Gems 2014 — September 21 Scripture Selection: John 19:1-16

Guest post by Jeanette Andrade

September 21 Scripture Selection: John 19:1-16

Food for Thought: John 19:6-8, 12, 16

Though we understand that it was for our ultimate benefit for Jesus Christ to be crucified, from Pilate’s perspective, he was looking at an innocent man who did not deserve to die. Yet he caved to the pressure of the Jews, something he felt quite troubled about. And once he made the decision to yield to their demands, it was impossible to reverse it. The damage had been done, and he had to live with that decision for the rest of his life.

Isn’t it interesting that people can know the right thing to do, and yet not do it? We’ve all been guilty of that at one time or another. It seemed easier to do the wrong than to face the pressure and do the right thing. But the price of doing that can be very high and very hard to undo.

James 4:17 addresses this: “Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.” God’s way is always best, but sometimes what holds us back from doing the right thing is fear or pride; both hinder the will of God in our lives. However, as Christians we have the advantage of God’s Word and His Spirit to lead us and strengthen us, enabling us to push back against the pressures from without and within. God promises to help us, as shown in Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

Every day presents us with the opportunity to choose to do what’s right, despite the strong temptation to ignore the small, gentle voice within us. Let us gear up with the Word today and receive this encouragement so that we will have the courage to follow God’s will. Galatians 6:9, 10 exhorts us to “not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.” We can do it.

Digging Deeper (What scriptures can further enhance today’s reading?):

Getting Personal (What has God shown you in today’s reading?):

Confession of Faith (Example: Lord, based on Mat. 1:21 and 23, I understand that Jesus is God…)

Important Events on This Day (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.):

This entry was posted in Christian. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Gems 2014 — September 21 Scripture Selection: John 19:1-16

  1. Jim Masterson says:

    >>
    And once he made the decision to yield to their demands, it was impossible to reverse it. The damage had been done, and he had to live with that decision for the rest of his life.
    <<

    I thought the point of Christ’s ministry was to die on the cross–for all of us. In that case, Pilate was used. Had the Romans not executed Christ, then the task would have fallen to either Antipas or the Sanhedrin. Neither seemed anxious to carry out the execution. If they had, then the method, most likely, would have been either stoning or beheading. Neither method would have led to the current symbol for Christianity. So we have Pilate to thank for the cross symbol. It seems a better symbol than a stone or ax, but maybe I’m stretching here.

    Of course, if all three declined to execute Christ, then who would that task then fall to? His disciples? Again, lucky for us Pilate did the dirty work.

    Jim

    • suyts says:

      Jim, have you raised children?

      • Jim Masterson says:

        I don’t understand the point of the question (I assume you’re going to explain why, shortly). However, the answer is yes.

        Jim

      • suyts says:

        Did you ever allow them to mess up on their own? Knowing that they would, after admonishing them not to?

        • Jim Masterson says:

          Yes, but I’m around to catch them if they fall or fall too far. Also I’m no god, so I don’t know what will happen exactly or how it will happen. God supposedly has that ability.

          The Crucifixion was supposed to happen. It was prophesied in the Old Testament. Again we’re back to predestination. Just how much freewill do we really have? Apparently not so much in the case of Judas and Pilate.

          Or, the Quantum Mechanic concept of “alternate realities” might explain it. But that would be a lot of realities to account for everyone’s free choice.

          Jim

        • DirkH says:

          I like this quote (from the first of the wikipedia pages I linked)

          Thomas Pink’s version[29]
          “There are but these two alternatives. Either an action is causally determined. Or, to the extent that it is causally undetermined, its occurrence depends on chance. But chance alone does not constitute freedom. On its own, chance comes to nothing more than randomness. And one thing does seem to be clear. Randomness, the operation of mere chance, clearly excludes control.”

        • kim2ooo says:

          Just how much freewill do we really have? Apparently not so much in the case of Judas and Pilate.

          I believe Jesus answered that.

