Today’s Reading: Matthew 27
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” Matthew 27:22
“What shall I do then with Jesus?” This is the question of the Ages. D.L. Moody called it the biggest blunder of his life. It happened on a Sunday night October 8, 1871, during a preaching series in Farwell Hall, Chicago. His text was “What then shall I do with Jesus which is called Christ.” Moody asked his congregation to evaluate their relationships to Christ and return next week to make up their minds about Jesus and to make their decision for Him. That crowd never gathered again.
He then turned to Ira Sankey for a solo, and Sankey sang “Today the Savior Calls.” But by the third verse Sankey’s voice was drowned out by the noise outside the hall. The great Chicago fire had begun, and the flames were even then sweeping toward the Hall. The clanging of the fire bells and the noise of the engines made it impossible to continue the meeting. In the years that followed, Moody wished that he had called for an immediate decision for Christ.
What will you then do with Jesus? The question was first phrased by Pontius Pilate when he faced a bloodthirsty mob who demanded the crucifixion of Jesus (v. 22). The experience of Pilate in that day has a great deal in common with the experience of men in the day in which we live. We also face this most important question.
As a Roman governor, Pilate’s position was not without great concerns. As a result, I doubt that there was little that he did not know about Jesus Christ. He was familiar with the words of Jesus. He was familiar with the works of Jesus. Reports about Jesus are familiar to people today. Many today celebrate his birth (Christmas), death and resurrection (Easter) but like Pilate attempt to evade dealing personally with Jesus. People still try to avoid this same question – What then shall I do with Jesus which is called Christ, it is an unavoidable question.
To quote C.S. Lewis:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” – Mere Christianity, pages 40-41