Jesus had nothing to hide. He was honest, open, genuine…and as we look through the gospels, we see this same theme throughout. What the people saw is what they got. No hidden agendas, no pretenses, just pure, unadulterated love.
We see this especially during Jesus’ arrest and trial. Take John 18:19-24, for example: “While this was happening, the high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching. Jesus replied, ‘I have spoken publicly to the world. I always taught in the synagogues and in the temple courts, where all the Jewish people assemble together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said. They know what I said.’ When Jesus had said this, one of the high priest’s officers who stood nearby struck him on the face and said, ‘Is that the way you answer the high priest?’ Jesus replied, ‘If I have said something wrong, confirm what is wrong. But if I spoke correctly, why strike me?'” (NET)
I don’t know about you, but I think if I were on trial for my life, I might try to sugarcoat things a bit. You know, make myself to be seen in a better light, something, but not Jesus.
What is the difference between Jesus’ reaction and my own?
Jesus knew and valued who He was in God. He knew, in any possible situation, that His father loved Him and accepted Him. As a result, He was freed from all worries about what people would think of Him. He was even freed from the fear of death itself. This gave Him the freedom He needed to be able to show true love at all times.
Am I being too harsh on myself? It’s true that I also know who I am in Christ. I know that my Father loves me and accepts me, no matter what; but do I truly value this knowledge the way Jesus did? I mean, I continue to be sensitive to what others think, I am limited by my fear of non-acceptance, I am muzzled by a sense of dread that I might “say the wrong thing”. When I look at the life of Jesus, however, I see that He valued what His Father thought of Him more highly than anything else. Maybe I could learn some lessons…
Come on. Surely it can’t be so bad to try to please other people. Isn’t that part of loving them?
As we proceed through the story of Jesus’ trial, we find Him arriving in the court of Pontius Pilot: “So Pilate came outside to them and said, ‘What accusation do you bring against this man?’ They replied, ‘If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.’ Pilate told them, ‘Take him yourselves and pass judgment on him according to your own law!’ The Jewish leaders replied, ‘We cannot legally put anyone to death.'” (John 18:29-31 NET).
Here Pilot finds himself in a hard position. He knows nothing about the situation, yet at his word, this man can either be freed or killed. We see thatPilot wants to save Jesus, and that he tries several different times to change the minds of the Jews concerning Him: “he went back outside to the Jewish leaders and announced, ‘I find no basis for an accusation against him.'” (John 18:38 NET; see alsoJohn 19:4,12). So why didn’t Pilot just say the word and have Jesus’ life spared?
Many reasons, I am sure, but the one that God impressed upon me was this: Pilot was too afraid of the people to stand up for what was right. We know from the Biblical account that Pilot was afraid of the potential consequences of having Jesus crucified: “When Pilate heard what they said, he was more afraid than ever…” (John 19:8 NET); but his fear of the people was greater than his fear of putting an innocent man to death.
And what was the result of Jesus’ and Pilot’s decisions? And what was the end of their stories?
Jesus, who loved God and valued His instructions more than He feared what others would think, died a horrible death. Three days later, however, He rose from the grave, and He is now in Heaven and will one day reign as ruler over all nations (seePs.2:6-8,Isaiah 2:1-4,Jeremiah 23:5,Dan 7:18-27, etc).
Pilot’s ending was a bit different.The Roman historian and Christian polemicist, Eusebius, tells us that Pontius Pilate fell under great misfortune, and that he eventually committed suicide. (Taken from Flavius Josephus. Antiquities of the Jews 18.4.2.)
I don’t know about you, but the end of Jesus’ story, the One who put His focus on God and Him alone, looks significantly better than the end of Pilot’s story.Think about that the next time you are tempted to do (or not do) something because of your fear of what people will think…
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author — “Aboard God’s Train — A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer”, Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, andScriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, withAnswers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.