          Mark 14:35-36New International Version (NIV)

          35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba,[a] Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

    • jsue says:

      Yes, Jim, Jesus had to be sacrificed for us, though He said “No one takes my life; I lay it down willingly.” However, this devotional was from the “human perspective” and Pilate’s personal experience. Pilate had a choice. Though had he not made the decision to have Jesus crucified, someone else would have. If God didn’t give us a free will, He would not be a loving, just God. He does not just wind us up like toys and watch us go. That is why He gave us His Word and His Spirit to help us make the right decisions. Even the angels have a choice (remember Lucifer and one third of the angels?). Otherwise, what real glory would there be for Him from a bunch of robots or pawns to just mindlessly do His will?

      • suyts says:

        Nicely stated, sis.

        • jsue says:

          Kim, I really appreciate your point drawn from Mark 14:35-36. My concern with the idea that everything is already laid out is that some people then feel like they could just crawl in a corner, cross their arms, and just wait for it all to end. After all, they reason, it doesn’t really matter. Everything is beyond their will. They attribute every bad thing that happens to being “God’s will.” They take no personal responsibility and have no concern for the souls of the lost. Those who will be saved will be saved regardless of what they do. So evangelism becomes feeble at best. Even in politics one would think “What’s the point? It’s all going to turn out the way God wants it, anyway.” So even this blog would be a waste of time.

        • DirkH says:

          Well it sounds paradoxical. But through understanding the paradox (that Free Will hinges on determinism and not on randomness) we can understand an important aspect of reality.
          I must admit that I made the same mistake in the past.

        • kim2ooo says:

          Mrs. A,

          You are very welcome.

          The Christian religious have been debating the philosophies of “predestination vs free will” for more than hundreds of years.

          When God “establishes his eternal plan of ‘predestination,’ he includes in it each person’s free response to His grace.”

          Albeit ‘free will’ includes moral and ethical choices, when we talk Religiously / Biblically about “Free Will”… we are talking about it in response [ our response ] to God’s Grace – a separate issue.

          When we respond in God’s Grace, to His grace, the moral and ethical choices are answered.

          Judas and Pilate………. were they in God’s Grace?
          Did they have ‘free will’ to be in God’s grace??

          Mark 14:35-36 Is a great example, and so is the conversion of our friend Saul.

          It is God’s predestined plan for us to have free will and receive His grace.

          You are absolutely correct on those who are defeatist. Why should I try?

          Well… because God never predetermined you to hell.

          God’s will is immutable; therefore, God’s will is always accomplished.

          The mistake is to reject free will because of this truth.

          We have already seen that it is God’s will for all to be saved (2 Pt 3:9, cf. 1 Tm 2:4, 1 Jn 2:1-2). But it is also true that some men will not be saved (cf. Mt 7:13, 25:46; Rv 21:8). This implies the freedom to choose to serve God or not (cf. Dt 28:15, Mt 19:17-22).

        • kim2ooo says:

          “Well it sounds paradoxical. But through understanding the paradox (that Free Will hinges on determinism and not on randomness) we can understand an important aspect of reality.”

          Correct!!

        • kim2ooo says:

          Mrs. A,

          Here is another good example;

          What was said here?
          Matthew 23:37: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”

          As God, Jesus clearly desired to gather his children, Israel, but they would not. If the view of predestination, without free will, were true, God never willed to gather them at all. Jesus got it wrong here.

          If he truly willed to gather them, they would have been gathered!

  2. jsue says:

    Sorry Dirk, but quoting from Wikipedia doesn’t really help make the point. All I can go by is the Word of God. Also, this implies that people acting by their own will is “randomness.” I try not to make any decisions randomly; rather, I can depend on the Holy Spirit and the Word to guide me into HIS will. Also, just because we have a will doesn’t mean that our actions catch God off guard. He knows, and makes plans accordingly. There is nothing random about that.

