Footprints of Jesus: I Am Not Alone


And as we look at Jesus again tonight, I am picking up from my last message. The footprints of Jesus.  And in our last message we started looking at the trial of Jesus, and focusing on the men who murdered Jesus. Looking at their character. Their methods, and their tactics But tonight I want to go back through those verses, and I want to focus first on the disciples of Jesus, especially Peter. And then I want to finish by looking at Pontius Pilate, and his interaction with Jesus.


So with that in mind, let’s pick up in Matthew 26, and we will start reading about the arrest of Jesus. Just after he finished praying in Gethsemane.

Matthew 26:52-56 King James Version (KJV) 

47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. 

48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 

49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. 

50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him. 

51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear. (The book of John tells us that it was Peter) 

52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 

53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 

54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? 

55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 

56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled. 

Peter: Remover of Ears

These verses here are very dramatic. And if we can try to picture ourselves there that evening, as one of the disciples of Jesus. We can maybe feel a little bit of that drama. On a very personal level, these men have each become dear friends. They love Jesus, as a close friends.

These men have been with him for years at this point. They have shared their trials, their journey’s their challenges together. They have seen outstanding miracles. They have heard Jesus preach and teach. They has witnessed what kind of many that he was. And they were convinced Jesus is the messiah.

And as we read through the gospels, we see that they have a certain ideas about how things are supposed to go. They are expecting Jesus to overthrow the Romans, and to setup the heavenly kingdom. And they even kind of have the idea that there might be conflict involved in doing that. And so they have been carrying weapons with them. And their expectations are that they are going to have positions of authority and importance in this kingdom Jesus is going to setup.


In their minds, that is really where they think things are headed. And we find evidence of that throughout the gospels. Even though Jesus has been telling them he is going to die. Even though he has been saying the kingdom of God is within you. The apostles are still expecting something very different than what is coming. They are looking for a very natural looking kingdom to be set up. Whereas the kingdom Jesus is going to set up is going to really be something spiritual  And as they came into Jerusalem the week before this arrest. They were on a high.


The people were calling Hosanna, calling Jesus the son of David. it look like Jesus was winning the crowd over. And then Jesus had just been up to the temple and told off the religious leaders. He challenged the leadership of Israel. In many ways it looked like things were really about to come together. It looked like Jesus was just about ready to setup the kingdom. And the truth was, Jesus was about to setup the kingdom. It just was going to take form that was quite different from what his disciples had in mind.

And as Jesus is here in the garden being arrested. Reality starts to hit home with the apostles. And Peter is quick to grab up his sword and start fighting for the kingdom he is looking for.  

Peter had many wonderful qualities – he had a great zeal and a lot of confidence. He was a fighter. Those are all good qualities for a person to have, especially when we direct them in the right way. When we have zeal, confidence, and fighting spirit, they can be real asset and benefit to us, if they are tempered by God.


But we see in Peter, his zeal, his confidence, his fighting spirit. At this time in his life, these parts of his character are not aligned with the will of God. They are not being directed by the Word of God. And as we see Peter here, and how he reacts to this situation, we can learn a little lesson. And it is a lesson about defending the Lord. When we have a lot of zeal, a lot of passion, and a fighting spirit. We can be quick to jump to the defense of a righteous cause. Just like Peter did here.

We see here Peter taking up a weapon, and lashing out at people who were coming against the Lord. You and I, we might be tempted to do something rash to defend the Lord Or to defend our faith. But you can’t defend Jesus any old way. And we see Peter, he has a good motive in his heart, to defend the Lord. But he chooses the wrong weapon to defend him with.

Jesus told Peter something very plainly. He said, if you take the sword, you will perish by the sword. You might say, you will reap what you sow. If we use a weapon of some sort, we should not be surprised if the person we attack responds by using the same kind of a weapon against us. Peter’s lucky someone didn’t whack him in the head with a sword.

So I want to be careful about the weapons I use to defend the Lord.

I don’t want defend the Lord with man’s weapons. I don’t want to defend the Lord with Satan’s weapons either. But I want to defend the Lord with the with weapons God has equipped me with. I want to fight against the enemy with sword of the spirit. I want to fight with the sword of God’s word. I want to fight with the sword of truth. Those are the weapons we use to defend to defend the Lord and his kingdom. If we chose some other weapon, things may not go well for us. If you take the sword, you will perish by the sword.


Its good to be zealous. Its good be bold. Its good to fight for what is right. But when we go outside of the parameters of the word of God to do it. Then it will come with a cost. And that is one of the lessons of these verses. We can’t show the world the witness of Jesus with violence and harshness. We can’t use wickedness to bring about good. We can’t show the world the witness of Jesus by ranting and raving like a deranged lunatic.

