Theology: Was the Gospel of Mark Written First?
Church Today: What Will you Do with Jesus?
“The governor answered and said unto them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto you? They said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them, What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ? [They] all say unto him, Let him be crucified.”
What are you going to do with Jesus? Because if you ask that question long enough, you have to answer the question, what are you going to do with your calling? What are you going to do with the opportunites God has given you? What are you going to do with what God has asked you to do in your life?
If we are not careful, it can become easy in life and ministry to get to a place where we forget the personal implications of this question. What shall I do with Jesus? It’s not necessarily about what everyone else can do with Jesus. It’s not about what my church is going to do with Jesus, or what my friends do with Jesus.
We must consider this question in light of the text above. I must admit, when I read this text, sometimes I am conflicted as well. Pilate is going through this process that he did not want to be a part of. He is standing there as the authority of Rome; the magistrate; the governor. He had presided over many legal hearings, and he had sentenced thousands, no doubt, to death and into imprisonment.
But here we find Pilate looking into the eyes of this man, who is not just a man. And he has this problem, because he understands what the people said about him just last week, when they cried, “Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.” (Matt. 21:9). And now this week, they have brought him to trial with such opposite intensity.
No doubt, Pilate can feel the pressure of the moment. Will he acknowledge this challenge to his authority? What shall I do with this man? What will I do with Jesus? He’s a calloused man. Death doesn’t bother him. But his wife also talks to him, having been plagued all morning with this dream. Don’t mess with this man named Jesus. Something is different about him! His mind begins to race. He doesn’t ask the people what they should do. But he asked himself this question, which is even more fascinating. “What shall I then do with Jesus?”
In 1905, hymn writer Albert B. Simpson penned the question we all must ask ourselves: “Jesus is standing in Pilate’s hall / Friendless, forsaken, betrayed by all; / Hearken! what meaneth the sudden call! / What will you do with Jesus?” He emphasizes in the chorus, “What will you do with Jesus? / Neutral you cannot be; / Someday your heart will be asking, / ‘What will He do with me?’”
May our response be as the final verse of this beautiful hymn: “‘Jesus, I give Thee my heart today! / Jesus, I’ll follow Thee all the way, / Gladly obeying Thee!’ will you say: ‘This I will do with Jesus!’”