    • DirkH says:

      In this case, wikipedia has the logic right. You state yourself “There is nothing random about that.” which is exactly my point. (Or Hume’s point, or Pink’s point)

      I was recently reading about the differences between Kant’s and Hume’s philosophies that’s why I remembered Hume’s argument when Jim brought it up.

      The point is, citing a source of randomness (like quantum theory) is not necessary or even helpful to argue for free will.

      • DirkH says:

        An older source: Thomas Aquinas points out that the will is an intellectual power
        http://www.aquinasonline.com/Topics/freewill.html
        Therefore one would assume that randomness is exactly not required. I might CHOOSE to flip a coin but that’s a decision of the free will that has been made before I flip it.

      • DirkH says:

        I guess the confusion arises because people look at brains and think, oh that’s complex and it sometimes wants this and sometimes wants that; there must be a random generator in it otherwise it would be predictable. This is a misconception. Sufficiently complex system cannot be predicted with analytical means but only by emulating them 100% (where the simulation becomes computationally equivalent to the simulee; and thus the act of simulating becomes impossible for all practical matters as it becomes equivalent to copying the system we want to predict; which is impossible and also useless as we then would just have two times the same system.)

        Randomness is confused with complexity, that’s what I want to say.

        • kim2ooo says:

          Randomness is confused with complexity, that’s what I want to say.

          Yeppers!

        • cdquarles says:

          Randomness is also something inherent to dwellers within a system and lacking the ability to know outside of the system.

          As you say, free will logically requires determinism. Mathematical chaos is deterministic, even if I don’t know all of the conditions and can’t visualize all of the paths.

          Morality requires free will. It requires an external standard and judge of the behaviors of autonomous actors. Free will was ‘baked into the cake’ when God said, “Let there be light.” and it is up to us whether to rationally approach the evidence in front of our noses and make the choice, to believe or not; for both require faith.

        • Jim Masterson says:

          >>
          As you say, free will logically requires determinism.
          <<

          I know a lot of people who use a coin-flip to determine their next action. The decision to choose a random path is also a choice.

          Jim

        • DirkH says:

          Jim, the “free” in Free Will does not mean “free of any input” but “free from coercion” or “free to make your own decision”. And one makes decisions based on facts.
          If one decides to flip a coin one does so when lacking enough information to make an informed decision; or when two alternatives seem equally appealing. And before one flips the coin one has made the decision, based on facts, that a coin flip is the right thing to do.

        • Jim Masterson says:

          Dirk, you’re not telling me anything new. Say at one point God knows I have a 90% chance of making a morally wrong choice and 10% chance of making a morally right choice. It has nothing to do with randomness or knowledge. I know which choice is the correct one, but in this one circumstance I will always pick the wrong choice. Does a 10% chance give me free will?

          Jim

        • kim2ooo says:

          Jim Masterson says:

          September 24, 2014 at 6:29 pm


          Dirk, you’re not telling me anything new. Say at one point God knows I have a 90% chance of making a morally wrong choice and 10% chance of making a morally right choice. It has nothing to do with randomness or knowledge. I know which choice is the correct one, but in this one circumstance I will always pick the wrong choice. Does a 10% chance give me free will?

          Jim

          Mr. Jim,

          You are adding too much into this.

          God is concerned with only one ‘Free Will’ choice. He states so ALL through the Bible.

          But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.Matthew 6:33

          Isaiah 33:6
          He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the LORD is the key to this treasure.

          Name the 90% morally wrong choice you can make while in His Grace.

          You can only do this outside of His Grace…examples Judas – Pilate etc.

        • Jim Masterson says:

          I was going to reply to you, Kim, but my browser crashed. Just before it crashed I copied my post to the clipboard, but I couldn’t paste it either. I guess I’m being told to forget it.

          Jim

        • kim2ooo says:

          I hate when that happens to me, Mr Jim.

          Mine crashed for 5 days, not long ago 😦

          Hope it’s all fixed now.

        • DirkH says:

          Jim Masterson says:
          September 24, 2014 at 6:29 pm
          “Does a 10% chance give me free will?”

          Any choice does.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s