We can’t show the world the witness of Jesus by going around stabbing people with ungodliness. If we do, then we might end up just like Peter did here in Gethsemane.

And let’s just put Peter a little bit more into perspective here. He was too sleepy to pray with Jesus. He was too sleepy to fight a spiritual fight. But he had plenty of energy to start throwing his sword around. And that speaks something to me about Peter. For all his zeal, for all his confidence, for all his fighting spirit. He is a very immature follower of Jesus. He has not yet learned the right way to defend the Lord and his kingdom.


I want to be careful in how I fight for the Lord. I want to make sure I am not just cutting people’s ears off. Because if first thing I do is cut off their ear. Then they are not going to be able to hear a word I say. And I will have defeated Christ’s purpose. Peter learned a lesson from what Jesus said and did. Because what did Jesus do? He picked up that man’s ear and put it back on. Jesus is not in the business of cutting off ears. Jesus is in the business of opening ears. Jesus is in the business of speaking the truth in love. And a man needs an ear to be able to hear that.


Peter learned that lesson from Jesus. Sometimes that is how life is, we learn though experience. We learn that cutting someone’s ear off is not the best tactic for spreading the gospel. So I want to follow Christ’s example. I want to try to be the one who is healing people’s ears. And I tell you what, there is a whole lot of people had their ears cut off by some misguided men who thought they was defending Jesus. And I would love it if Jesus give me the ability to heal some ears for him.

So that is one thing I wanted to point out in these verses about the arrest of Jesus. Don’t cut off people’s ears. Because then they won’t be able to hear the gospel. And there’s more than one way to cut off a person’s ear. And they don’t all require a sword.


My kingdom is not of this world 

Now there is another aspect to what Peter is doing, that I want to bring out too. And this really becomes clear when Jesus goes before Pilate. Turn over to John 18, and we will read it. Now Pilate has just asked Jesus if he is a king. He is trying to see if Jesus is trying to overthrow the Roman government and start a new kingdom. And Jesus answers Pilate in verse 36.


John 18 

36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.  

There are two phrases there I want to focus on. The first one is “my kingdom is not of this world”. This Kingdom that Jesus is ruling over, is not an earthly natural kingdom. Its not a state or a kingdom that looks anything like what is in the world. It does not have a government like the kingdoms of the world. It does not have borders you can draw on a map It does not have it does not have an army with tanks, and bombs, and guns. It does not have a tax policy. It does not have a foreign policy.


Jesus is kingdom does not have any of these things. The kingdom that Jesus is talking about is nothing like that. His kingdom is not of this world. His kingdom is really not even concerned with any of those things.


If we think back to the days of the Romans, that was a very evil day. We talk about how evil the world is today. But it is very accurate to say the world was just as evil, or maybe even more evil in the days of Jesus. A lot of times, you will hear people talk about the good old days, back 100 years ago. When Christianity was really dominant through many parts of the world. And things have slipped a long way from that today. Things have gotten worse, that is very true. But they are still not as bad as it was in the days of Jesus. 

What we are living through today is not the most evil period in history. People who tell you that don’t really know history.


In the days of Jesus, there was not a single place in the world that had righteous government leaders. Not one single place. But in the world we live in today, you can find places that have decent Christian leadership. In the days of Jesus, homosexuality was totally legal. And even worse, child molestation was totally legal.


You hear people talk about rumors that some of the leaders in our nation are pedophiles 

Well in the days of Jesus, it was very common for the wealthy and the elite men to keep young children around them. You know what I mean.

Today you and I have rights, we have a freedom of religious, we have a freedom of thought. In the days of Jesus none of that existed. The world we live in today, it has a lot of evil. It has a lot of things wrong. And it seems to just be getting worse. But don’t be fooled into thinking that its any worse today than it was in the days of Jesus.


We know there are pagan influences in the government and the world today. But in Jesus days, there was ONLY pagan influences in the government. There was no redeeming qualities there at all. So just realize, when you see the evil that is in the world today, it certainly worse than it was in the past few generations.


But it’s still not as bad as it was in the days of Jesus. Jesus Walked the Earth in a more evil day than we live in. And if you don’t believe me, then you need to open up a history book and read about what life was like in the Greek and Roman world in the century leading up to the birth of Christ. And that’s important to remember, because it puts some things in perspective. We can understand why the apostles wanted Jesus to overthrow the Romans, they were evil. And we can also see how Jesus lived in that evil world, and how he responded to it. And it can inform us on how we should respond to the evil society around us.


