Theodor Seuss Geisel, known to the world as Dr. Seuss, became famous for writing children’s poems that were entertaining, easily understood, but contained a thoughtful moral. One insightful poem is “The Zoad In The Road.”
Did I ever tell you about the young Zoad?
Who came to a sign at the fork of the road?
He looked one way and the other way too –
The Zoad had to make up his mind what to do.
Well, the Zoad scratched his head, and his chin, and his pants.
And he said to himself, “I’ll be taking a chance.
If I go to Place One, that place may be hot
So how will I know if I like it or not.
On the other hand, though, I’ll feel such a fool
If I go to Place Two and find it’s too cool
In that case I may catch a chill and turn blue.
So Place One may be best and not Place Two.
Play safe,” cried the Zoad, “I’ll play safe, I’m no dunce.
I’ll simply start off to both places at once.”
And that’s how the Zoad who would not take a chance
Went no place at all with a split in his pants.
Decisions. They’re some times hard to make. Especially when you don’t have good values. And are not guided by righteous principles.
That was the case on the Friday Jesus was sentenced to die. The Roman Procurator, Pontus Pilate, is faced with the most difficult decision of his life. He’s in the presence of an innocent man. And he knows it. Matthew records his perplexity, when Pilate asks,
“What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?“
Pilate knew Jesus was not guilty of the trumped-up charges of treason and sedition by the Jews. In fact, John wrote that Pilate “sought to release him.“
After examination Pilate said, to the chief priests and rulers, “I have found no fault in this Man…he has done nothing deserving of death” (Lk. 23:13).
A second time he tried to reason with the crowd but to no avail. (Matt 27:22).
Final for a third futile time Pilate responded, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go (Lk. 23:32).
Pilate’s decision would have been easier if he had listened to the voices of reason. Or the voice of his own wife who warned him. It even seems the inner voice of his own conscience was telling him, “This is an innocent man!” And, of course, the voice of Jesus Himself affirmed it.
“You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (Jn 18:37)
But Pilate didn’t listen.
Instead he listened to the voices of public opinion. Voices of Envy. Voices of pride. Voices of position. And in the consternation and confusion of conflicting voices he was indecisive and sought a coward’s way out.
He first tried to ignore Jesus. But learned he couldn’t. Then He tried to shift the responsibility to someone else. But that didn’t work. In the midst of it all he even expressed his admiration for Jesus. But the crowd wouldn’t have it.
“They were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed.” So, in a futile attempt to remain neutral, he washed his hands of the matter.
“What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” Pilate’s indecision became a decision. One that undoubtedly haunted him until his dying day. In fact, in only three days, he learned he was wrong! The divine record doesn’t tell us, but I often wondered what Pilate felt when he learned of Jesus resurrection?!
And now almost 2000 years later, the question come to you. And me. “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?“
What voices will you listen to? Unreasonable voices? Critical voices? Doubting voices? Unbelieving voices? Intolerant voices? Foolish voices?
Or will you listen to the voice of Jesus? He says, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.“
Which road will you choose? What’s your decision? How will you answer the greatest question of all time?
–Ken Weliever, ThePreacherman