Today’s Reading: Acts 4:26-27 (NIV)
26 The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his Anointed One. 27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed.”
Most folks do not enjoy having the mistakes they’ve made in private publicly proclaimed. The media uses humiliation and embarrassment to sensationalize its headline stories; people seem to thrive on a little dirty laundry. Let’s face it; we like to point the finger at each other, hoping to move the spotlight away from where we stand. Have you ever been publicly judged?
Herod and Pontius Pilate are taking the heat over Jesus’ conviction, crucifixion and death. There is no doubt that they, along with most members of the Sanhedrin and many of Jerusalem’s citizens, exercised their right to kill the Father’s anointed one. If you’ve been fence-sitting on where to place blame, Peter and John make a convincing sales pitch. The greatest “whodunit” is being solved right now, in the middle of town square. Are you relieved that the focus of this particular conversation is not about you?
My father loved eating ice cream. After dinner, mother would empty a gallon carton of vanilla ice cream into a large serving bowl. She would pour a 16-ounce can of syrup over the ice cream until all you could see was rich, gooey chocolate. We watched in utter amazement as Daddy devoured its contents in record time. The ice cream never had time to melt! We never really understood how Daddy didn’t suffer a brain freeze as he licked the bowl clean. When the evidence of his indiscretion had been swallowed, it was hard to prove the truth, until Daddy tipped the scales at his annual physical. You see, there are just some things we cannot hide no matter how fast we try to consume it.
This is what exercising “free will” is all about. Some of us are much more disciplined when it comes to making right choices. Others of us are simply swayed by our sweet tooth. We act upon impulse and we make decisions we might otherwise pass by, because it is sitting there, tempting us to take another bite. For Herod and Pontius Pilate, their political careers were hanging by a mere thread. They feared the overall popularity of this man Jesus, and wondered if they might lose complete control of the city if he were allowed to live. There was only one solution, they thought, and it seemed like a sweet deal at first. They acted upon an opportunity as John Q. Public’s opinion swayed back and forth like the pendulum of a grandfather clock. They are now forever remembered as their choices are weighed upon the scales of injustice; the ultimate unforgivable act of gluttony and greed. How will your life’s choices be recorded for all to remember and judge?
When it comes to exercising “free will,” the path of the spotlight suddenly expands to include more than just a group of people situated within a certain culture and geographic locale. If you’ve ever found yourself swayed by a sweet tooth and turned away from His Truth, you are as guilty as Pilate and Herod. Every time we choose our own way over His Way, we assume ultimate responsibility for nailing Jesus to the tree.
It is time to exercise your free will at the foot of the cross, and invite Jesus Christ to become the Lord and Savior of your life. Give Him your sweet tooth today. He can cure your temptation to sin, as you taste the miraculous sweetness of His amazing love.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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