Matt 27:11-25. During the trial of Jesus, Pilate asked the multitude a pivotal question, “What shall I do then with Jesus”?, v.22. We’re talking about this man Jesus. He is Christ, the anointed one, Israel’s Messiah. He is the King of the Jews, Mk 15:12. He didn’t get to reign then, but he is coming back to reign in the future. He is the Son of God, Jn 19:7. His earthly father, Joseph, was his foster father. Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost, Lk 1:35. He is the resurrected Savior, whom Paul met in Acts 9. He died for your sins and he rose to give you eternal life.
The pivotal question Pilate asked is, “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ”? He asked the multitude. But truly this was a question that Pilate had to answer for himself. Pilate had two choices. He could release Jesus or he could crucify him. He chose to turn him over to that mob and they crucified him.
This pivotal question, What shall I do with Jesus, is the same question everyone in this room must answer. And, like Pilate, you have only two choices. You can accept him or you can reject him.
Listen to the question, “What shall I do with Jesus”?
It’s a peremptory question. What SHALL. It’s not a rhetorical question. It’s a question that you must answer. It’s not a question you can avoid. You cannot remain neutral. You cannot respond like the Pharisees who were questioned about John’s baptism. They said “We cannot tell”. To remain silent is to answer that you reject Jesus. I saw a tract, which at the end had two boxes to check. One was I accept Jesus and the other was I reject Jesus. There was no box for undecided.
It’s a personal question. What shall I DO. Pilate had to answer this question. The crowd couldn’t answer for him. When he agreed to let the crowd crucify Jesus, he washed his hands in innocence. He excused himself because he could not prevail. But he is not excused and neither are you. No one else can answer this question for you, not your peers, not your family. What shall “I do” is not a group decision; it’s your decision.
It’s a pertinent question. What shall I do then WITH JESUS. You’re in church. This is Easter. The subject of preaching on this day is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The question is not about your thoughts on the various religions. Nor is it about your opinions on the Bible versus science or philosophy. Nor is the question about the heathen in Africa or some remote tribe in South America. The question is solely about one person, Jesus, and what you’re going to do with him.
It’s a pressing question. What shall I do THEN. Then means “in that case”. You see, Pilate offered the multitude a choice between Jesus and Barabbas. They said to release Barabbas. So, now Pilate had to figure out what to do with Jesus, since he couldn’t release him. Therefore, he proposed the question right then. And I’ll propose the same question to you. And like him, you now have to answer the question. The ball is in your court. Jesus has already done all he needed to do to save you, by his death, burial, and resurrection. You must decide now whether you’re going to accept him or reject him.
Conclusion: I often leave people with an option to go and think about their answer. I give them more time to consider the question. However, the truth is that they could answer the pivotal question right then. For some, the extra time to consider their answer is merely a polite way for them to reject Jesus without coming right out and turning him down. For others, they don’t learn anything more by further consideration than they knew at the time I asked them to receive Jesus. They could have accepted him right then. What will you do?