And Jesus, if we look at this life. If we look at what he said to Peter, about not taking up a sword. If we look at what he said to Pilate, that is kingdoms not of this world. If we look at how he answered questions to his disciples when they asked him about taxes, and obeying the law, and these things. We can see very clearly how Jesus viewed the government of the world around him.


And you could sum it all up and what Jesus says right here to Pilate. My Kingdom is not of this world. Jesus was not that concerned with earthly governments. He had another kingdom, which transcended the kingdoms of this earth. His disciples wanted him to overthrow the government and setup an earthly kingdom. His followers wanted him to get involved in the political arena. They even at one point tried to take him and make him king by force. They wanted to see him take action against the government leaders. Some of them even want to raise up and fight the government. But look at the next thing Jesus says. The second thing I want to emphasize here.


36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.  

You see Peter rose up to fight. He went to battle. But what was he fighting for? 

Jesus is saying something here in verse 36. His kingdom is worth fighting for. But is not a kingdom that can be won with natural means of fighting. Jesus said the kingdom of God is within you. The kingdom of God is not a kingdom that is ruling over land, and property, and taxes, and political policy and political power. The kingdom of God is ruling over hearts. The kingdom of God is a kingdom made up of people. The kingdom of God is not made up of land, and property, and political policy, and political power. The kingdom of God is not dependent on any of those things. The kingdom of God is a kingdom that is made up of the souls of men. Jesus did not come to conquer the provinces of the world 

Jesus came to conquer the hearts of men. And when we fight for the kingdom of God, we are fighting for the hearts and souls of men and women. That is something that is worth fighting for. But that’s not something you can do with a sword or a spear. But it is something you can do with the words of the gospel.


And that is something you can do when you live in a country ruled by evil Romans. That is something you can do in a country ran by pagans. That is something you can do in a country where homosexuality it rampant. It is something you can do in the Roman Empire. It is something you can do in America. It is something you can do in China. If the political atmosphere around us is friendly towards Christ, that’s a wonderful thing. But if the political atmosphere around us is satanic and devilish. The kingdom of heaven goes on just the same. Because that kingdom is not of this world It does not require the things of the world.


Whether the conditions around us are good. Or whether they are bad. The Kingdom of God is not hindered. And we can even use the very words of Jesus. If his kingdom were of this world, we would rise and fight But his kingdom is not from hence.


Take this all back to Peter in Gethsemane. He thought he was fighting for the Lord. But really he was fighting for a kingdom of this world. He didn’t have a proper vision in his heart of what the kingdom of God was. And that led him to fight  for the wrong things and in the wrong ways. And that is a seductive trap that is easy to fall into.


Peter, and the other apostles, they really was looking for Jesus to setup the millennial kingdom. AND truly, there will come a day when Jesus will setup a righteous government that will rule this whole world. That is coming. But that was not the kind of kingdom Jesus had come to setup in the days of Peter. That was not the kind of kingdom Jesus was trying to setup when he was there in Gethsemane. And it’s still not the kind of kingdom he is trying to setup today.


And you and I, we are capable of falling into the same mistake that these disciples of Jesus did here in the gospels. In fact, I believe a lot of the people we have known are guilty of the exact same mistake. They do not have proper understanding or true vision of what the kingdom of God is today. And like Peter, and James, and John, they are so focused on the millennial kingdom, they have neglected the kingdom that is here today.

They are so desirous and focused on that millennial kingdom. That their efforts, and what they are fighting for, has become misdirected.  I will tell you all something, and I know you all know this. Nothing is ever going to fix this world’s systems. Even Jesus is not going to fix them. Jesus has no plans to fix and perfect the systems of this world. His plan is to burn them all down. And one day he’s coming back to do that. That is where the systems of this world are headed. And until he comes back, there is always going to be something wrong with this world, and with its government, and with its society.


The place I came from, somehow they thought tax policy and immigration policy and foreign policy, and all these sorts of things, had something to do with the gospel. And they were always, especially some in leadership, always out fighting for the causes of this world’s politics. And what is amazing is they had a lot of energy to do that. But they had no energy to share the gospel. I’ll be honest, I can count on one hand the number of times I heard the gospel preached and the past 20 years I was in that mess.  And that counts the times I preach it. They’re fighting for the wrong thing. They’re focused on the kingdoms of this earth, rather than the kingdom of heaven. And that does not mean we don’t have anything to say about what’s going on around us. Because Jesus and the apostles had something to say about the world around them. But it does mean that we don’t let those things sidetrack us away from the gospel.


We are here today to tell people about the good news. We are here to tell them there is a way of escape. We are here to tell them their sins are forgiven and their souls are saved, if they believe on Christ. We are not fighting the kingdoms of this world. But we are telling them about a better kingdom. A kingdom they can become part of today. A kingdom that will last forever, and everyone in that kingdom will live forever. Amen.


