What Then Shall I Do With Jesus?
Text: Matthew 27:21-23 Speaker: Pastor Matthew Ude Festival: Lent Passages: Matthew 27:21-23
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21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”
Pilate tries so hard to put Jesus aside, to make no decision about him. He tires to let him go. He sends him to Herod. He gives them the choice of Barabbas or Jesus thinking they will surely pick Barabbas. He scourges him. He washes his hands pretending it is not his guilt. Yet no matter how hard Pilate tries in the end he must make the decision. He must make the proclamation to either free him or crucify him.
Pilate is not a pawn who has no choice. Jesus makes that clear when he says “he who delivered me up to you has the greater sin.” Pilate’s sin is lesser but it is still his. Jesus is going to die for our sins. God has declared it and Jesus has accepted it. It is why he came. Pilate can’t change what Jesus will do but still Pilate has to decide what he Pilate is going to do with Jesus.
We know what Jesus did for us. The question is only what are we going to do with Jesus?
We are saved by grace alone. We are forgiven through Jesus blood. That is ours. But what are we going to do with this salvation? What are we going to do with Jesus?
Our Lutheran confessions remind us “we are saved by faith alone but faith is never alone.” Further that good works are not necessary for salvation, but they are necessary. Luther wrote “He has redeemed me a lost and condemned creature purchased and won me from all death, from sin and from the power of the devil,” but Luther did not stop there did he but continued: “That I should be his very own and serve Him.”
Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
It is not our choice whether or not Jesus will be betrayed, scrouged and ultimately die. Others made that choice and ultimately God made that choice. It must be that the Son of Man be handed over to sinners, die and rise again on the third day. This decisions has been made, and the truth of what has happened is the core of what we call objective justification. Objective justification means that whatever else happens in this world, no matter how confused or lost or scared or lonely or hurt I am this one truth stands against all untruth and indecision and unknowing. Jesus died for me, and because he died, I shall live – this is truth.
It is this truth which the Psalmist calls “a river whose stream shall make glad the city of God.” In Psalm 46 the psalmist describes a world that is falling to pieces around us. A world in which nothing can be trusted, we cannot even trust the ground we stand on to remain firm or the mountains to remain in their place, in such a world there is one thing that is solid and firm, one thing that makes us glad. The stream which is the truth that the question of Jesus’ death has already been made. He died for me.
But now what are we going to do with Jesus? Are we going to leave him there? Is that enough? We don’t need him for anything else? Are we going to forget about him entirely? He is dead and gone who cares? Or are going to allow the risen and living Christ to rise daily in our lives as well?
“He has redeemed me . . . that I should be His own and live under Him and serve Him.”
Is Jesus dead or is he “a new song” in our hearts?
The difference between movies and real life is that movies have a soundtrack. Anything with a soundtrack is better. The right music makes everything seem better.
Psalm 98:1 NKJ Oh, sing to the LORD a new song!
The Psalms, the prophet Isaiah and the book of revelation all speak of singing a new song. They are speaking of Jesus death and resurrection. That truth is the soundtrack to our life. We don’t need whistling birds or a spoonful of sugar to turn sorrow into joy. We have the new song, the truth that Jesus died for our sins.
What shall we do with Jesus? Cling to him for forgiveness and sing of him with your life.
Life is full of little decisions, little decisions that aren’t wrong but aren’t right either. A father tells himself I’m too busy I can’t go to my sons’ game tonight. He makes that decision once, and once again, and once again. It is not wrong but it isn’t right either.
What are you going to do with Jesus?
You choose once to set him aside, to put him in your back pocket, to start your day without prayer, to skip church. You make that choice once and once again and once again and pretty soon Jesus is not the center of your life but packed away in a box in the basement and you are not even sure what box it is.
What are you going to do with Jesus? He died for you He made that decision it is a done deal, your sins are forgiven, you are going to heaven, now what are you going to do with that truth?
Jesus died for you, let him live within you as well.