Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“A third time Pilate said to the mob…‘Why, what evil has He done? I have found no crime deserving death; I will therefore chastise Him and release Him.’ But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that He should be crucified. And their voices prevailed…”
Luke 23: 22-23
The air outside this morning is breezy and much cooler than the heat which I felt yesterday. My Bride, Lynda, was a bit frustrated with me. She seldom gets angry with me, although yesterday would have been an appropriate opportunity to do so. But then later in the day, she intercepted me as I was about to cautiously step around her in the family room and reached up to give me a big hug and a reassuring and forgiving “I love you.”
Her voice has always been a fresh cool crisp morning breeze in my life. It has been a voice of encouragement, love, and Godly wisdom throughout our many years together. Mixed in with an occasional annoying driving lesson, house cleaning or “what to wear” tip, or a reminder of something I was supposed to do a week earlier, Lynda’s voice has overwhelmingly carried messages of importance, love, support and significance which have carried me through the most difficult days of my life.
There have been other voices, too. Good ones, as well as bad ones trying to beckon me to the ways of the world. But of those other good ones which have encircled me with encouragement through the years, it has always been her voice, day after day, that has steadfastly and consistently proven to be the most closely attuned with the will of God for my life. Her voice has demonstrated an unwavering integrity of wanting what was best for me—amidst the lure, glamour and destruction of a world of voices tempting to detour me from the path that God has set before me to become all He intends for me to be. Her voice has been the one that has always offered the best path, the most Godly path, for me to travel.
The lure of voices.
They’re always around us. And it seems the louder they are, the more the allure to them. They often come with their own agendas—not necessarily what’s best for us. They are the squeaky wheel. The angry mob. They are the voices appealing to ambition, power, wealth, revenge, lust, greed, pleasure, selfishness, and appeasement. Men, women, young adults and children succumb to them. Celebrities and “role models” succumb. Church leaders succumb. Married couples give in. Politicians, too. Parents succumb, and then look around later and wonder why their children do.
Pilate gave in and sent Jesus to die on the Cross. He could have listened to the voice of his wife, who pleaded with him “don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of Him.” While Jewish leaders were clamoring for His death, a Gentile woman, Pilate’s wife, offered a voice of truth.
He could have listened to his own voice. Pilate knew that Christ was innocent. “I find no basis for your charges against Him,” he proclaimed. Or, he could have listened to the voice of Jesus—“Yes, it is as you say”—He answered in response to Pilate’s question “Are you the King of the Jews?”
But the voices of the mob still prevailed over Pilate. Of course, it was all part of God’s plan—Pilate couldn’t change it—but the lesson for us, of which voices we listen to, is a lesson critical for us today and in the days ahead in the living of the rest of our lives.
We have all heard them before, the voices reflecting the ways of the world, the way of ease and entitlement, temptation, comfort and security, self-indulgence and self-preservation, the way of destruction.
“Go ahead, no one will ever know.”
“It’s only one time…who will it hurt?”
“Your job is at stake, you better do it.”
“But, Mom, everyone else is doing it.”
“Compared to what others are doing, this is nothing.”
“You’ll never get re-elected unless you vote this way,
or unless you demonize your opponent with that campaign ad.”
But while the enticing lure of those voices swirls around our heads, the quiet voice of Truth remains clear.
And in just a few days—Good Friday—we will remember again that voice of the One who hung on the Cross for us. It’s a voice—thank God—that will never leave us—
“Yes, it is as you say…
I am the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords…
I am the way and the truth and the life.”
That steady voice of hope and character, of courage and right is always present, quietly directing us toward the path of that transforming power available to each of us because of what He did for us on the Cross and then three days later when He rose from the tomb. The voice of the Risen Christ. We remember it all again this week as we head toward the heartache of Good Friday and then on to the hope of Easter Sunday three days later.
What voices do you hear? What voices will you follow? The voices pointing to the ways of the world? Or will you follow the quiet, steady voices of encouragement and peace, power and hope—those voices pointing to a better way for the rest of your life. Quiet voices, like my Bride’s, which I hear even when she isn’t speaking, and which daily echo the Voice of the One who calls each one of us today and every day to a life of courage, right, love, eternal fulfillment, significance and hope.
The Voice of Jesus Christ. Or the voices of the world.
The voice is clear—and the choice is ours.
In His Name—Scott