Our verse for today comes from John 18:31, “Then Pilate said to them, ‘You take Him and judge Him according to your law.’ Therefore the Jews said to him, ‘It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.’”
The list is actually quite lengthy, the offenses declared in the Old Testament by God to be deserving of death. And there would not have been one Jew, even from the youngest of ages, who did not learn what would bring about the ultimate of punishments. For one particular law could impact each of them early on, that which forbid a child from hitting or cursing their parent. Other crimes that were punishable by death included murder, kidnapping, idolatry, sorcery, false prophecy, blasphemy, profaning the sabbath day, and several sexual sins. So we know that God had proscribed for His chosen people to require the ultimate price for many transgressions. Then what is meant by the claim of the crowd that it is unlawful for them to put anyone to death? Well, Rome was now the big man in town, and they reserved capital punishments for themselves. So the taking of Jesus’ life was going to require the approval of Pilate. Oddly, not long after Jesus is killed, another angry mob shows far less reverence for Roman jurisdiction and violently stones Stephen to death. But when a person is being led by their own impulses and desires, their prejudices and their guilt, what is true and right and consistent has little say.
That is how the religious leaders felt justified in having an innocent man killed, just as long as they weren’t the ones driving the spikes through His body. They completely separated their heart from their hands, keeping one clean while the other condemned them, but for them that was all that God had commanded. To that I would say be careful when you are compelled to judge harshly the actions of another. I would say be careful when you hear yourself explaining why this thing must be done this way. I would say be careful when you want strongly to carry out something on another. I would say be careful warning others to be careful, but rather turn your heart over to the One who knows how much more there is to be on you.
As we seek Him today, ask God to purify your heart, that you might not sin against Him.
Also published on : Medium.com.