As we approach Easter and all the events leading up to it, nothing is more critical to everything that happened, than the trial of Jesus before Pilate. If he had not been afraid of the people, Pilate could have released Jesus instead of sentencing Him to be crucified. His wife had a bad dream and warned him not to have anything to do with sentencing Jesus and he felt within himself that Jesus did not deserve death, but he went ahead and sentenced Him to be crucified anyways.
In Matthew 27 we have the account of Jesus being brought by the chief priests and elders to Pilate for what they hoped would be a death sentence. Pilate did not really feel He was guilty of anything worthy of death and he told the people so, but he was afraid of losing his job and wanted favor with the Jews. In the end he gave them a choice, release a notorious prisoner named Barabbas, who was guilty of many crimes, or release Jesus who was not guilty of any crime. They chose Barabbas.
Pilate then asks the question, “Then what shall I do with Jesus Who is called Christ?”
That question reverberates all through the centuries as everyone who is faced with the gospel must ask and answer it. Everyone has to do something with Jesus! By their acceptance or rejection of Him they deal with the question, “What shall I do with Jesus Who is called Christ?” Pilate tried to evade it but he could not. He had to decide.
Earlier, when Jesus was with His disciples, He had asked them, “Who do you say that I am?” and Peter replied, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” (Matt 16) Jesus had healed the blind, the deaf, the sick and He had raised the dead, everything that the Scriptures said that the Christ would do. What other proof did they need? Many of those who stood outside Pilates judgement hall had seen the miracles yet they chose to forget Who He was.
As I contemplated this scene and the scenes that follow, in Matthew’s account, I thought of an old gospel song that I sang as a solo in our Youth group some years ago. It was written by Albert B. Simpson entitled, “What Will You Do With Jesus?”
“Jesus is standing in Pilates hall, friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all. Hearken! What meaneth the sudden call? What will you do with Jesus?
Will you evade Him as Pilate tried? Or will you choose Him, what-e’er betide? Vainly you struggle from Him to hide; What will you do with Jesus?
Chorus – “What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be; Someday your heart will be asking, “What will He do with me?”
The time to decide for Him is now. It will be too late when we leave this world. Someday I will stand before Him. What He does with me then depends on what I do with Him now!