Practical Devastation of Our Old Humanity (continued)
What An Opportunity This Man Had
In the high place of religion you come from Caiaphas and move over to Pilate. Pontius Pilate! What an opportunity this man had. Oh, what has history said about Pilate? We do not think of Pilate without some feeling of disgust. Pilate, who had the opportunity of humanity in his hands, and what is he doing? Well, you say, he is vacillating, he is moving from one foot to the other; he may at times seem to be rocking but all that speaks of weakness - inability to come right down one hundred percent on one foot and make his full and final decision, trying to pass it over to someone else to make the decision, trying to shed the responsibility ... but why? Why? - he represents a time server. That is it! - Caesar's favor, Caesar's ability to further my worldly interest: "If I take this line, then all my worldly interests are in jeopardy; my prosperity in business, my good standing with the authorities, those who have it in their power to further my interest." He is a time server, and Pilate goes down in history as the man who handed Jesus over to be crucified from his own inability to make a decision in His favor. "Take Him, you take Him; I have said, I find no fault with Him, but you take Him and crucify Him." The weakness of what?- the awful tragedy of a divided heart, the main feature and factor in which is: "How this is going to effect me and my interest." That finds us out all the way along.
You see, that was the battle that Jesus Himself fought in the wilderness with the devil. The devil was saying how it would effect You if You go the way that You have decided to go, how it would effect You: "You want the kingdoms of this world, You take the line of compromise." That was Pilate - what an exposure of what is in man.
Wanting to Have
We hurry on and come nearer, nearer to the center of the circle, we come to Judas Iscariot. You can not use that word, that name now, can you, without a frown, almost a sneer. "Judas" - when you want to say the worst thing that you can say about anybody, you say: " - he is a Judas." It started somewhere in a very simple way, it started in a day when either the Lord Himself (Who knew what He was doing, mark you) or the other disciples, said to Judas: "Look here, people will give us gifts to help us along, we have to have somebody to look after the gifts. Judas, you, you have the bag."
A simple beginning, but what happened? Being in that position drew out something that was deep down in that humanity. Perhaps not even Judas knew it, but this drew it out. You know the end. A man who again goes beyond the point of return and recognizes at last that he has been betraying the Lord. Everything was put in his way of glory, the heavenly order; and there is nothing else to do but to take his own life.
What has been exposed? What is it in this humanity that is down there in the root of things and comes up and up if only given an opportunity? I heard Dr. Campbell Morgan once say in preaching that we are capable of anything if only we have the opportunity for it. That is searching. What is come out? Covetousness, that is all. Wanting to have; and my friends, while you shrink from the name Judas, be careful, this is in us all, even in the work of the Lord. Covetousness to be recognized, to be given opportunities of service, wanting for ourselves even in the things of God. As disciples, the root may be there - this wanting to have, to make ourselves something. Covetousness, which the Word says is idolatry. The Cross will discover what is in us; it will bring it out. Well, that is Judas.
(continued with # 11 - (A Man Who Did Not Know Himself)