Saturday, July 19, 2014
Unlocking the Door of Confusion
"But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that He be crucified, and their shouts prevailed. So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will." Luke 23:23-25
Here, Jesus has just been examined by Pilate who has found no truth to the claims made against Him. Passing Him off to Herod, because He was a man from his jurisdiction, he comes to the same conclusion: Jesus has done nothing to deserve death. So Herod sends him back to Pilate.
Pilate, standing once again before and indignant crowd proclaims Jesus' innocence, but they just wouldn't have it! They raised their voices even louder and called for a substitute. They asked Pilate to release Barnabus, a known rebel and murderer, and kill Jesus in his place. Not only kill Him, crucify Him. (Bring Him to death by means of torment.) The Message version of the Bible says, "Pilate caved" under the pressure "and gave them what they wanted." He "surrendered Jesus to their will." (v. 25)
As I meditated on these verses such a clear application emerged. I noted that against his own convictions and inclinations, against what he knew in his heart to be true, Pilate handed Jesus over to the demands of the crowd. Their voices were louder and more pressing than the voice of truth he had based his initial judgement on.
How often that becomes the case in our lives. We hear God's voice loud and clear speaking truth or direction into our lives. We know in our heart that He is right, and because of it we know what we are called to do. But then things like fear, doubt, selfish ambition, or feelings of entitlement raise their voice. The volume of their demands get louder and louder, insisting on their way. They unlock the door of confusion. Contending for the place of truth in our hearts we begin to dismiss Jesus. Lies of the enemy start to prevail. They demand their way. They shout at us from the crowd. Sometimes they are spoken through a trusted, God-fearing friend or family member. Sometimes we just plain get impatient. But whatever the case, they are ploys from the enemy meant to get us off track and doubt God. Meant to deter us from whatever it is God has clearly called us to do. But God uses them for good, to test our loyalty and the resolve of our decision; to see how firmly we believe what we say we believe.
This wavering is cause for self-examination. Questions like... Am I going to take God at His Word and believe Him? Trust Him? Or not? Am I believing Jesus, but willing to dismiss Him just the same? Willing to dismiss what He has promised, even momentarily to entertain the voices of fear, doubt, displeasure with His timing, or discouragement which lead to anything from lack of belief to acting irresponsibly to panic? Are lies from the enemy speaking louder than Jesus at that moment when I feel like giving up, giving in or turning back? Am I allowing truth or lies to prevail in my heart? Am I surrendering to Jesus, or surrendering Jesus to a lie?
2 Corinthians 10:5 says we are to "demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."
Father God, help me to rest in You even when my circumstances tell me to fear or doubt or panic. Help me as I strive to live surrendered to You, not from You. Help me to zero in on Your voice even when the crowd argues with insistence, demands and loud voices. I ask You not to grant their demands or turn me over to them. May Your will and Your will alone prevail in my life. In Jesus' name I pray, amen.