Peter and the disciples had not learned that lesson yet. But they are learning it as Jesus goes to the cross. Jesus kingdom is not of this world, otherwise his servants would rise and fight. As for me, there’s only one kingdom I’m interested in fighting for. And it’s not a kingdom that is of this world. And I believe we all feel the same way about that. And if nothing else, you know how I look at it now. 

And if you’ve had a chance to know me well over the years, you will know that My mind has changed on these things over the years. And has entirely to do with verses like these that I’ve read in the Bible. 

I’ve met Todd Young several times, I’ve met Mitch McConnell, I’ve met other congressmen and senators. I’ve met the mayor, I’ve met the governor, I’ve even been in the same room as Donald Trump, I’ve been in the same room as Obama. I had an opportunity just this past week to be at a conference with George Bush. 

My job over the years has allowed me to be around a lot of rich and powerful men 

none of that makes me special or anything at all. But it’s been quite some time ago I realized, there’s no fixing this mess. And the men I once looked to as political heroes, I found out a lot of them are just political animals.

And the best thing I can do is point people Jesus, and if the majority of the people around us are living for Jesus. Then this is going to stay a pretty good place to live. And if not, the kingdom of God goes on. The kingdom I am fighting for is not of this world. 

I am not alone 

So let me put a period on that thought, and let’s look at another aspect of what happened with Jesus and the disciples. Now if we went back to Matthew 26:56, we would see that when Jesus was arrested, it says all the disciples fled. They abandoned him, and they all ran away. All of Jesus friends, the men he had counted on. In his moment of greatest need, they totally abandoned him. And we can imagine just how that made Jesus feel. As he watched his friends all desert him, while he is turned over into the hands of evil men. Maybe some of you know what that feels like. To have your friends, and the people you counted on, to have them turn their backs on you and walk away in your moment of greatest need. And if that is something you can relate to.

Just take a second, and realize, Jesus knows exactly what that feels like. Jesus knows what it feels like to have all your friends turn their backs on you. When you talk to him, when you pray to him, you’re talking to someone who knows exactly what that feels like when you’re talking to Jesus you’re talking to someone who knows what it’s like to have all his friends turn away. And as we read through the story of the trial, it gets even worse for Jesus. Turn over to Luke 22, and we will read a few verses there.


Luke 22:54-62 King James Version 

54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest’s house. And Peter followed afar off. 

So Peter is trailing Jesus from a distance, to see what will happen. And if we went to the book of John, we would see that John was also following along. So two of Jesus’s disciples were witnesses to what was happening here. And lets read on at what Peter does. 

55 And when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the hall, and were set down together, Peter sat down among them. 

56 But a certain maid beheld him as he sat by the fire, and earnestly looked upon him, and said, This man was also with him. 

57 And he denied him, saying, Woman, I know him not. 

58 And after a little while another saw him, and said, Thou art also of them. And Peter said, Man, I am not. 

59 And about the space of one hour after another confidently affirmed, saying, Of a truth this fellow also was with him: for he is a Galilaean. 

60 And Peter said, Man, I know not what thou sayest. And immediately, while he yet spake, the cock crew. 

61 And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 

62 And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. 

Jesus, not only experienced his friends running away from him. He even witnessed Peter right there, openly denying him. He is not my friend. I don’t know him. I have nothing to do with him.


I think again, some of us might now exactly what this feels like. To have friends and people we love, totally denounce us. Jesus knows what that feels like too.


And as I look at this, I see another lesson here. Because we can see exactly how Jesus reacted to all his friends abandoning him. What did he do? He loved them anyways. 

He didn’t hold it against them. He understood. They were afraid of these big religious leaders. And what was happening to Jesus was taking a toll his friends. They were reeling, they were confused, their faith was wavering. And it is understandable that they would react the way they did. And Jesus loved them anyways. In fact, as Peter is denying him, Jesus is praying for him. Satan has desired to sift you as wheat Peter, but I have prayed for you.


There is one verse I would like to read, Its John 16:32. This is something Jesus had told the disciples just before he was arrested.

John 16:32 King James Version 

32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 

Amen. I still have the same title on my message tonight, footprints of Jesus. But I do have a subtitle. My subtitle is: I am not alone. Jesus friends abandoned him. Jesus loved ones denounced him. To the average person, Jesus looked like Jesus was all alone. But he was not alone. He was not alone, and he wanted the disciples to know it. The whole world can seem to turn against you. Everyone you know can abandon you.


