Friday, January 30, 2009

Who is driving the bus?

Ultraguy, over at New Wineskins posted a blog yesterday that got me thinking. He's a good friend of mine, in fact he was the one that suggested that I should be blogging myself.

P.S., you should blog some of this! it's too good to be for my eyes only.

As one should try to obey one's blog father -
I submit the following - If as christians we claim to believe - God is in control there are some things to consider:
  1. President Obama is God's chosen instrument - whether for good or ill as we are given to see it - we do not yet see.
  2. There are set limits on President Obama's power to act and to do. This applies to both domestic and foreign policy.
  3. Our role as christians is to pray for those in power that they will do the will of God. In the past we have seen what happens to those who see, hear and obey.
    1. Nineveh after Job preached was saved for a time, yet the weight of their culture eventually sank them.
    2. The children of Israel failed to follow the sabatical rules and the jubilee - Nebuchadnezzar came along and helped them honor God's rules about the land.
    3. Queen Esther, clearly a woman for and defined by her time, thwarted the fixed plan of Haman to erase not only his rival for power in the court, but the entire race of the Hebrews.
A reading from the Gospel of John

Joh 19:1-22 KJV Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. (2) And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, (3) And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. (4) Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. (5) Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! (6) When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. (7) The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. (8) When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid; (9) And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer. (10) Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? (11) Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. (12) And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar. (13) When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. (14) And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! (15) But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
(16) Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. (17) And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: (18) Where they crucified him, and two other with him, on either side one, and Jesus in the midst.
(19) And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was, JESUS OF NAZARETH THE KING OF THE JEWS. (20) This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin. (21) Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews. (22) Pilate answered, What I have written I have written.

In the ordinary course of Roman justice, the story should end with Pilate's statement in verse 4, because it is a declaration of innocence. Everything from this point on that Pilate does must be understood from this knowledge. To be clear about it I will say it again and the text shows it. Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent. Yet because of the fixed purpose of God from before creation Pilate's options have been limited and Pilate is God's chosen man. His past, has led him to this point, and he finds that he can either honor his conscience or prevent a disastrous riot, but not both.

In verses 10 and 11 Jesus' response to Pilate shows that Pilate does not understand his position, he is like a chess player with only one move that he can take, yet that move is deadly.

In verse 19 we see that after the crisis, Pilate reasserts his authority as magistrate and makes a legal declaration that the accused was in fact who he claimed to be. When challenged on that point by the mob, Pilate holds his ground and attempts to recover some of his moral balance.

Scripture is silent about the rest of Pilate's life after the crucifixion and the traditions are somewhat divergent. What we are given to know is that Pilate when the time came did what God required of him: 1) A judicial finding of innocence, as important to the plan as the finding by the Chief Priest that Jesus was a lamb without blemish; 2) Sent Jesus to the cross; 3) A judicial finding of fact, Jesus of Nazareth, The King of the Jews.

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