|Volume 21 Number 5 May 2019||
They came to His place of prayer to arrest Jesus. He did not show any evidence of guilt in the way He reacted. When the armed mob approached Jesus, He did not try to escape. Instead, He stepped forward, and His captors fell backward in fear (John 18:6). When Peter defended Him with a sword, Jesus stopped and rebuked him (John 18:10-11). Then, Jesus healed the man whose ear Peter had cut off (Luke 22:50-51). Jesus would not quit doing good to those who hated Him!
At His trial by Jewish religious leaders, false witnesses attempted to convict Jesus of wrongdoing, but their accusations did not agree (Mark 14:55-59). Finally, the ultimate question was put to Jesus. He freely answered it, confessing that He was the Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 26:63-64). That was enough for the high priest. The court made no attempt to hear evidence in support of the claim Jesus had made. Their decision was immediate: “He is deserving of death” (Matthew 26:66). It was not the testimony of false witnesses, but His own confession that brought the wrath of the religious court down upon Jesus.
Judas, who had betrayed Jesus, later came and told the religious leaders, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood” (Matthew 27:4). The Roman governor Pilate also repeatedly declared that he found no fault in Jesus. Herod examined Jesus and sent Him back to Pilate uncondemned. Pilate’s own wife believed Jesus was innocent, and she tried to persuade her husband not to get involved in punishing Him (Matthew 27:19). Four more times Pilate pronounced Jesus as innocent.
However, the religious leaders had stirred up the mob almost to the point of mutiny against Pilate’s authority. The rebellion was too strong, and Pilate’s own moral fiber was too weak. Pilate yielded to the mob and delivered Jesus to be crucified.
[Editor’s Note: Pilate correctly observed that Jesus had done “nothing worthy of death” (Luke 23:15 KJV). Every man and woman, however, is worthy of death (Romans 1:32). Thankfully, God sent Jesus who willingly came to die on our behalf because we are sinners who need to be saved (Romans 5:8). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
The Mature Faith
Ronald D. Reeves
I suppose everyone would like to view himself as reasonably mature concerning all the facets of life, whether as a family man, a worker or as a citizen in the community as assessed by one’s friends and acquaintances. What about maturity of faith? Do we know enough about faith to be able to properly judge a mature faith? James advises us that the mature faith is both exclusive and inclusive in character (3:13-5:20). The mature faith excludes envying and strife, the enthronement of pleasures, speaking evil of brethren, sins of omission, the improper use of wealth, grudge holding, vacillation and hypocrisy. On the other hand, the mature faith includes purity, peace, forbearance, compliance, mercy, humility, resisting the devil, mourning for sin, spiritually sound business practices, patience, dependence on godly prayer and the conversion of the lost. No doubt all of us have room for growth unto maturity. May each of us have the courage to commit himself to possess the character of faith presented by James so long ago. Such a commitment will surely sponsor the favor of the Lord and the receipt of blessings unanticipated in kind and measure.