Some people would say that is evidence God is against you. But when you know you are on the right side, when you know you are on God’s side. You are no more alone than Jesus was. The father was with him. And God is with us today. And the darkest hour comes just before dawn. And we are witnesses to what God has done for us these past months. He has multiplied us more friends than we ever had before. He has brought into community with other ministers and groups around this world, who standing for Jesus, just like we are. People have found these same issues, just like we did. And a lot of them have endured the exact same ridicule and abuse from their religious leaders.


But the truth is worth it. Because the truth with set you free. And often times,  you don’t even realize you are in bondage until the truth comes along. But thank God, he has showed us the truth of these things.


Go Back to John 18 with me, and lets pick up at verse 37 

37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 

You know, if we just tell the truth, that is good enough. And everyone that is of the truth. Or we might say, everyone who values the truth. They will hear the truth and respond to it. And people who don’t value the truth will reject it. And when you tell the truth, when share the truth. Don’t be surprised to find if people start abusing you like they abused Jesus.

Jesus is the way to heaven. He is the only way to heaven. And believing in him, repenting, being baptized, and living a fruitful life. That is enough. That is enough to go in the rapture. That is enough to have a reward in heaven. That is the truth. But its a truth a lot of people who hate, and will destroy you for saying what I just said.

Jesus did not descend from heaven with a shout in 1963. That never happened. That is not the truth. And everything that is built on that lie must be purged.


But people hate to hear that, and they will destroy you for saying it. But I will say it again. Jesus did not descend from heaven with a shout in 1963, that never happened. And the people who told us it happened deceived us.

So my question is, will you hear the truth? This message will go far and wide with time. So I ask you, will you hear the truth?   

37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 


Pilate is the last character I want to look at tonight. And Pilate is an altogether different character than anyone else we have looked at up until point. Pilate is the most conflicted man in this whole story. He is someone, you can almost feel sorry him. He is put into a position he does not want to be in. And I think that is something alot of people can relate to. Often times we are put into situations where, we just don’t want to deal with it. We just want the problem to go away. Let someone else deal with it, and let me go about my business. And that is very much Pilate’s situation. These religious leaders have embarked on an evil plot to destroy an innocent man. And like it or not, Pilate is being dragged right into the middle of it.


And as we read about Pilate. We see that he knows that Jesus is innocent, and he even has a desire to do the right things and set him free. But he under siege, he is being pressured. He is faced with a dilemma. And like so many people, when they are faced with a difficult decision to make. Pilate wants to make no decision at all. He does not want to deal with what is happening, he just wants it all to go away. You could say, Pilate wants to sit on the fence and let someone else deal with this issue. In Pilate’s mind, it is ok for these evil religious leaders to destroy an innocent man, so long as he is not forced to take a position on the subject. But as hard as he tries, as much as he tries to make the problem go away. It is not going away. And whether he wants to or not, he is going to be forced to make a decision. As we go back to verse 39, of John 18, notice how Pilate is seeking to avoid getting involved in this situation.

John 18 

29 Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man? 

30 They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. 

31 Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. (here is Pilates first attempt to avoid making a decision) The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death: 

32 That the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spake, signifying what death he should die. 

33 Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? 

So Pilate gets right to the point with Jesus. Caesar is king of Israel. And if Jesus is trying to make himself king, then he is in rebellion against the government. And if he is a rebel, then it’s the death penalty.

34 Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?  

Jesus comes back at Pilate with  a very good question? Did you get this from hearsay Pilate? Or do you really know about this things yourself? Are you going to convict me on the words of men who hate me? Or are you going to look into this thing to find out what really is the truth? And that is a good question isn’t it. Because to convict someone on accusations that have no proof is wrong. Even Pilate knows that is a wrong thing to do 

So look how Pilate responds.


35 Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?  

36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.  

Notice how carefully Jesus answers Pilate. Jesus is not seeking the overthrow of the Roman government. And he is not seeking the overthrow of any government in the world today either. His kingdom is not one that can be established or expanded through those kind of means. His kingdom is not from hence.

37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. 

38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?  

“What is truth”? That statement reveals so much about Pilate, and the way he has come to think about the world. Pilate is a man who is cynical. He has saw and heard so many things in life. He has no doubt been exposed to so many philosophers and many religious men. His job and career has exposed him to suffering and pain. And many people with many ideas. And he is at point in his life where the mere mention of the word “truth” causes him to end a conversation.

In this world today, we talk about triggers. I wonder, was the word Truth a trigger for Pilate? Had he heard so much about truth, he was sick of the word. What is truth? On hand, you can maybe pick up tone that this is a topic he is exhausted with. One that he has no doubt spent a lot of time thinking about. Because you don’t say, “what is truth” unless you are someone who spent some time trying to define what truth is. You know when you hear men scream at you, telling you they have the truth. But experience proves over and over that what they call truth is actually lies, you can become jaded.


