(Posted 04/05/04)
#4 What Will You Do With Jesus?

By D. B. Martin

The PASSION movie has raised many questions. We have addressed some of them in this series, such as “Who is this Christ?” and “Who Killed Jesus?” With this 4th message we come to the trial of Jesus and the most urgent question: “What will you do with Jesus?” Your answer to this question will determine your eternal destiny. It is based on the question Pilate asked the Jews:

“What shall I do then with Jesus, who is called the Christ?” (Matthew 27:22). What made Pilate ask this question? The Jewish leaders had arrested Jesus in Gethsemane in the middle of the previous night, condemning Him in an illegal night trial. By sun up, they had brought Him to Pilate, the Roman Governor, demanding the death penalty. Pilate heard their accusations and examined Jesus, but found no fault in Him. He knew that they had delivered Jesus out of envy (Mtt. 27:18). There was a custom of allowing the Jews to choose one political prisoner to be released on high holidays (Mtt. 27:15). Pilate thought if he gave them a choice between releasing Jesus or a dangerous murderer, named Barabbas, they would choose Jesus. The mob, spurred on by the Jewish leaders, asked Pilate to release Barabbas.

Why Did Pilate Ask This Question? He was shocked at their choice of Barabbas, and at that precise moment asked them, “What shall I do then with Jesus, who is called the Christ?” They answered, “Let him be crucified.” His question was an appeal to the people to choose Jesus. He was asking, why won’t you choose Jesus? They could have reconsidered, choosing Jesus after all. And that is the question of this message. What will you do with Jesus? Have you chosen Him as your Lord and Savior? If you haven’t yet, you also can reconsider and choose Him today.

You Cannot Be Neutral. Suspense was growing! Pilate had to either crucify Jesus or let Him go. He knew releasing Jesus would incur the wrath of the Jewish leaders, and possibly the Roman Emperor as well. He tried to escape responsibility by calling for a basin of water washing his hands (vs. 24). He thought he could avoid making a decision about Jesus by washing his hands of the matter. He was saying, “I do not want to condemn Him but neither can I release Him.” He wanted to be neutral. It is a fact of history that Pilate was relieved of his position not long after that. Legend has it that he spent the rest of his life obsessively washing his hands. How are your hands?

There are many today who, like Pilate, say, “I am not against Jesus or for Him. I am neutral.” That didn’t work for Pilate and it won’t work for you. You must either receive or reject Him.

How To Choose Jesus. The Bible says of Jesus, “He came unto his own and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name;” (John 1:11-12). Jesus was born a Jew. Most of His people rejected Him as their Messiah, but not all. The apostles and the Christians in the Jerusalem church were Jews. To all who believed in Jesus as their Lord, He gave “power” to become children of God. He still does. Simply pray, “Father, I hereby receive Jesus as my Lord.” He will forgive your sins, give you abundant life on earth and eternal life in Heaven.

Delaying Your Decision Is Rejection. Rejecting Jesus leaves people with their guilt through this life and condemns them to Hell forever. You may be saying, “I haven’t rejected Jesus; I just haven’t decided yet.” Consider this illustration; if a man asks a woman to marry him and she does not answer yes, are they engaged? Suppose she waits a year to answer, would her suitor be right to conclude her answer was “no”? Of course. The Bible uses marriage as an illustration of Christ and His church. Jesus comes as a bridegroom. He proposes to you and to all the people in the world; “I love you. Will you accept my proposal to be part of my bride, the church?” Any answer but “yes”, is rejection. If you do not take His proposal seriously and receive Him, you are also saying “no”. Listen to what the Bible says, “He that believeth on him [Jesus] is not condemned; but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:17).

Today Is the Day of Salvation. On Sunday night, October 8, 1871, evangelist Dwight L. Moody was conducting an evangelistic service in the 2500-seat Farwell Hall in Chicago, Illinois. The house was packed. Moody was preaching on this text with the same subject, “What Will You Do With Jesus?” Thinking he might be pressing people too hard, Moody did not give a public invitation for decision that night. He closed the service requesting the people to think about the message and come back the next night ready to make a decision to receive Christ as Lord and Savior.

That very night the Chicago fire broke out. 17,000 buildings were destroyed, including Farwell Hall, Moody’s home and 50 church buildings. More than 300 people died and thousands suffered injuries. 90,000 people were left homeless. Of course, there was no service that night.

Moody was devastated. He vowed to never again preach the gospel without inviting people to receive Jesus Christ as Savior. He continued preaching across America and other countries until his death in 1899. Everywhere he went, he told of the Chicago fire, pleading with people to receive Jesus that day, for they had no promise of tomorrow. Nor do I, nor do you.

Beloved hymn writer and singer, B. B. McKinney said it so well in his hymn: "What Will You Do With Jesus?"

“Jesus is standing at your heart’s door.
Standing and knocking, He’s knocked before.
This is the question you face once more,
What will you do with Jesus?

Refrain: What will you do with Jesus?
Neutral you cannot be.
Someday your heart will be asking,
What will He do with me?”

(© 1940 by The Sunday School Board of SBC – Public Domain)

What will you do with Jesus? Receive Him as your Savior today and/or share Him with a lost world. Tomorrow may be too late. Amen.

© 2004 D. B. Martin.

P. S. The Passion Movie report. As of April 5th, gross box office sales of THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST movie $330,131,000. It is now 10th in all time domestic movie sales. If it continues, at the present rate, plus the worldwide distribution and DVD sales, it could easily surpass the Titanic, now more than $600 million. The exciting thing about that is not the record, but the number of people in the world that will hear of Jesus, His cross and resurrection. Take someone to see it this Easter season!
We also invite you to visit our website at www.maranathalert.org. We have many prophecy articles posted there. Also, last Easter season we posted messages on the Seven Last Words from the Cross. They are posted there and you may access the first one by simply clicking the following site: http://www.maranathalert.org/mar_3-5-03.htm.

To view previous Maranathalerts, see the Maranathalert Archives. Visit our website home page for many prophecy articles and other subjects posted there. For example, 2003 Easter season we posted messages on "The Seven Last Words from the Cross."

Note: “Maranatha” means, “Behold He Is Coming,” an early Christian greeting. “Alert,” reminds us to be ready. Blessings in Jesus! D.B.

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