Where Are You From

Some re-worked thoughts from 2012 . . .

He was full of questions. As the “Jesus problem” escalated, you sense that Pilate didn’t know what to do. It seems he was growing increasingly frantic. The mob was getting ugly and more demanding. And, bottom line, the Prisoner shouldn’t have even been here. So the governor ping-pongs back and forth between accusers and Accused with question after question. “What’s the accusation?” . . . “Are You the king of the Jews?” . . . “What have You done?” . . . “What is truth?” . . . “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” (John 18:28-40). Back and forth, forth and back.

Pilate doesn’t know what to do with this situation. Maybe if he has the Man beaten, roughs Him up a bit, and gives the crowd some blood, maybe that will settle them down. But it doesn’t. They want Him executed. They want Him hung on a cross. And they want it now! “Fine!” says Pilate (sort of), “if that’s what you want, then go do it yourself! I find no guilt in Him” (John 19:6). Whatever the crowds accusations have been to the point, no fault. No guilt. No reason to be doing to the Man Jesus what they have been doing.

But then, they level an accusation against Jesus that strikes fear into the heart of wishy-washy Pilate. And it leads Pilate to on more question. The question which, it seems to me, is the defining question when it comes to Jesus.

The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law He ought to die because He has made Himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer.   (John 19:7-9 ESV)

“Where are You from?” Talk about your question for the ages.

Pilates “masterful” examination of the situation finally reveals “root cause.” The religious leaders were bent out of shape, and had incited a riotous mob, because Jesus made Himself equal with God. And if Pilate was getting frantic before with what to do with an innocent man, he was now even “more afraid.”

There had been something about this Jesus which Pilate had encountered in no one else before. Something about Him that had intrigued Pilate. Something so different about Jesus that Pilate sensed he was talking to a man unlike any man he had ever met. It was that same something which had caused Pilate’s wife to warn her husband to “have nothing to do with that righteous Man” (Matt. 27:19). And Pilate knew that what his wife said was true. He knew deep within that this was, in fact, a righteous Man.

And now he hears this, He claims to be the Son of God. What?!? Could it be true?!? Talk about your game changer!

“Where are You from?”

Not a bad question to ask. An even better question to honestly seek to answer.

But that’s where Pilate tapped out. Too much pressure from the crowd. Too much potential for a career limiting, if not life limiting, decision. So rather than deal with the question, he tries to wash his hands of the whole situation (Matt. 27:24). And he turns his back on the flogged, beaten, ridiculed Man of Galilee. And he let’s the question fall to the ground. And he shrugs his shoulders, turns to the crowd, and says, in essence, “Whatever.”

But for those who will ponder the question and pursue an answer . . . for those who will sincerely ask . . . and honestly seek . . . and earnestly knock, they will be answered with insight . . . and they will find the truth . . . and to them the door leading to eternal life will be opened.

And really, is there a better time of year than this time to ask again the question, “Where are You from?” When our focus is directed toward a manger? When we think about a baby, against whose birth we mark time? When we consider afresh a story of immaculate conception . . . of angels reportedly visiting . . . of shepherds apparently praising . . . and of wise men persistently inquiring? Is there a better time to quiet our hearts seek again the answer? Thinkin’ not!

Even for those of us who, by God’s grace, know the answer, and have have believed and received the truth, it is a question worth asking anew. Pondering afresh, in awe-filled wonder, that He is truly the Son of God sent from heaven to rescue those in bondage to sin. Responding with worship, offering again ourselves to the King who is worthy of all honor and praise. The King from heaven.

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
  when Thou camest to earth for me;
  but in Bethlehem’s home there was found no room
  for Thy holy nativity.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
  there is room in my heart for Thee.

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word
  that should set Thy people free;
  but with mocking scorn, and with crown of thorn,
  they bore Thee to Calvary.
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
  there is room in my heart for Thee.

(Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne, Timothy R. Matthews, Emily E.S. Elliot)

All because of grace . . . all for God’s glory.


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