Great intentions, without action, are simply delusions. There is a difference between intending to do something, and actually doing it. So often we set goals, but never reach them. We make plans, only to turn around and cancel them. We procrastinate on things until they become a problem. We find ourselves using phrases like, “I could have,” “I should have,” or, “If I could just go back.” For most of us, there is a gap between our intentions and our actions. We set out to do something great, but life gets in the way and, before we know it, we have settled for less. In today’s passage, we find Pilate quickly compromising truth for his own selfish gain.
- What is something you intend to do, but haven’t found the time to do?
READ THE WORD: JOHN 19:1-16a (ESV)
19:1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”
12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.
English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
(Today’s questions focus on verses 12-16a.)
- According to verse 12, what was Pilate’s dilemma?
- What was Pilate’s intent at the beginning of verse 12? What was his action in verse 16?
- What is it that drove Pilate to a place of compromise?
- What typically interferes with your obedience to Christ? In what ways do you make compromises in your relationship with God?
RESPOND TO GOD
Pilate was the Roman governor of Judea and his primary responsibilities were to keep peace, collect taxes, and ensure that no rivalry arose against Caesar. In verse 12, we discover that his intention was to release Jesus, but in verse 16, we discover his decision was to have Jesus crucified. Although he knew that Jesus was completely innocent, he decided to give in to the people’s persistence to avoid another bad report being sent to Rome. His own self-interest drove him to a place of compromise. In many ways we are just like Pilate, in that our self-interests dictate our everyday decisions. We compromise truth for the sake of self-promotion, comfort, and happiness.
- Ask God to help you recognize the ways in which you make compromises you shouldn’t make.
- Ask God to help you trust him more.