Focal Passages: John 18:33-19:3, 9-11
When confronted with the person of Jesus Christ each person has a free will to choose how they will respond. We often are shocked and dismayed by the response of someone to the beautiful offer of salvation. It is some comfort as we study our lesson this week to see that these sinful responses are not new, and we know God has the ultimate victory.
The lesson provides a review of Pilate’s questioning and sentencing of Jesus to death. Our heart breaks as this ruler had the immense privilege of having a one-on-one conversation with Jesus and missed his opportunity to respond personally to Jesus. Pilate asks, “What is truth?” (John 18:38). Pilate responds to truth with confusion. Then we see in John 18, the crowds’ response to Jesus as one of rejection.
The crowd has the opportunity to free the innocent Jesus but instead chooses to free a criminal, Barabbus (John 18:38b-40).
John 19:1-3 is the heart-wrenching account of the mistreatment of Jesus by the Roman guards. Time and time again throughout history, we see when people do not understand someone or a belief system, they feel a need to attack it. Out of their own spiritual darkness, they seek to destroy that which they can’t understand.
When we took our five children to serve on the mission field in South Asia, we were told of an example of this type of attack. A missionary dad and his two sons were camping in the country. A rioting group was formed and their camping trailer was set on fire. They were unable to escape and perished. There was no reason for the attack other than those who did it felt threatened by the family’s Christian beliefs.
We do not despair, for our lesson concludes with a word of hope. What Jesus did, He chose to do. No earthly power could make Him lay down His life. He chose to do it, because He loves us. He was unjustly condemned, but is our eternal King forever. Victory!