RSS

Tag Archives: justice

Conspiracy Theory?

Conspiracy Theory?

We’re going through the Gospel of Luke. At this point we’re looking at the Lord’s trial before Pilate, the Roman governor. You may want to read Luke 23:1-25 before continuing with this post.

So many times, believers get the wrong idea about Pontius Pilate when they read the Scripture. They think he’s a spineless coward. Why would he give in to the crowd?

What most people don’t know is that this snapshot of Pilate is very different from the Pilate of history. This man was a leader who was not to be trifled with. There were times that he could be very cruel and decisive. What exactly happened on this day to make him act the way he did?

After being questioned by the religious leadership of Israel, Jesus was taken before Pilate. That was because during the Roman occupation, the Jewish people could not exact the death penalty on any criminal. Only a Roman judge could do that.

And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.”

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Yes, it is as you say,” Jesus replied.

Luke 23:2-3 NIV

These leaders were on a mission to see Jesus killed. They brought accusations and lies before the governor. Yes, Jesus is the Christ – the true King of Israel. However, He never subverted the nation or told people not to pay their taxes.

By saying these things, the priests knew the ramifications. It was an act punishable by death to oppose the Roman government. So, in this case, Pilate was duty bound to look into it.

What was the outcome of his examination?

Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

Luke 23:4 NIV

Pilate’s verdict was, “Not guilty!” As a matter of fact, when you read this section of Scripture, you’ll find that Jesus was declared innocent five times before he was given the death penalty. Was there anyone else in history that bore this much injustice? He understands that kind of cruelty.

When he found out that Jesus was from Galilee, Pilate sent the Lord to Herod, who was in charge of that region. Again, the governmental rulers found nothing worthy of punishment in Christ. So, Jesus was sent back to Pilate.

Again and again, the Lord was declared innocent. But that didn’t matter. The crowd was adamant.

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 NIV

How could such a travesty of justice take place? Was it some massive conspiracy between the Jewish religious leaders, Herod, and Pilate? It might look that way on the surface.

No, there was no earthly conspiracy. Even in our day, sometimes events occur that cause us to think this is the case. What we have to remember is that there’s another unseen kingdom that affects things on our planet.

I’m taking about the enemy’s kingdom. Scripture calls Satan the god of this age. His minions are working behind the scenes in every corner of society. That’s why Jesus was so quickly condemned to die.

That’s the bad news, but the good news is so much better.

And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

Colossians 2:15 NIV

It may have seemed like they won a great battle that day. But that wasn’t the end of the story. The Lord Jesus Christ has the last word. His death, burial and resurrection has now become our greatest victory!

Question: How do we walk in the victory won by the Lord?

© 2023 Nick Zaccardi

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

God’s Self-Restraint

God’s Self-Restraint

As we continue in Paul’s letter to the Roman church, he’s laying out for us the righteousness that only comes through Christ.  It’s something that could never be obtained through our good works.

God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.  He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished – he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Romans 3:25-26

This one passage is absolutely jam-packed with truth.  We need to see it in all of its beauty.  It’s a wonderful description of God’s purpose in Christ Jesus.

The first thing Paul says is that God presented Jesus as a sacrifice of atonement.  Some translations use the word, propitiation.  But just what does that mean to us?

In the Greek language that word literally means the atoning victim that brings satisfaction.  Something was done to displease God.  But a sacrifice was offered to do away with that displeasure.  Jesus Christ was this sacrifice.

It’s interesting to note that this word also had another use.  When the Jews translated the Old Testament into Greek, they used this word to indicate the Mercy Seat.  That was the cover of the Ark of the Covenant.

The Mercy Seat was where the blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled each year to atone for the sins of Israel.  That makes Jesus Christ our “Mercy Seat”.  His blood now covers our sin.

The next sentence in the above verse is just as important.  It explains God’s reasoning behind the Lord’s sacrifice.

Paul tells us that God felt the need to demonstrate His justice.  That’s something that many people trip over in their spiritual walk.  It’s the old argument that “If God is good, why did He allow this thing to happen?”  “This thing”, being whatever evil thing the person is using for an example.

The above passage says that God used self-restraint so that He could ignore the sins that are committed.  Understand this – God wants to punish all sin.  However, He restrains Himself from following through with it immediately.

Why would God ever choose to do such a thing?  Paul gives us the reason.  God lets all of our sins go unpunished in the short term, so that He can place them on the perfect Sacrifice; Jesus Christ.

People get upset when they see what they consider to be huge sins.  Things like drug cartels destroying the lives of thousands of people.  They see dictators murdering those who oppose them.  They say that if God is so good, why does He allow this?  These murderers should be immediately judged.

What we don’t understand is that God is perfectly just.  If He judged these evil people immediately, then He would have had to judge me immediately the first time I disobeyed my parents.  Personally, I’m immensely grateful for God’s self-restraint.

God is giving everyone the opportunity to turn to Christ in repentance.  Then, through faith in His blood, allow the atoning work of Christ to give us a “not guilty” verdict.

Even though it was my sin that displeased God, it was the sacrifice of Christ that put me back into right relationship with Him.  What a beautiful picture of Jesus’ work on the cross.

We should be proclaiming this to all who will listen.

Question: How grateful are you for this atoning work of Christ Jesus?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on December 9, 2020 in Faith, Spiritual Walk, The Gospel

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,