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Matthew 27:22 -- What Shall I Do with Jesus?

During a recent read through of the four Gospels in the New Testament, a phrase I’ve read and heard possibly hundreds of times in my lifetime grabbed my attention. It’s a short phrase hidden in the narratives of Jesus’ trial in front of Pilate prior to His crucifixion. Though the wording varies in each Gospel account, the basic question Pilate voices is basically this, “What shall I do with Jesus?”

After his questioning, Pilate declares that he finds no fault with Jesus. Even though the crowds are yelling “Crucify him! Crucify him!’ it’s apparent Pilate doesn’t believe crucifixion is an appropriate sentence for the charges that have been brought against Jesus. Other than being accused of blasphemy, nothing Jesus has done or said is deserving of death. Pilate even goes as far as trying to negotiate with the crowds, asking if they will accept Jesus’ release as a fulfillment of the Passover feast’s custom to release a prisoner. The crowd rejects that idea, and through the encouragement of the chief priests, the people ask for Pilate to release a murderer by the name of Barabbas, instead.

So, we find Pilate at a crossroad. He can either push back against the peer pressure and popular opinion to crucify Jesus, or he can give into them. And, of course, we already know the rest of the story. Pilate gave in and released Jesus into the hands of those who wanted him dead.

The reason Pilate’s question, “What shall I do with Jesus?” affected me so strongly is how relevant that question is today. In reality, we’re currently living in a world and society that mirrors that of over 2,000 years ago. During the riots and marches that took place over many of our cities this past summer, there were protestors carrying placards calling Jesus a troublemaker and insinuating that if Jesus should return, He should be killed again. There were also accusations that Christians and churches should be destroyed. With that type of attitude filling our social media and news, it has moved an ancient question to the forefront of our society.

I have friends reading this question who have never made the decision to place their trust and faith in Jesus. The reasons for that could vary from person to person, but it’s possible they’ve had struggles similar to Pilate. On the one hand their hearts tell them it’s just possible Jesus is who He claims to be, and they should take steps to embrace that concept. Or, on the other hand, they have family members, friends or influencers in their lives who are like the crowds, discouraging them from venturing too far into “religion”. They raise doubts and voice skepticism as to Jesus’ authenticity. They argue the existence of Jesus is just a folklore, and He never existed. And, if He did exist, He was just an historical figure. He certainly didn’t raise from the dead as the Bible states.

If they should ask me the question, “What shall I do with Jesus?”, I’d tell them to run to Him with open arms, as fast as they can. I know from personal experience that Jesus is absolutely who He claims to be. His abundance of love and grace is life changing, and He will never disappoint.

On the other hand, I also have friends reading this question who believe they’ve already settled this question as it relates to their salvation and eternity, and I have no doubt they have. But perhaps it’s time for them to be reminded of how Jesus wants them to respond to that question today. He has clearly taught that we are to “love him with all our heart, all our soul, with all our might (strength), and with all our mind.” 

We’re not told to love him halfheartedly, or when it’s convenient, or when it doesn’t interfere with our lifestyle. Per one dictionary’s meaning, the word “all” means “The whole of one’s energy or interest, ‘giving their all for what they believed.’” 

Perhaps, now would be a good time to evaluate how we’re succeeding loving Jesus with all our being, as well as time for each of us to ask ourselves, “Are my words and actions drawing others toward Christ? Or, am I turning them away? Do my words and actions back up what I’m doing with Jesus?”

So, regardless of which category you’re in above, whether you’re a non-believer or a Jesus follower, ask yourself the question, “What shall I do with Jesus?”


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