What evil looked like two thousand years ago

“The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head.  They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’  And they slapped him in the face.”  John 19:2-3.

When I read this passage today, I realized that it was Roman soldiers doing this to Jesus.

There were no orders given to do it.  They just took it on themselves.

Pilate is an evil co-conspirator.  He tells the crowd that Jesus hasn’t done anything wrong but then has Jesus flogged.  How’s that for justice!  Flogging, by any definition, was no slap on the wrist. Some folks died from it.

The Jewish leaders are also in on this evil.  They wanted to kill Jesus, but it was against Old Testament law. They wanted the Romans to do it for them.  It was okay if they had others do it for them.  Whatever you need to tell yourselves!

I read this section and was overwhelmed by the layers of evil in place.  These folks didn’t just sound evil, they carried it out.

I realized, as I meditated on these verses, that evil has not left.  Satan hasn’t gotten old and passed on.  He’s in it until God tosses him into the Lake of Fire.  I need to be aware of his presence.

Believers in the US isolate themselves, most of the time, from evil.  Do we really think that if we turn off the news the evil happenings vanish?  We are not immune from it and it may get close to us.

I remember telling a group of middle schoolers in a suburban town that we were thinking of having them spend a week living in Boston (MA) and going to the Boston public schools.  I was just looking for a reaction and quickly got a “Not interested,” response.  It’s fear of what might happen.

Another look at these verses and the background to them and I noticed that the opposition to Jesus had lost all sense of hearing His side.  As with Stephen in Acts, the opposition to Jesus, in their own ways had their hands over their ears and were yelling as he spoke.

There is a significant push for apologetics these days.  I’m interested but many in our culture are “closed doors” to reasoning.  Try to picture one of the disciples reasoning with those yelling to crucify Jesus.  Maybe the guards could be persuaded to consider Jesus as someone to follow.  You’re kidding!  If I am going to share what I believe, I am absolutely certain that I must be directly led by God in doing it.  I need His timing.  I need His Words.

The folks involved with Jesus were going to do what Satan had told them to do.  They were also going to fulfill Scripture in the process.

I believe that God can turn evil into good.  I believe that we can get caught in the effects of the evils of others, BUT God is with us there.  He can rescue us or take us through it with Him.  We’re covered either way.

I must never forget that evil is in a world which includes where I am this second.

I need to remember that Satan hates God and will do what he can to discourage me from loving God.

I believe that Satan has in place zealots for his ways who are very determined and powerful.  They are out to get believers.  Sometimes they get the leaders (Bill Hybels) and other times it is those in the seats.

Recognizing/Resisting is an ongoing struggle.  I must be “armed and dangerous” in defending my love for God.  Peter abandoned Jesus entirely in the courtyard because he imagined the consequences being a follower would bring and forgot that God would have been with him in those consequences.

Conclusion: The forces of evil are present, and I must live in that awareness and react in ways that rightly represent God.

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