Consider what could have happened if the Jewish rulers had accepted Jesus as the Son of God instead of trodding him under foot. The Roman rulers would have arrested and executed him as a threat to their authority. Jesus would still have risen and ascended into heaven to sprinkle the blood on the mercy seat. His prophecies in Matthew 24-25 would have not just “come to pass” but would have been “fulfilled” as Daniel’s fourth / the Roman kingdom brought great tribulation. Jesus would have returned, brought deliverance and instituted the millennial reign with the royal family, loyal priests, elders and apostles in the government.
However, we know it didn’t work out that way. The religious leaders well knew that Jesus was “that prophet” who they should receive, but they “received him not” (John 1:11) and actively rebelled, not only against him, but the law of Moses, and the original law given to the Adams. In defiance of all the evidence, Nicodemus’ legal colleagues decided to secure their short term in office in a petty political position by eliminating Yeshua altogether.
John Chapter 18
- Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons…
- Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,
- And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
- Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people…
- The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
- Then led they Jesus…unto the [Roman] hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.
- Oh yes, early. Hustle Yeshua in and out privately before the adoring public gets wind of this.
- Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?
- You can imagine him with a napkin in his hand, brushing toast crumbs from his mouth just like he intends to brush off this annoying interruption on a day that would develop into major turmoil with the Jewish sectarian crowds for the Passover alone, not to mention those zealots against Rome.
- They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee. [Hustle, hustle, just take our word for it and get on with it!]
- Then said Pilate unto them, Take ye him, and judge him according to your law. [Why are you bothering me!?]
- The Jews therefore said unto him, It is not lawful for us to put any man to death;
- [Oh, I knew today was going to be rough!] Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again [clearly leaving the back room negotiations], and called Yahweh’s Savior and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews?
- Yahweh’s Savior answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?” [As with Nicodemus previously, and with the thief later on that same day, even in the midst of his own suffering, Yahweh’s Savior remains focused on his purpose of bringing salvation to each individual he encounters.]
- Pilate answered [spit out in disgust], Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done?
- Yahweh’s Savior answered, My kingdom is not of this world [unequivocal statement of spiritual nature of his kingdom, which Pilate, raised in paganism and acknowledging the godhood of Caesar, would understand]:
- if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews [the religious leadership, not the whole nation]:
- but now [emphasis added] is my kingdom not from hence [terrifying implication that it will be at some future point when will there be awful retribution for this travesty of justice].
- Pilate therefore [he’s getting very nervous] said unto him, Art thou a king then? [No longer posing the question on behalf of the Jews, but asking for himself regarding our Savior’s spiritual nature. There was that mayhem with Augustus Caesar’s good friend and ally Herod the Great’s wholesale slaughter of babies only 30 or so years earlier when Herod believed in a king rising out of Israel.]
- [Now that he is ready to deal with the real issue – which is not a mere political accusation by jealous Jewish leadership in the backwater province of Judea, but a real challenge to Caesar’s claim to be the son of God with power to rule the world – the Savior cuts to the heart of the matter.]
- Yahweh’s Savior answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. [The Savior doesn’t get sidelined with questions. He puts the ball right back into Pilate’s court when he responds to actions which speak louder than words. Pilate after all is taking him seriously enough to interrogate him, he didn’t shoo the Jews away.] To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
- Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? [Sophistry, trying to sound clever but really evading the issue.] And when he had said this, [he then admits that he knows the truth] he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all…will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? [Deliberately antagonizing them, no doubt because Jesus made him feel foolish and helpless. This seals the Savior’s fate.]
- Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man!…
- Then Pilate therefore took Yahweh’s Savior, and scourged him [after judicially declaring him innocent. He has lost control and is using displacement coping mechanism against his rising anxiety.]
- And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, and said, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him with their hands.
- Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Yahweh’s Savior forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe.
- And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! [thinking their blood lust might be assuaged at the sight of this broken human being.]
- When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, [on the contrary, their blood lust was inflamed] saying, Crucify him, crucify him.
- Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him.
- The Jews answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.
- When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid [this is exactly what he feared]; and went again into the judgment hall, and saith unto Yahweh’s Savior, Whence art thou? [Are you divine?!]
- But Yahweh’s Savior gave him no answer [because Pilate has all the data he needs to conclude for himself – all the signs and miracles the Savior had done, and the Jewish rulers’ rivalry against him].
- Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? [You can hear his voice rising an octave as his anxiety skyrockets and he begins overcompensating to shore up his failing confidence.]
- Yahweh’s Savior answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin. [Can you believe it? Assuaging his adversary’s anxiety.]
- And from thenceforth Pilate sought to release him [using up his precious time negotiating with his quislings on this most turbulent day in Judea because he half-way believes that this man is indeed the son of God. After all the Caesars rose from obscurity to immense power with claims of divinity.]:
- but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend [but his enemy, accomplice to treason]: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.
- When Pilate therefore heard that saying [as a pragmatist he fears Caesar of Rome more than the God of Israel], he brought Yahweh’s Savior forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha.
- And it was the preparation of the Passover: [and where are the chief priests who are supposed to be supervising the great sacrifice? At the ultimate sacrifice…] and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!
- But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him!
- Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? [Politically antagonizing them.]
- The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. [Pilate makes them pay for forcing him to do their dirty work by forcing them to make a political concession. And so they yielded themselves servants to Caesar / Antichrist.]
- Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified…and two other with him, on either side one, and Yeshua in the midst. And Pilate wrote a title, and put it on the cross. And the writing was Yeshua Of Nazareth The King Of The Jews.
- This title then read many of the Jews: for the place where Jesus was crucified was nigh to the city: and it was written in Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin.
- Then said the chief priests of the Jews to Pilate, Write not, The King of the Jews; but that he said, I am King of the Jews.
- Pilate answered, What I have written I have written. [You got what you wanted but you are going to pay for it.]
- “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. [Choice one – self-centered objectives.]
- But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God [choice two], seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Yeshua, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
- And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise. (Luke 23:39-43)
In spite of the most extreme circumstances casting doubt on his identity, this common criminal believes that Yeshua is the Promised Savior who will resurrect and restore creation to original wholeness in God’s Kingdom. And that’s what it takes – fearing God’s righteous judgment on sin and accepting the Son of God as your savior from the consequences of of your un-right-eous acts.
Turning to God usually only happens when we come to the end of our ability to manage our problems. In Nicodemus’ case he faced an existential crisis at this point as he was forced to make a choice between
- participating in further corrupting a system of law upon which he depended for eternal life, or
- trusting that Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua of Nazareth was indeed who he said he was – the main character in all of the Jewish writings from Genesis to Malachi.
It ended well for Nicodemus, who took the most public stand possible – separating himself from the corrupt rulers, honoring the teacher who had been unjustly put to death, and accepting Jesus as his lord and master in the process.
“And after this Joseph of Arimathaea, being a disciple / student of our Savior, but secretly for fear of the Jews, besought Pilate that he might take away the body of Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus…And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound weight. [In today’s currency, costing about $200,000] Then took they the body of Yahweh’s Savior / Yeshua / Jesus…as the manner of the Jews is to bury.” (John 19:38-40)
What could possibly drive these two men from the extremes of society – a law-breaking criminal and a law-abiding ruler – to give a public testimony of their belief that this Yeshua was the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Son of God as he died? There is only one possible explanation – faith in God’s word.
“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
- He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
- Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
- But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
- All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
- He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living:
- for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
- Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied:
- by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities…because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53).
“There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.the law [intractable authority, power] of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [How?] God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh. ” (Romans 8:2-3)
- “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
- And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
- She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God [Seed of the Woman promised to save humanity from sin and death on Day 1] which should come into the world. (John 11:25-27)
If we accept the biblical teaching the Son of God / Son of Man / Seed of the Woman was able to represent all humanity and die in the place of all humanity, then we must accept the inverse.
- “I am crucified with Christ:
- nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20
- “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord / YHVH’s Appointed Savior the King who defeated the adversary of sin and death,
- so walk ye in him / live like you did!
- Beware lest any man spoil you [like rotted meat] through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men…
- Buried with him in baptism / merged with the Spirit of the Singularity
- wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
- And you, being dead in your sins…hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
- And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it. (Colossians 2)
With all these references to Christ, doesn’t that mean we have to be a Christian to be saved from hell?
Let’s not be so ethnocentric. Jesus Christ and his disciples did not say “Jesus Christ”. Christianity as we experience it was not en vogue in the first century. Let’s keep in mind that all the denominations and corrupt preachers proves that Christianity falls into the category of “Beware lest any man spoil you after the tradition of men.”
Let’s keep our beliefs grounded in the Word of God.