I pray that you all had a blessed Monday and your blessings will continue throughout the week. I have so much to say and share that I am not sure which to start with this week. It is a good dilemma to have, but a dilemma none the same.
This morning I heard ( I was listening and not watching)something on TV that caught my attention that I just have to share. Now, I don’t usually have my TV on in the morning, but I just felt compelled to turn it on and to a Christian station. I am not even sure what station it is, but the program I listened to was done by Jim Baker. [Please trust that I am aware of his background, but I am able to listen to anyone preach the gospel as I have the Holy Spirit to guide me, which gives me the spirit of discernment.] Anyways, he made a statement that struck me to the core: “The United States is crucifying Jesus all over again!” Sounds a little far-fetching to some, but think about it for a moment. I am serious; pause for a moment and consider what has been happening with Christianity in the last several years.
What used to be “one nation under God” is no longer. God is no longer welcomed in our government, schools, or public. This kind of “no God” mentality seems to be trickling to homes as well. In the media, Jesus is on trial. His ways are being questioned. His followers are betraying Him. We may not yet be at Jesus’ second crucifixion, but we are definitely at the second trial of Jesus Christ. Let’s take a quick look at the original trial.
Mark 15:1-20 (NIV): Very early in the morning, the chief priests, with the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin, made their plans. So they bound Jesus, led him away and handed him over to Pilate.
2 “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.
“You have said so,” Jesus replied.
3 The chief priests accused him of many things. 4 So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”
5 But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.
6 Now it was the custom at the festival to release a prisoner whom the people requested.7 A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. 8 The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did.
9 “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, 10 knowing it was out of self-interest that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.
12 “What shall I do, then, with the one you call the king of the Jews?” Pilate asked them.
13 “Crucify him!” they shouted.
14 “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate.
But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
15 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged,and handed him over to be crucified.
16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” 19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
Any of this sounding familiar? Accusations being made, Jesus remaining silent, crowds of people given the chance to defend Jesus and His followers remain silent. Those who stood against Jesus taunted and mocked. They belittled Him and tried to shame Him. Pilate tried to free him, more than once, but neither the Jews or the Romans would hear it. Instead, the world judged Him guilty and turned against Him. Hmm sounds like what I hear in the media and on Facebook. Where were his disciples, those who swore they would not turn against him? Where were his faithful followers?
I was reminded of the song, He Loved Me Anyway by Sidewalk Prophets. The following words convicted my spirit:
“See now, I am the man that called out from the crowd; for Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground. Yes, then, I turned away with this smile on my face, with this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace. And then alone in the night, I still called out for You, so ashamed of my life, my life, my life”
The above lyrics made me ask myself, “what role am I playing in the current day trial of Jesus?” “Am I part of the crowd yelling crucify him?” My first response was an emphatic “no way!” But, once I thought about it a little longer I began to see that maybe sometimes I am yelling, “crucify him.” When I try to people please and change the word of God to make them happy, I am yelling, “crucify him.” Every time I remain silent and don’t stand up for Jesus or His word, I am saying, “crucify him.” I am ashamed that many times this year I have been Simon Peter. You all remember Simon Peter don’t you? He is the follower who denied Jesus three times.
Luke 23:31-34 (NIV): “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you,Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
33 But he replied, “Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.”
34 Jesus answered, “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me.”
………..John 18: 15-18: Peter’s First Denial
15 Simon Peter and another disciple were following Jesus. Because this disciple was known to the high priest, he went with Jesus into the high priest’s courtyard, 16 but Peter had to wait outside at the door. The other disciple, who was known to the high priest, came back, spoke to the servant girl on duty there and brought Peter in.
17 “You aren’t one of this man’s disciples too, are you?” she asked Peter.
He replied, “I am not.”
18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
Peter’s Second and Third Denials
John 18: 25-27: Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”
He denied it, saying, “I am not.”
26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off,challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
Simon Peter started out with good intentions. I honestly think he believed he would stand by Jesus. I think we have all been there. Most of us probably think we are devout followers, but how many of us have remained quite when we shouldn’t of? How many of us have been afraid to talk about Jesus with a certain group of people? How many of us failed to comment when we’ve seen scriptures being used out of context on Facebook or wherever? How many of us have failed to confront sin in our fellow Christians?How many of us have failed to stand up for Jesus? I know I have and on more than one occasion.
Yes, our sin played at vital role in the first trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Jesus died for my sins just as much as he died for the sin of those long ago. I am 100% guilty in the first trial and crucifixion. I don’t have to be in the trial going on today. You don’t either. This time when asked, I will yell out “free him, free Jesus!” I will do this by taking a stand. I will do this by not backing down from my beliefs. I will not be afraid to share Jesus to everyone or in every situation. I will speak truth in love, but I will speak truth. Jesus gave Peter a second chance and Peter became a great man of God. He will give us a second chance as well; let us not waste it.
I know this was a long one, but I hope you were encouraged to take a stand or keep on standing.
Until next time, stay safe and God bless,