Saturday, March 11, 2017

Jesus Before Pilate

Jesus Before Pilate
37“Then You are a king?” Pilate said. “You say that I am a king,” Jesus answered. “For this reason I was born and have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to My voice.” 38“What is truth?” Pilateasked. And having said this, he went out again tothe Jews and told them, “I find no basis for a charge against Him. 39But it is your custom that I release to you one prisoner at the Passover. So then, do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”…

Almost 2,000 years ago, a Roman governor chose to ask a profound question of a man who was about to be executed.
"What is truth?" he asked.
Most people ponder that question at some time in their lives, especially at critical points when they are struggling with the question of the meaning of life. After all, the need for meaning is a basic human need, and there can be no meaning without some ultimate truth.
Is There an Ultimate Truth?
We seem to know instinctively that ultimate truth is somehow related to the existence of God. In fact, it is interesting that those who deny the existence of God are the same ones who say there is no absolute truth and that everything is relative. But something deep within us says this is not so -- something tells us that God exists and that He holds the key to truth.
However, that raises another question. If there is a God, a creator, as evidenced by creation, how do we know who He is? How do we know what He's like? Has He revealed Himself and His truth to the human race?
The answer is yes! He has revealed Himself to all mankind and He has authenticated His communication to us in such a way that it is clear that it is His word and no one else's.
God's Message To Man
God's message to man is the Bible. The Bible is composed of 66 separate books, written by as many as 40 different authors over a span of more than 1000 years. The New Testament is composed of 27 books written by nine authors over a span of about 50 years, from 50 A.D. to 100 A.D.
The Old Testament is about how God revealed Himself to Israel through His law and the prophets. The New Testament is about how God revealed Himself to the world through His Son.
Have your ever read the Bible ? The fact that a book written over a period of 1500 years could have such an amazing consistency in thought, content, and purpose testifies to its divine origin. But there is much more.
God Speaks in Person
The Bible defines itself as the word of God and consistently claims divine authorship. It claims to be the authoritative and infallible presentation of ultimate truth. It doesn't just talk about God. In the Bible, God speaks Himself. Phrases like "And God said..." occur about 3800 times in the Old Testament alone. The Bible is different from any other document in history in this respect: God speaks in it. But that's not all.
Archaeological Proof
The increased activity and accumulated discoveries of archaeology over the past few decades confirm the smallest details of the Bible's accuracy, hushing its critics. Before archaeological finds began confirming the accuracy of the Bible, doubters and critics made many charges against it; such as that Moses could not write, that the Hittite people (an ancient people mentioned in the Bible) never existed, and that other peoples and cities described in the Bible were merely mythological. Archaeology has proven the critics wrong in every one of these cases, and in hundreds of others. Not a single detail of Holy Scripture is contradicted by archaeology. The historical accuracy of the Bible is not a matter of faith. It is a matter of fact.
God Foretells The Future
Another convincing evidence of the divine inspiration of the Scriptures is prophecy -- the 100% accurate predicting of the future that is coined in the Bible. Here are recorded God's many revelations of future events to His prophets. These prophets wrote down what God showed them. Then 10, 100 or 1000 years later, those very things prophesied came to pass. More than one-third of the Old Testament is devoted to prophecy.
The most important figure in Bible prophecy is the Messiah, the Savior promised to Israel and to the world. From the books of Moses (the first five books of the Old 
Testament) to the book of Malachi (the last book of the Old Testament), over a time span of a thousand years, more than 300 specific details of this Savior's birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection were foretold by Biblical prophets.
The Testimony Of Messiah
Jesus Christ fulfilled every one of those prophecies. He is the most convincing argument for the truth of the Bible. Jesus Christ -- the most unique individual the world has ever known. So profound is His life that the two eras of human history are divided by His coming: B.C ("Before Christ") and A.D. ("Anno Domini," which means "year of our Lord"). The life, the death, and especially the resurrection of Jesus Christ rocked the world and forever altered the course of civilization.
Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, the Messiah. The Scriptures bear witness to this.
And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord."
And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." (Luke 4:16-21 NASB).
But Jesus didn't just talk about being the Messiah, He demonstrated the power of God -- His power -- through many "signs and wonders." He revealed His authority over creation by turning water into wine, and by commanding storms to cease -- and cease they did. He revealed His compassion for people by healing multitudes, restoring sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, and health to the sick. He raised people from the dead. Finally, after Jesus was crucified and buried, He physically arose from the dead and appeared afterward to more than 500 people. In every phase of His life -- from His conception to His resurrection -- Jesus fulfilled prophecies made hundreds of years beforehand, convincing those around Him who knew and believed the Scriptures that He was the Messiah.
 Face To Face
Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor who, almost 2,000 years ago, looked into the eyes of Jesus and asked, "What is truth?"
Pilate was talking to the Truth. He was talking to God in the flesh -- the One through whom the worlds were created.
"You will know the truth and the truth will set you free," Jesus had proclaimed. But the truth was not setting Pilate free that day, because he didn't honestly want to know it. So there in his governor's palace, while history held its breath, with Truth standing right in front of him, Pilate still had to ask, perhaps flippantly or perhaps sadly, "What is truth?"
He never knew. The human heart unwilling to submit to the truth will never know the truth.
What About You?
Do you really want to know the Truth? Jesus said to all who are searching, "Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you." (The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 7, Verse 7). But if you knock on the door looking for truth and Jesus opens it, what will you do? Will you go in to Him or will you turn and walk away? And if you turn away, where will you go? Throughout the ages, in all creation, there is no other truth but Him. Jesus declared it: "I am the way and the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but through me" (The Gospel of John, Chapter 14, Verse 6).
Would you prefer an easier truth? One that makes no demands? You know that in the long run it will be much harder to find out that you have lived a lie all your life than to accept, right now, the simple demands that Jesus makes. Remember, He is compassionate. Patient. Willing to forgive. Jesus says, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (The Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 11, Verses 28-30).
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