I sense Pilate here might be a little jaded. Somewhere along the way, he has got tired of hearing people talk about “truth”. Somewhere along the way, he has decided there is no way to truly define truth. And you know, I wish Pilate had stopped here and asked Jesus, what is the truth. Because, the truth was standing right in front of him. 

Jesus said, I am the truth, the way, and the life. All the truth you need, all the truth you ever need to know or understand or accept. It is wrapped up in Jesus Christ. Who he is, what he did to save you. This bible, this book. It all point to Jesus. He is the author and the finisher. He is beginning, the end, and the middle of the story. Everything in this book is to bear witness of him. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. It all is here to point to him.

And if in the end, you lose sight of Jesus, as it is in places we have come from. All the rest is worthless. So if anyone is like Pilate, and they ask, what is the truth. Jesus Christ is the truth. And anything else people try to cram down your throats, that doesn’t begin and end with him. That is just a bunch of worthless garbage. And people who don’t refuse to accept what I just said, they are not a whole lot better off than Pilate. They don’t know what the truth is either. 

At least Pilate has the honesty to admit it  

38 Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.  

Now notice here, this is Pilates second attempt to avoid getting involved in this situation. I find to fault in him, he is trying to wiggle out of making a decision. Turn to Luke 23, and we will pick up this story there. 

Luke 23:4-12 King James Version (KJV) 

Then said Pilate to the chief priests and to the people, I find no fault in this man. 

And they were the more fierce, saying, He stirreth up the people, teaching throughout all Jewry, beginning from Galilee to this place. 

When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether the man were a Galilaean. 

And this was good news for Pilate. Jesus was not from Judea. He was from Galilee. And Pilate sees a way out of making a decision here. He knows Jesus is innocent. He wants to let him go. He knows he is being false accused. But people pressuring him won’t let him do the right thing.

So he is looking for a way out. He is looking for a way to avoid making a decision. He wants to sit on the fence. Have you ever met anyone like that? They say in their heart 

I know this wrong, I know this is not right. They might even say out loud, I know this man is innocent. But they won’t take the final step. If Jesus was innocent, why didn’t Pilate just let him go? If Jesus was innocent, why wasn’t Pilate arresting these people who were trying to murder him? 

Because of the pressure. Because of the pressure from these religious leaders, Pilate could not bring himself to do the right thing. And here he makes his first compromise with evil. And he does it by refusing to do the right thing and let Jesus go. For the third time, he refuses to commit to a decision. And this time he thinks he has found the perfect way out.


Because if Jesus is from Galilee, then he is from Herod’s territory. Jesus should answer to Herod, not him. So Pilate sends Jesus to Herod. 

Jesus before Herod 

And as soon as he knew that he belonged unto Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who himself also was at Jerusalem at that time.  

And when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceeding glad: for he was desirous to see him of a long season, because he had heard many things of him; and he hoped to have seen some miracle done by him.  

Then he questioned with him in many words; but he answered him nothing. 

10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused him. 

11 And Herod with his men of war set him at naught, and mocked him, and arrayed him in a gorgeous robe, and sent him again to Pilate. 

There is a lot we could say here, and dwell on Herod. He is another bad actor in this whole situation. He has done killed one prophet. John the Baptist. He is a bad guy. But even he won’t condemn Jesus. And what does he do? Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate.

Jesus is the problem that won’t go away.


And that is true for everyone, no matter where we are in the world. No matter who we are. When we are confronted with Jesus, we have to make a choice. There is no pushing it off to someone else. We have to decide for ourselves, in our own hearts. Do I believe Jesus, do I believe his words. Or not?


And you and I, we came from places that a whole lot of people do not believe the words of Jesus.

Jesus said he was the one and an only way, and if you believed on him, that was enough. That was enough to make it to heaven. And so many people we have known do not believe that. They do not believe Jesus is enough. Their whole attitude and their whole program really belittles Jesus and takes away from him. And maybe that is the first time you heard something like that. But it’s the truth. And it don’t matter how much you bury your head in the sand.


However much you refuse to make a decision, the Jesus problem is not going to go away. When you are part of a system that tells you that you need more than Jesus to be saved. You need more than Jesus to go in the rapture. You need more than Jesus to go to heaven. You are in a system that that has rejected Jesus. Because that is what he taught. And that is what his apostles taught. And when men reject that. They are just like these religious leaders who are rejecting Jesus. And you have to decide. Are you going to reject Jesus too. Pilate is not going to get out of making a decision. And neither is anyone who is confronted with Jesus.


