Monday, February 14, 2011

Pilate’s Postmodernism

In John 18 and 19 we see Jesus come before Pontius Pilate the Roman governor. Pilate confronts Jesus with are you the King of the Jews? Then Jesus said, I have purpose and bring Truth to the world and if you know and love Truth you will know and love me. Pilate responds in a post-modern fashion; what is truth?

This was another sarcastic reply of cynicism that Pilate gave out, as the one to judge truth diminishes its relevance. Yet, real Truth is one of the most important ideas of God. Truth does not matter to those whose pursuits are wicked or if it goes against someone’s worldview or for one who is overly skeptical or focused on just one thing like Pilate’s time schedule.

Pilate’s statements of, what is it you have done? And what is truth? And judge him by your own law, are all defense mechanisms to avoid responsibility. He, like many people today, was a man in a hurry and not concerned with truth, just his own personal matters. He was a bit tolerant for the sideshow put on by the religious leaders, perhaps even perplexed and struck by Jesus, but not enough to go beyond his comfort zone and act truthfully with justice and mercy, something Jesus will do for us. Jesus would even forgive Pilate if he did right, just as Jesus forgives all those who seek to condemn Him. How many of us miss opportunities because we take hold of our desires, scheme and seek ourselves regardless of consequences, and refuse to deal with our sin, so sin takes us over. How often we see those who are responsible for justice overlook justice and guilt. If we do not deal with sin, it will take us out, as sin produces all of the disasters of life.

It seems that Pilate was weighing the political consequences of releasing Jesus and perhaps causing problems with his job security. Even if Pilate believed Jesus was at least a Divine messenger or a Prophet, it was not enough to sway him from the manipulation of the religious leaders.

This passage has a very interesting and responsibility-ducking response that is reminiscent of many people today, called postmodernism.

Pilate had the great opportunity to showcase Truth, yet he did not want to take responsibility. In the previous passage, he questioned what truth is and made a claim that it is all relative and unimportant; he skirted the issues and blamed others so he would not get into trouble. Then, when all that did not work, he compromised and placated the crowd instead of taking a stand to do the right thing. How many of us do that? A Judge, knowing a defendant is innocent, follows the technicalities of the law, ignoring truth and justice, and sends an innocent person to prison while a guilty person gets off because of those same technicalities. Church boards ignore a good pastoral candidate because his teaching is too relevant and convicting, choosing another who will not rock the boat or make them feel uncomfortable, even though the person whom they choose compromises truth and merely entertains. When we seek to ignore truth or Truth, blame others, and/or refuse to take responsibility, we are being more like Pilate and less like Jesus!

In contrast, when we are seeking Christ first and His work in us, then we are pursuing righteousness and all that is good as a way to glorify Christ as Lord. What we all need to be doing is applying His character into our lives and relationships, from our daily lives, our service, and our mission for His glory. This is real, authentic application of our faith development that is essential—not only in our personal Christian lives, but also in how we are to prepare ourselves to build relationships and model and make Him known. With sin, all we will have is quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, envy, pride, and such, as these so-called Jewish leaders modeled. The results of these will cause chaos and strife to any situation, and hinder God’s work in us. Extreme division will be wedged into any church or relationship focusing our will and desires over His, preventing our receiving of any good or pleasing work, as well as any blessings. It will prevent God from using us to the fullest extent possible, especially in helping others. We will not be real, functioning Christians when we have pride or focus on pleasing others and not pleasing Christ. We have to be willing to counteract these rotten works by committing to the good fruit, keeping our goals, and focusing upon Christ and His Word, so we can develop them (Prov. 6:32-35; Rom. 8:29).


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