During a recent study on Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion, I read something I hadn’t considered before. When Jesus was arrested and tried before Pilate, because Pilate was a Gentile, and because it was the time of Passover, the Jewish leaders who falsely accused Jesus pushed him through Pilate’s gates. They didn’t want to defile themselves by entering a Gentile area. The Jews feared yeast might be present in Pilate’s house. If so, the priests would not have enough time to purify themselves before the Passover Lamb was sacrificed. (They’re handing the Lamb of God over to be crucified, and they’re worried entering a Gentile area would defile them? Really?)
The book of John, written by one of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples, who happened to also be one of Jesus’ cousins, gives a detailed description of what happened inside Pilate’s courtyard. How did John know what went on? Only answer…he was there.
John was a Jew, just like the men who refused to enter Pilate’s presence for fear of defilement. Seems John cared more about following Jesus, than he cared about following the rules of a religion.
As I pondered this thought, I read a devotion written by Lisa TerKeurst from Proverbs 31 Ministries. What I got from Lisa’s devotion was we need to go beyond following rules – we need to follow Jesus. Isn’t that what John did? The Jewish law said, “Do not enter.” Jesus said, “Follow me.”
Pretty much, I’m a rule follower. But I’m also pretty stubborn. I like to think I make decisions based on what’s best for the grand scheme of things. I think that’s where God’s grace comes in. I doubt very seriously John was defiled because he entered Pilate’s courtyard. If anything, I believe he was blessed, as we are, by what he witnessed, and what he wrote down for us to study today.
What if John had held to the rules, and didn’t follow Jesus? What if we do the same?
Is there an area you feel God’s calling you to minister for him, to be a witness for him? Something maybe a little out of your comfort zone? Something others may not feel you should take on? Something they say might defile you? Someone God’s asking you to befriend who might be out of your circle of friends?
Follow rules, or follow Jesus?
What are your thoughts on the subject?
Jesus’ trial before Caiaphas ended in the early hours of the morning. Next he was taken to the palace of the Roman governor. His accusers wouldn’t go in themselves for that would “defile” them, they said, and they wouldn’t be allowed to eat the Passover lamb. John 18:28
I wish you well.
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