No look here at verse 12. This is a filthy verse. 

12 And the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together: for before they were at enmity between themselves. 

My, what an awful thing. Pilate and Herod had a bad relationship. They didn’t get along with each other. In fact, Pilate and Herod were enemies. But look at the thing that finally brought them together. Something evil.


Evil people based their friendships on evil commonalities.


If I saw two men who hated each other, and they suddenly built a friendship, I would wonder why. And if I could see that their friendship had developed because they became partners in crime, I would run as far away from that as I could. That is evil.

That is really something. I would be ashamed to base a friendship on something like that. I will tell you what, that is no godly friendship. That is an evil friendship. Evil men, with an evil friendship. But that is something that plays out over and over again in this world. The forces of evil work together. A house divided against itself cannot stand. Its breath taking. 

Pilates second visit 

And as the scene goes back to Pilate’s judgement hall. And I will save a little reading and just summarize some things. But Pilate’s wife had a dream the night before all this happened. And when she heard what was going on, she sent her dream to Pilate. 

And the dream warned Pilate that Jesus was an innocent man. So while Jesus is away with Herod, Pilate is finding out even more reasons to avoid killing Jesus. And I have to think that when Jesus showed back up on his doorstep, he was a little disturbed.


And so Pilate has come up with another plan to try and let Jesus go. And you can turn to Mark 15 to see that. 

Mark 15 King James Version 

And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing. 

And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee. 

But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled. 

Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. 

And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. 

And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. 

But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? 

10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. 

11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. 

12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? 

13 And they cried out again, Crucify him. 

So here Pilate gets clever. And notice, this is Pilates fourth attempt now to avoid making a decision on Jesus. He thinks maybe he can sway the crowd against the priests, and convince them to let Jesus go. And Pilate puts them on the spot. He gives them a difficult dilemma.


He is thinking, surely these  men will have to choose Jesus over a thief and a murder. But Pilate is foiled again, his attempt to avoid making a decision on Jesus fails once more. And they choose Barabbas instead.

Its amazing how evil these religious leaders were. They knew Barabbas was a wicked skunk. They knew Barabbas had stolen money. They knew Barabbas had killed people. That was the kind of man Barabbas was.

But getting rid of Jesus was more important to these religious leaders, than dealing with a killer and a thief. If they could turn Jesus into a villain, than surely they can find a way to turn Barabbas into a hero. These religious leaders are so backwards, so corrupt. So that’s what they do. They take a man who is a thief and a killer, and they make him their hero. They will spin things however they have to in order to get rid of Jesus.


I will tell you something. If you ever see something like that. You see men who have to turn a thief and killer into a hero in order to destroy an innocent person. You need to run away from them. That’s the devil. And they won’t stop until they make you their accomplice. Just like these religious leaders did. Look how they stirred up the crowd. They started this thing out in private. But they have been gaining steam. And by the time we get here, they are dragging the whole crowd along with them. Let me read verse 11 again.  

11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. 

You see, the crowd was not predisposed to choose Barabbas. The crowd knew what kind of a man Barabbas was. Their sentiment was not to let Barabbas go, or turn him into a hero. But as these religious leaders began to apply pressure and the people began to be moved. And not moved in a good way. They were moved in an evil way. To go along with an evil plot. And the religious leaders turned the entire multitude into accomplices in their crime. And now Pilates fourth attempt to avoid making a decision has failed. Pilate’s mind is spinning, how can he get out of killing Jesus. So he comes up with another idea, idea number five. And we can see that if we turn to Luke 23.  

Luke 23:18-22 King James Version (KJV) 

18 And they cried out all at once, saying, Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:  

19 (Who for a certain sedition made in the city, and for murder, was cast into prison.) 

20 Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again to them. 

21 But they cried, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. 

22 And he said unto them the third time, Why, what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will therefore chastise him, and let him go. 

So here we see this is the third time Pilate has tried to convince them Jesus is innocent. And it is his fifth attempt to avoid making a decision. His fifth attempt to make this go away. He will go ahead and have him beat and whipped. And then after that he will let him go. Pilate is making his second compromise with evil.

Ok, I know he is innocent, and I know what he did can’t be as bad as you people say. But I will compromise with you, lets go ahead, lets give him some punishment. It won’t be as harsh as what you are asking for. I am just going to beat him some. And then I will let him go. And from here, its downhill for Pilate.

Pilate knows Jesus is innocent. Yet, just to make these other men happy, he willing to look the other way, and allow Jesus to be beat. And when you are willing to stand by, and support wicked men while they abuse the innocent. Your hands are already bloody. Turn over to John 19, and we will pick up the story there. 

