So much has been said about the Nazarene, we are, I believe, convinced we know him. But do we know him? I mean know Him.What I understand about Jesus is summed up here. He lived before he was born to the young couple in Bethlehem. Before his birth, he made visits to the earth where He walked, ate and conversed with the Jewish patriarch Abraham. (Genesis 18) The apostle Paul mentioned him in his letter to the believers in Colossae. He told them Jesus is the image of the invisible God, and the firstborn of all creation. He created all things, whether or not you can see them, and that He did it all for Himself. He is the beginning of creation and holds it all together; somehow!
Before I continue, I want you to know my intention here is to provoke us to keep going in our pursuit of this man. I’ve noticed that I am and possibly you are as well, easily satisfied with what we already know and have already experienced with Jesus of Nazareth.
As I was talking with friends over the weekend, we were sharing about our thoughts, love and faith in this One who saved us from ourselves by giving us His life. It was great fellowship, but it felt like we hit the ceiling of our experience with Jesus very quickly.
If you’re an atheist, I challenge you to find out who Jesus really is, for yourself. If you’re agnostic, I challenge you the same. If you’re a whatever, repeat, do the same. There is one thing you cannot deny. There is no one like you, and there is no one like Jesus. But who is He, I mean really, who is He? We all have a something on who Jesus is, but my guess is it’s not complete. No duh, right?
I plead with you, go on in your search and struggle to know Him. As my friends and I were talking this past weekend, I was reminded of a passage from Matthew’s gospel (Matthew 27:19) where Pilate’s wife warned her husband, “Have nothing to do with this man! I have suffered much in a dream about him”. This got me thinking. The governor’s wife is begging her husband to wash his hands of the Nazarene, because of her dreams about Him. It made me think about the things we don’t consciously know about Him. What we know, we know that we know. What we know we don’t know, doesn’t bother us much, until something pushes us into the unknown, and then we know, because we acted on the little we do know, and then we go on to know more!
For convenience sake, let’s call Pilate’s wife Claudia. Every man who’s married likes to think he is the head of the house. Great. But every head has a neck. Enter Claudia, Pilate’s neck. Not only was she his neck, she was a very influential neck. Only mentioned once in scripture, but I think Claudia was loved very much by Pilate. Aside from being the Judean governor, I think they had a fairly normal life as first century Romans. At the end of the worst day in his career in Judea, frustrated by the insolent religious mob, he washed his hands of the Nazarene.
Then I remembered a book I had read years ago, called The Archko Volume, which I highly recommend to you. This book claims to contain original documents of the Sanhedrin and Talmud of the Jews. Among those documents is a report given by Pilate to Tiberius Caesar about his experience in dealing with Jesus of Nazareth. He remarked about his wife’s comments,” Beware, beware, and touch not that man; for he is holy”, she said. It’s quite a read, specifically about Pilate’s opinion about Jesus as he observed him in everyday life. He remarked how different he was from his fellow Jews.
Another remarkable observation in his report is his description of Jerusalem in those days surrounding the arrest and eventual crucifixion of the Nazarene. He reported there was but one who appeared calm amid this vast multitude that poured into Jerusalem; it was the Nazarene. The Nazarene’s crime; He said things that violated the Jewish religious mind. Proclaiming He and his Father were one threw them over the edge.
Pilate made many attempts to assuage the mob’s hysteria, but to no avail. His last attempt was the brutal scourging, thinking it would satiate their lust for the blood of Jesus. It did not. Pilate washed his hands.
I think about the revelation given to Claudia in the dream. I think what a precious gift given to her by God. It was also a curse to her husband, seasoned as one of Caesar’s lieutenants, but only a novice in hearing prophetic instruction. Pilate was, indeed, between a rock and a hard place. After trying to carry out Roman policy, measured as it was toward the lawless, and finding nothing substantive in the accusations toward the Nazarene, finally conceded to his wife’s counsel.
I think it interesting how I grew up in the church and viewed Pontius Pilate as a bad guy. A man who hated Jesus. Where did I get that bias? Pilate’s report to Caesar included a statement that said the Sadducees hated the Nazarene and were impatient of the Roman yoke. Their motive fueled their actions against Him.
I wonder about myself in this. Do I hate Jesus? Am I impatient with my yokes imposed on me? Does this fuel any animosity towards the One who loved me and gave Himself for me? I think it’s a valid question. Is my proclamation of love for him manifested in the way I live? Do I still live for number one? Have I allowed myself to be seduced by the religious mob around me? Have those who claim an allegiance to God’s son scheme to walk behind Him at a distance?
I don’t have all the answers, but this one thing I do know. The general history of Christianity is that it is found to be difficult; but wherever it has been tried and honorably gone on with, it has never failed.