Thoughts on life, leadership and the movement called the church by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

by Brian C. Hughes, Senior Pastor

Friday, April 22, 2011

Easter Soul Prep Day 19

'You can't have it both ways' is a phrase we use as a way of saying, "you might try to play both sides, but you ultimately have to decide where you stand, who's side you're on, which side of the fence, etc.

There are 2 people in John 19 who stand in startling contrast. Both tried to have it both ways, play both sides, have their cake and eat it, too. When the chapter is over, one has made a firm choice. The other is still playing, but he doesn't know it.

First, Pilate. Pilate is the Roman governor. He is not a Jew and he didn't particularly like the Jews, but he oversaw the legal affairs of the area. Jews were not legally permitted to execute someone - and the Jewish leaders very much wanted Jesus to be executed - so they had to persuade Pilate to do their bidding.

Pilate wants to have it both ways.

On the one hand, there is a delicate political balance. If the Jews pitch a fit, Pilate's superiors may think he cannot control the territory and remove him. So he wants to appease them. On the other hand, he really doesn't think Jesus has done anything worthy of execution.

So, he cheats.

After repeated attempts to persuade the Jewish leaders to set Jesus free, Pilate turns Jesus over to soldiers with an order of Crucifixion. But he accepts no responsibility in the matter, essentially abdicating the responsibility for the decision to the Jews. (19:6).

Then there is Nicodemus. We first met him in John 3. He's one of those Jewish leaders. Nicodemus visits Jesus under the cover of darkness in order to also have it both ways. He wants to meet Jesus, hear from him, know him...but he also wants his affiliation to be kept secret, private, and in the dark. Nicodemus argues on Jesus' behalf in John 7, but is still careful about what's happening in his heart.

But now, Nicodemus comes out of the dark and goes public with his allegiance: He has chosen a side and is a full-fledged, card-carrying bonafide follower of Jesus Christ, and he doesn't care who knows about it. I can only imagine the looks on the faces of his former colleagues on the ruling council, glaring at Nicodemus has he helps transport the body. He has now drawn a clear line and is standing on the other side of it.

Have you?

Like Pilate and like Nicodemus, you can't have it both ways, either. You may say that you are a Christian, but are you really following Jesus? Do you live your life in such a way that you are completely living a sold-out, public, unashamed commitment to Jesus Christ?

Or are you trying to have it both ways?

Ask God today, "Is there any place in my life, Lord, where I need to be more fully devoted...where I'm trying to have it both ways?" He'll tell you if you want to know. Then, do what He says.

1 comment:

jf said...

I'm thankful and humbled by what Jesus did for all of us today.