And I know I am jumping around a bit. But its because there are different aspects in each gospel I want to bring in. 

John 19 King James Version (KJV) 

1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 

And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 

And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands. 

Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 

Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! 

Surely, Pilate thought, this would be enough. Surely they could not object if Pilate let Jesus go now. But look what they say. 

When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. 

How many times has Pilate said this? And catch it again, here Pilate tries for the sixth time, to avoid making a decision. He tried to get them to do it, and leave him alone. He knows this thing is wrong. He knows there nothing right about what they are doing. But he is stuck, he is being pressured to do something he knows is wrong. He is being pressured to do something he does not want to do.

And you know, whenever wicked plots go down, there are usually some people like Pilate. They know better, they know its wrong. They are looking for every way out they can find. They feel trapped, they feel forced to go along. And all along the way, they are getting signs telling them what they are doing is wrong. They get signs warning them not to go along with the crowd. Pilate’s wife already had a dream. And look at the next verses. 

The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. 

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;  

And went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Jesus, Whence art thou? But Jesus gave him no answer.  

Pilate may have been a pagan, but he believed that the gods took human form. That was just his superstition, but it it made the hair on his neck stand up. And when he comes into the judgement hall, and he asks Jesus, where are you from. Pilate is seriously asking that question. He is truely asking him, are you from heaven? And unlike those religious leaders, Pilate is totally open to the possibility that Jesus is divine. And catch verse 10, its is quite verse. 

10 Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?  

You know, that is a power that each of us have. Everyone is faced with the same dilemma that Pilate faced here. What will you do with Jesus. What will you do with the decision to be made.

Will you accept Jesus, will you accept his word, will you believe that he is divine. Or will you turn your back on him? Will you walk away from him ? Will you throw him away? Will you go with the wicked crowd? Will you go with the false religious leaders? Will you go against even our own conscience? Or will you chose Jesus? Will you chose to do what is right? 

11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. 

You know, we make look at Pilate as the worst villain in this story. But Jesus is telling us otherwise. Pilate is being drug into this thing against his will. That don’t make him innocent, but he is not going to judged as harshly as the ones who were willing participants.


If someone asked Pilate why he killed Jesus, he might say something like, I had no other choice. Other people forced him to make the decisions. But those are people who are in the category as Pilate. Lesser villains. But villains none the less.

And poor Pilate, he is tormented in his conscience. He is desperate to let Jesus go. But the next verse, its the one the clinches it for Pilate. 

12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.  

You know brothers and sisters. There is so much wrong with verse 12. It condemns everyone involved. It condemns the religious leaders who make the statement. Because the religious leaders hated Ceasar. Ceasar was not their friend. Ceasar was their enemy.


But these religious leaders would pretend to be the freind of the devil himself if that’s what it took to get rid of Jesus. They would pretend to be friends with someone they hate, if it would work the situation to their advantage. And this verse also represents the thing that will force Pilate’s hand. Pilate’s friendship with Caser is more important to him than doing what he knows is right. His career, which flows from Caeser, is more important to him than doing what is right.


These religious leaders, they kept going, until they finally found the angle that would force Pilate’s hand. They kept going until they found the thing that would make Pilate willing to go along with their evil plot. And this was the thing. His friendship with Caesar, the benefits that he got from that relationship. That was worth compromising with evil.


That is how the world is today. It is often relationships and our friendships that allow people to go along with evil. I don’t want to loose my relationship with so and so. So I just have to go along with this. I don’t want to loose my friends. So I just have to go along. I know its not right. I know what they are doing is wrong. But my friendship with Caesar it at risk. And I really need that. I can’t afford to lose the benefits that come from my relationship with Caesar. It is very sad to find someone in that situation. 

I want to make a better choice than that. I want to be on the Lord’s side. I want to be on the side of right.


Pilate is a conflicted man. That is his character. He has a sense of right and wrong. He has a sense of decency and fairness. And he wants very badly to avoid making a decision on Jesus. But when push comes to shove, he will compromise with evil for the sake of his friendships. Let’s read it. 

12 And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him: but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.  

13 When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. 

14 And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! 

15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.  

16 Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away. 

For those wicked people who were trying to destroy Jesus. This is a very sad story. They have no king but Caesar. They had chosen an evil leader for themselves. And they rejected the Lord of glory. They chose a fake son of god, and they rejected the true son of God. For them, and for all those who reject Jesus, it is a sad story. But for you and I, this was just part of the price of our salvation. It was part of what he had to go through to set us free. And Lord willing, next time I will spent some time looking at that. Praise the Lord.