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September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“They led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.”—Matthew 27:1–2 (NKJV)
It was Pilate’s job to make sure the turbulent region of ancient Palestine, modern-day Israel, was kept in line with Roman rule. It was a rocky relationship, a political appointment punctuated by outbursts of protests and rioting.
So imagine where Pilate’s head was when the Jewish rulers came to him with a request. They wanted him to execute someone, a man they accused of being an “evildoer.” Pilate didn’t want any part of it. Why shed more Jewish blood than necessary? He told them to deal with it. Case closed!
Only it wasn’t. The Jewish rulers were bent on having Jesus killed, and in the most decisive manner imaginable . . . crucifixion! That would send the message to all who had begun to follow this self-proclaimed Messiah who challenged their authority. Only Rome could do this, which is why they pushed back against Pilate by telling him its unlawful for them to carry out the desired sentence (John 18:31). They put the ball back in Pilate’s court, and John adds an interesting footnote here, “that the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled which He spoke, signifying by what death He would die” (John 18:32 NKJV).
What’s that all about? Jesus had previously stated that His life was heading towards an inevitable end, one where He would be “lifted up” (John 3:14, 12:32). This is a powerful prediction, not only of His death, but also of the exact manner of His death! A crucified victim would be laid down flat on his cross, affixed to it, and then lifted up into an upright position where they would slowly suffer and ultimately suffocate to death.
Jesus knew what awaited Him. And what’s even more amazing is that He knew and did not run away from it! Which of us wouldn’t take the first chance we had to avoid a collision course with crucifixion? Not our Lord!
This leads to one last, amazing link in this chain. Jesus knowingly submitted to the cross because He loves you and me. He also knew that nothing could save us from the eternal consequences of our sin except a sacrifice that only He, Himself, could be! His love for us outweighed the painful foreknowledge of the torturous death our forgiveness required!
Keep these two thoughts in mind today. First, nothing takes our Lord by surprise. He sees way up ahead and around the corner. Second, He loves you more than you can imagine. He chose the cross in order to ensure a relationship with you. Know and rest in this!
DIG: What did Jesus know? Why is this significant?
DISCOVER: What are you going to remember today?
DISPLAY: Are you struggling with something today? Something uncertain and confusing? Are you lost in what to do, where to go, or why something is happening? Write this down and keep it with you: “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”—John 14:27 (NKJV). This verse will help you remember that Christ is in control, He knows what’s behind and what’s ahead, and He love you completely and forever.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.