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Daily Reading: Friday 29th January 2016

John 19. 12-16

12 From this Pilate sought to release Him; but the Jews cried out saying: “If you release this man you are not a friend of Caesar. Everyone who makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”

13 The Pilate hearing these words brought Jesus outside and sat on the judgement seat in a place called the Stone Pavement, which in Hebrew is Gabbatha.

14 Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover, it was about the sixth hour; and he said (says) to the Jews: “Look your king.”

[15] They then cried out: “Take Him away, take Him away; crucify Him”. Pilate said (says) to them: “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered: “We have no king except Caesar.”

16 Therefore, he handed Jesus over to them so that He might be crucified. Then they took Jesus.

It is probably true to say that everyone is the victim of some kind of emotional blackmail during their life. It is probably also true to say that all of us have brought emotional blackmail to bear on someone else.

The Jews were certainly guilty of this as they asserted pressure on Pilate in their attempts to get him to confer the death sentence on Jesus.

What they said to Pilate was raw emotional blackmail. By saying that Pilate would not be a friend of Caesar if he released Jesus they were saying that he could be guilty of treason. The Jews knew that they were hitting Pilate in a very vulnerable area. They applied pressure in a political way in order to gain the advantage over him.

The statement by the Jews was very hypocritical, since they were certainly not the friends of Caesar.

The incident is very similar to an occasion in the early Church.

There was a man called Jason who was accused of harbouring Paul and Silas in his home. His accusers said this:

“They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, Jesus” – Acts 17.7 (NLT).

Jason and others managed to get Pail and Silas out of the city.

Emotional blackmail is a selfish and ungodly pressure designed to get someone else to do something against their own will.

It is often seen on social media. Someone may post something and then state: “I know my true friends will post this”. In so doing they apply emotional blackmail to all those ‘supposed’ friends, irrespective of the content of the post.

Pilate knew that he was in a difficult position, and he knew that the Jews could have made things very difficult for him. This was just what the Jews wanted, and they knew that it would help them in their attempts to get rid of Jesus.

We will all face various kinds of emotional blackmail, especially as the world tries to get us to conform to its’ way of thinking.

God’s word tells us how to avoid this:

Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect His will really is – Romans 12.2 (NLT).

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