He stumbles into my courtyard. His hands tightly bound at the wrists in leather straps. His hair is an entangled mess of blood and sweat, yet there seems to be no scratch or cut on his face. I wonder wonder whose blood that is, or where it came from. His knees are buckling with exhaustion. His eyelids are heavy…, yet somehow, he manages to keep his footing. He stands before me.
The voices behind him scream for his blood. “Crucify him!” They want him dead. Dead on a cross. Common sense and my political advisers tell me I should just let the crowd have its way; that they must be justified in their unanimous verdict. But the eyes of the accused man catch mine… and I begin to study this captive.
His looks are haggard, those of a drifter, a wanderer. His frame outlines the features of an outcast. His sandals spell the poverty of a pauper. Everything about his form and appearance screams suspicion and guilt, everything… but his eyes!
There is no fear in his eyes, no guilt, no regret, not even a haughty gleam of pride. there’s something else in those eyes. Not defeat, not surrender, but a paradoxical sense of peace; more like a child’s shyness, a homely gentleness, a heavenly sadness. It’s almost like… it’s like he pities me? And that’s when I remember what I had been told about this man. That he had claimed to be the King of the Jews. My curiosity is heightened. I now look at the piece of paper in my hand and skim through the charges against him.
PILATE: “Are you the King of the Jews?”
For the first time since he came in, His eyes fall to my feet. He seems to be studying my stance. For a second it’s like he’s looking for a loose thread on my robe. His gaze wearily rises up the hem of my royal robes to meet my impatient eyes again. He looks even sadder now.
JESUS: “Is that your own idea, or did others talk to you about me?” (John 18:34)
Fast forward to a little over 2000 AD, another Governor, Cornell, sits on his self-made throne. Deliberating the same ancient question; well, the context being slightly different:
CORNELL: “I believe in Jesus Christ. He is my Savior and my Lord.”
JESUS: “Is that your own idea, or did others talk to you about me?”
Like Pilate, we have the truth presented before us every day. But we are too high and lofty to see it, our chests are too puffed up and our egos too swollen to embrace the truth. We’d rather echo the convictions of those seem to see it because this truth just doesn’t strike us as truth. And why is this?
Perhaps it’s because the truth is revealed to us, not in fine-sounding arguments, but in child-like faith. It is presented to us, not in a silver platter, but on blood-stained iron nails and a mud-stained Roman cross. It is despised by the mob and rejected by those closest to us. And our doubt seems justified. There is nothing in this man that should attract the world to Him. So we reinvent and try to make Him familiar by redefining Him. There is nothing on his face that would make the world trust or desire Him, so we sell Him like a market product.
But the wisdom of God speaks forth and stands throughout the ages: Jesus is The Way – there’s no going without Him. He is The truth – there’s no knowing without Him. He is The Life – there’s no living without Him.
Have we become so blinded by the world that even when The Truth presents Himself to us and even goes the extra mile to make you see it, (John 18:37) we still respond ignorantly and arrogantly with Pilate’s question;
“What is truth?”
The truth is calling out to you, wretched sinner. Do not look for another, the money, the drugs, the fine-sounding philosophies will not save you. Jesus took your place, took your sin and took your punishment in order to give you an eternal in His Father’s house. Believe and be saved, sinner.
The truth is knocking at your door today, dear saint. Do not overlook Him and listen to the crowd, the pastors, the priests, the holier-than-thou’s. Jesus speaks to us through His Word (Hebrews 1:1), He urges us to look to Him and to none other, He cautions us against resting our faith upon anything else but the message of the cross (1 Cor 2:5). Believe and be saved, saint.
He is closer than you think. Though a little dusty, neglected and a bit abandoned, why don’t you pick him up from your bookshelf today… and get to know Him personally?
For the fame of His name,