From Friend to Foe

Peyton Johnston

April 1st, 2018

Luke 23:13-25

Pilot was ready to let Jesus go. He could find no fault with him. But the Jewish masses passionately insisted Jesus should be executed in the most brutal way. Pilot’s conscience urged him to free this obviously innocent man, yet the pressure from the people caused him to waver.

Pilot had a rocky past with the Jewish people. He had openly mocked and disrespected them for years, so he wasn’t exactly on the best terms with them. With the Passover coming up, Jerusalem was packed full of Jews from all over. So Pilot was fearful that if he ignored their demands, he would anger them enough to cause an uprising that could result in the loss of his position, or worse – the loss of his life. So in an effort to avoid conflict, he chose to crucify Jesus.

It seems Pilot is ultimately the one to blame for the savage murder of Jesus Christ, right? But really, there would have been no cross had it not been for the Jews’ relentless protests. The Jews – the ones who had once been his friends and followers – were now the ones who wrongly accused him. All because Jesus was not the king they had anticipated. He came as an ordinary man instead of an extravagant royal. His mission was to set them free from the bonds of sin rather than from the reign of the Romans. And Jesus spoke of controversial things that went too far beyond their level of comfort. This was not who they wanted to claim as their Messiah.

They chose to overlook the wondrous works of God that He was doing and fixate on the disappointment of their unideal answer to prayer, which led them to resist their promise.
And how often we tend take on the same role of the Jewish people! We proudly wear the label as an adoring follower of Jesus. But when He doesn’t send the answer we were expecting, we turn away from Him and start to question His promises to us. We let our inability to understand His ways overshadow the the miracles and faithfulness He’s already shown.

At some point in your life, God may answer a prayer in a way you do not like. Maybe He will send you somewhere you’d rather not go to. Maybe He’ll give you a task that takes you out of your comfort zone. Or maybe He’ll simply tell you “no” when you really wanted a “yes”. Will you be like those who rejected Him and sentenced Him to the misery of the cross? Or will you choose to trust in Him and have patience? To honor Him through your confusion just as much as you do in your clarity?

Many of those today who are God’s strongest opposers were once His greatest advocates who simply fell prey to the delusion that God is not who He says He is. We should never allow ourselves to second-guess the goodness of God’s purpose, the power of His Word, or the wisdom He holds in all things. For doubting the Lord eventually leads to rebelling against Him. Don’t allow yourself to go from friend to foe of Jesus because He sends you the unexpected.

As we reflect on the selfless sacrifice and glorious resurrection of our Savior, let’s also make a commitment to never make the same mistake of denying Him in our frustration, or of doubting Him when we don’t understand.

Pray: “​Lord, I will never dishonor You by forgetting who You are and all you’ve done for me. You are my Redeemer who paid the ultimate price so that I might find eternal life. You are my gracious Savior took on the shame and death that You were not worthy of – that I should have suffered. You are my loving Father who looked past past sins to see my potential through Your blood. The least I can do is give my life back to You. I look to Your will and ways above my own, always, no matter what.”