Jump Start # 2914
John 19:16 “So he then handed Jesus over to them to be crucified.”
The Gospels portray Pilate as weak. He is put in a corner by the Jews and he caves in to their demands. Saving his own neck was much more important than a common Jewish nuisance by the name of Jesus. So, bowing to the cries of the Jews, Pilate hands Jesus over. But this isn’t the last time Pilate hands Jesus over. After the Lord’s death, Joseph, a wealthy secret disciple askes Pilate for the body of Jesus. The text says, “Pilate granted permission.” He handed Jesus over, once again.
Historically, rulers often charged families a price in order to have the corpse returned to them. But, here, possibly out of respect, knowing that Jesus was innocent, or just wanting this thing to go away once and for all, he gives Joseph the body of Jesus. And maybe Joseph was the one to approach Pilate because he had the financial means to pay if Pilate was going to charge. But he didn’t. He handed the Lord over.
Pilate could have released Jesus, but he didn’t. Pilate could have charged Joseph, but he didn’t. And, like Pilate, many today want to just keep handing Jesus over. This is how it works:
· In many homes, the role of teaching the children God’s way is handed over to the church. Mom and dad are too busy and don’t want to get involved with that. Other times, mom and dad do not know themselves and do not know where to begin teaching their children. So, they pass Jesus on to the church. Let the church do the teaching. The problem with that is that Bible classes are offered twice a week generally. Two hours a week—that’s it. How much tv are the kids getting? How many hours with friends? How much free time with tablets, internet and social media? Jesus has been handed off for someone else to deal with.
· Within the home, much too often, dads hand Jesus off to mom. Dad is into sports. Dad isn’t interested in Jesus. So prayers, Bible reading, and learning the principles of God fall to mom. The apostle put the responsibility of bringing children up in the nurture of the Lord on dads. And, typically, dads punt that responsibility to moms. “I’m not good at teaching,” he says. Or, “I’ve worked hard and I’m tired.” And, once again, Jesus is handed off.
· Sometimes elderships hand Jesus off to the preacher. A question arises among the members. A situation comes to the forefront. A problem. A concern. Rather than setting up a time to study the Bible with the people involved, the shepherds hand Jesus off to the preacher. “Preach a sermon on this,” can be more than an idea. It could be a disguise for “do this for us.” Most preachers gladly open the Bible and will meet any challenge. But there are times when leaders must move to the front and lead. A question that is asked to them needs to be answered from them. But, too often, Jesus is handed off.
· The learning of the Bible can be handed off from the members to the preacher. Rather than everyone studying their Bibles and searching the Scriptures daily, Sunday becomes a period when the preacher shares what he knows and others allow that to be the only way that they learn and grow. Spoon fed works well with little babies. But as one ages, he need to grab that fork for himself and feed himself. Don’t be relying upon others to tell you what to believe. Look. Learn. Grow yourself. But, too often, Jesus is handed off.
We see this, but what can be done about it? How can we stop passing Jesus down the line? How do we stop handing Jesus off?
· First, learn to read and study your Bible yourself. Find a reading plan. Stick to it. Use it. Grow.
· Second, step up to your responsibilities. If you are a dad, if you are a parent, then the spiritual well being of the little ones falls to you. If you don’t know what to do or how to do it, ask for help. There are tons of resources that will help you.
· Shepherds, when asked a question by a member, set up a time and get with that person. Do your homework ahead of time. If you don’t know, seek, ask, find out. If you don’t like to do this or don’t want to do this, then possibly you are in the wrong role. Maybe you’d be better serving as a deacon. Maybe leading people is not your thing. Handling problems, working through situations, those are the tasks that comes with shepherding.
Pilate handed Jesus off, but what he didn’t hand off was his responsibility. The same follows with us. We can kick the can down the road and give someone else the job we are supposed to do. That other person might even do a great job, even better than we could. However, we are still responsible. The obligation falls to us.
Handing Jesus over—whether to do a favor, or as an act of kindness, either way, doesn’t set well, when we are the ones who are supposed to step up to the task before us.