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Daily Reading: 21st January 2016

John 19.4-5

4 And Pilate went outside again and said to them: “Look, I bring Him out to you so that you might know that I find no guilt in Him.”

5 Then Jesus came outside, wearing the thorny crown and the purple cloak, and (Pilate) said to them: “Look, The man.”

Perhaps we have all heard people say that religion has been the cause of many wars throughout the centuries, and there is a lot of truth in that statement.

As I write it is now a week since the horrific attacks in Paris, which left 129 people massacred, and around 200 seriously injured. Inevitable people ask the question: “why”? It is hard to escape the conclusion that it is the result of some form of the religion of Islam. However, this is a form of Islam that is rejected by the vast majority of Muslims.

Religion of all types, including Christianity, has a history of violence, torture, and slaughter. This is because religion is generally bigoted against those who are not adherents to their particular brand of religion.

Religion promotes the ideas of men over and above the purposes of God.

This was the situation that faced Pilot in his dealings with Jesus and the Jews. Pilot would have been ‘religious’ in the sense that the Roman Empire had many gods to whom they offered sacrifices. To the Romans, and therefore, Pilot, the Jews were a strange people because they only worshipped the One God.

Pilot knew that the Jews were desperate to get rid of Jesus, because He challenged the Jews about their religion. Pilot could see no wrong in this. He could see that the Jews were jealous on various counts.

1 Jesus was more popular than they were.

2 Jesus had more power, which both He and the people attributed to God.

3 Jesus challenged the traditions of the elders, telling them that the religious leaders put the tradition of the elders above the word of God. In this they made null and void the word of God.

Pilot was not ignorant of the antipathy that the Jews felt towards Jesus. At the same time he was aware that Jesus was an innocent man, guilty of no charge.

Pilot could see that it was the religiousness of the Jews that wanted him to condemn Jesus to death.

The heart of mankind is basically evil, and it is this evil that can find its expression in religion of all kinds.

When Jesus came He brought to us from the Father true religion, in which He tells us:

34 A New commandment I give to you that you must love one another; just as I love you so you must also love one another.

35 In this way will all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another – John 14.34-35.

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