Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Judgment Seat

John 19:12-13

From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, "If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar. " 

When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

Okay. I swear I have never seen the words Pavement or Gabbatha before in these verses! Obviously never questioned their meaning. Slid right past them. Who knows?

The Pavement is described as of a place near the praetorium or palace of Jerusalem,  of places in the outer courts of a temple. So here, of Pilate coming down to the level of the apostate Jews...a Gentile idolater, dominated by Jews who rejected their Messiah!  Gabbatha is defined as an elevated platform.  In other words, here it means, as is noted, the judgment seat. 

Oh the thoughts going through my head. Who only has the right to judge? The Jews, the chief priests,  judged Jesus and they eventually coerced Pilate to do so. He had to position himself in a place of authority as His judge. I see what the Jews said as putting Pilate into a place where he had to make a decision. He was between the Rock and a hard place, if I may say so.

But...this was God's plan. Again, to prove that He came to save both His own people the Jews, and the Gentile. Both had to have their hand in Jesus' crucifixion. we are all sinners, as we are told. No one is righteous. And some day we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. (Romans 14:11-13)

I know Romans 14:13 will trip some up. So, we're not anyone of us to judge. So, why might I seem to judge? I'm not judging if I am presenting the truth of God's Word. Yes, I judge if I don't know for sure a person's true heart toward the things of God. But if their life shows no sign of dedication to God, we have a reason to speak the truth. There might be, of course, a very gray area where we have to let it alone and let God do what needs to be done.  If someone is blatantly going against His Word it is therefore, righteous judging, based on His Word, not my own. 

There will be a judgment some day. Jesus was falsely judged and convicted. When we face judgment before God, the ultimate Judge, we will be accused or vindicated depending on our  lives in Christ. All judgments will be true and just whether we like them or not. Like the Jews spoke to Pilate, "If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar."  If we make ourselves our own authority, make ourselves a king as it were, we are against God. You chose that this Man should not enter into your life or chose to let Him go, therefore you are not God's friend; you speak against Him.

In the days we live in it is my prayer that skeptics would begin to believe. That the religious would begin to see its not about their religion or denomination, but about the relationship He would like us to have with He who was crucified for our sins. It's not about a man but the Man, Jesus Christ. These following words are for us all.

Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle--I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying--a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. (1Timothy 2:1-7)

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