The risks of sid­ing with Je­sus

The Catoosa County News - - WORSHIP DIRECTORY - Bo Wag­ner

be with­out fault. And yet, know­ing the truth and having made up his mind to re­lease Je­sus, Pi­late still ul­ti­mately con­demned him to die.

In his im­mor­tal work “The Screw­tape Let­ters,” C.S. Lewis has Screw­tape, the se­nior tempter, say­ing this to Worm­wood, his de­monic ap­pren­tice: “Pi­late was mer­ci­ful till it be­came risky.”

Matthew 27:24 says, “When Pi­late saw that he could pre­vail noth­ing, but that rather a tu­mult was made, he took wa­ter, and washed his hands be­fore the mul­ti­tude, say­ing, I am in­no­cent of the blood of this just per­son: see ye to it.”

Once again Pi­late pro­claimed the in­no­cence of Je­sus. Yet, be­cause peo­ple were ri­ot­ing, he gave him up to be cru­ci­fied any­way. He washed his hands in front of every­one, but no amount of wa­ter or time ever has or ever will wash away the stain from his name. Pi­late was mer­ci­ful till it be­came risky...

Sid­ing with Je­sus al­ways has been risky, and al­ways will be. Not just in mar­tyr­dom, which is still very much ex­tant in the mid­dle east and many other places, but in other ways as well.

If you fol­low Christ you will risk ridicule. You may be called a fol­low of “Je­bus” by peo­ple who think their Homer Simp­son ref­er­ence to be clever. You may be told, as I was, “I know your book bet­ter than you do, fool.” (I did not an­swer back. I have read the Bi­ble cover to cover some fifty times, and stud­ied it fer­vently since child­hood, and thus did not feel the need to en­gage the inanity). You may be broad-brushed as a fa­nat­i­cal fun­da­men­tal­ist when you are, in fact, well rea­soned and kind.

If you fol­low Christ you will risk alien­ation. Friends and fam­ily may not un­der­stand why you are fol­low­ing some­one you can­not see and trust­ing him to take you to a place you have never been.

If you fol­low Christ you, as Pi­late, will risk peo­ple ac­tu­ally get­ting an­gry each time you speak up for him. There has never been a greater flash­point than the name of Je­sus, there has never been a name that gen­er­ated si­mul­ta­ne­ously such de­vo­tion and such dis­gust.

Fol­low­ing Christ is risky, yes. But not fol­low­ing him is a greater risk by far. All of the risks of fol­low­ing him are found only in time, but not fol­low­ing him car­ries a high price tag both in time and eter­nity. Acts 4:12 says, “Nei­ther is there sal­va­tion in any other: for there is none other name un­der heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Pi­late was mer­ci­ful, till it be­came risky. If only he had taken the time to think of the risks far beyond his im­me­di­ate well-be­ing.

Bo Wag­ner is pas­tor of the Cor­ner­stone Bap­tist Church in Moores­boro, N.C., a widely trav­eled evan­ge­list, and au­thor of sev­eral books, in­clud­ing a kid’s fic­tion book about the Bat­tle of Chicka­mauga, “Bro­ken Brother­hood.” He can be emailed at 2knowhim@cbc-web.org.

Evan­ge­list and au­thor

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