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!