard Beth Moore say one time, if God has ordained an early death for you then He will use it to bring glory to Himself. And even there, in death, our loyalty still reaps the happy ending!!

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