This morning we continue our journey into this year, focusing on making “Intentional Progress.” I shared six steps to intentional progress with you, and I will continue to walk through them over the next few months. Here are the six steps.
Here are the steps again:
3. Wait/Discern God’s Timing
4. Execute/Measure Progress
5. Wait/Faith & Patience
6. Receive When Harvest Time Comes
In this series, we have sought to glean life lessons from Jesus. We looked at John 5, 6, 8, 12, and 14-18. We are now in chapter 19. We will look at verses 10-13 today, from two translations.
(John 19:10-13 ERV)
10 Pilate said, “You refuse to speak to me? Remember, I have the power to make you free or to kill you on a cross.”
11 Jesus answered, “The only power you have over me is the power given to you by God. So the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
12 After this, Pilate tried to let Jesus go free. But the Jewish leaders shouted, “Anyone who makes himself a king is against Caesar. So if you let this man go free, that means you are not Caesar’s friend.”
13 When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out to the place called “The Stone Pavement.” (In Aramaic the name is Gabbatha.) Pilate sat down on the judge’s seat there.
(John 19:10-13 TPT)
10 Perplexed, Pilate said, “Are you going to play deaf? Don’t you know that I have the power to grant you your freedom or nail you to a tree?”
11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me at all, unless it was given to you from above. This is why the one who betrayed me is guilty of an even greater sin.”
12 From then on Pilate tried to find a way out of the situation and to set him free, but the Jewish authorities shouted him down: “If you let this man go, you’re no friend of Caesar! Anyone who declares himself a king is an enemy of the emperor!”
13 So when Pilate heard this threat, he relented and had Jesus, who was torn and bleeding, brought outside. Then he went up the elevated stone platform and took his seat on the judgment bench—which in Aramaic is called Gabbatha, or “The Bench.”
So what does this mean for you today? A few things.
1. What God has for you is for you!
In John 19, we see that Pilate knew Jesus had not done anything wrong. After pulling Jesus aside and talking to Him one-on-one, Pilate felt like he could not go through with having Jesus killed. He knew he would have innocent blood on his hands. After talking to Jesus, the Bible says, “From then on, Pilate tried to find a way out of the situation and to set him free.” But then, the Jews, who were deadset on having Jesus killed, threatened the governor. They told Pilate that he would be reported to the emperor if he allowed Jesus to go free. The Bible says, “So when Pilate heard this threat, he relented and had Jesus, who was torn and bleeding, brought outside.”
— When you are supposed to go through a challenge on the road to your destiny, then even when people try to help you get you out of it, they will be forced to push you into your purpose.
— People will try to help you, but when you are supposed to go through a challenge, their help will fail.
I will use the situation with Joseph and his brothers as an example. The Bible says, “Reuben planned to save Joseph and send him back to his father” (see Genesis 37). But this plan failed. Why? Because Joseph was supposed to wind up in Egypt. Way back in Genesis 15, when God was telling Abraham that He was giving him land, the Lord said, “You should know this: Your descendants will live in a country that is not their own. They will be strangers there. The people there will make them slaves and be cruel to them for 400 years. But then I will punish the nation that made them slaves.” (verses 13 & 14).
My point is that God had already told Abraham that his people would wind up in Egypt, that they would eventually wind up as slaves, and that 400 years later, He would lead them out. Joseph was the link between Israel and Egypt. God used Joseph to get Abraham’s descendants into Egypt, and 400 years later, He would use Moses to lead them out. That was basically revealed to Abraham before it all happened.
In the case of Jesus, 700 years earlier, God had already shown Isaiah that Jesus would be crucified for our sin. 700 years BEFORE it happened, Isaiah was translated to the foot of the cross. It was so real to Isaiah that He wrote about it in PAST TENSE. Think about that for a moment. Isaiah documented something, 700 years before it happened, in PAST TENSE, like it was already done. Isaiah said, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5).
Here’s my point. When Rueben wanted to save Joseph and bring him back home, his plan failed becuase Joseph was SUPPOSED TO wind up in Egypt. Pilate wanted to help Jesus get out of the cross, but he couldn’t because Jesus was SUPPOSED TO die for our sin. And there will be people in your life that try to help you get out of stuff that someway, somehow, you still wind up facing. Why? Because you are SUPPOSED TO!
— There are some things you can’t get out of because they are supposed to be part of your story. So embrace it all, good and bad, as part of your life.
— Sometimes God will keep you FROM IT, and other times God will keep you IN IT. Either way, His grace is on you to succeed.
— Think about your life. Think about the situations that you were facing that you tried to avoid. As much as you tried, and as many people tried to help you, you still wound up going through it because there was something in the experience that you needed in order to become the man/woman you are today. Just know that if God wants you to avoid it, He will shift you around it. But if God needs you to go through it, then no matter how many people try to help you avoid it, all their plans will fail. What God has for you is for you. That applies to blessings! Praise God for that. But that also applies to the challenges designed to help process you to handle the blessings!
— Don’t run from every challenge. Sometimes God needs you to go right through it, knowing that His grace is on you to succeed.
— God will use the plots, plans, schemes, and attacks of the enemy against you and cause them to work out for your good. Do you know why? Becuase God is God, and His ways are far above our ways!
Say this, “What God has for me is for me!”
2. God is working in your life, even when it does not look like He is working.
When you look at the life of Joseph, and you think of all the “hell” he went through with his brothers, Potiphar’s wife, and in prison, you would not know (from the outside looking in) that God was working in every stage of his life preparing him for his destiny.
When you look at the life of David, and you think of all he went through with Saul, living as a fugitive and living amongst the enemies of Israel, you would think that he had done something wrong. But all he did was accept God’s call to be the next King of Israel. At David’s lowest point, he lost everything he had, and everyone he loved and his men turned on him. He cried until he ran out of tears. But God was actually with David every step of the way. God was working, even when it did not look like He was working.
When you think of the life of Elijah and how he said it would not rain and it did not rain for 42 months. After that period, he returned and had a showdown on Mount Carmel. It was 1 (Elijah) vs. 450 prophets of Baal. But since God was with Elijah, he won the showdown, and all the prophets of Baal were killed. You would think this was Elijah’s highest point in life, but soon after that, Elijah was tired, afraid of Jezebel, and he wanted to die. He was battling thoughts of suicide. Thankfully, God restored Him and reassured him that He was with the prophet every step of the way. Elijah was so special in God’s eyes that God did not allow him to die. He took him to heaven on a chariot.
When you think of the life of Paul, People think of the man who wrote over half the New Testament, went on four missionary journies, and was a Pastor of Pastors. However, what many don’t remember is the fact that Paul was raised as Saul of Tarsus, he persecuted Christians and had them killed, he was converted on the road to Damascus, and he had to spend three years in exile, learning how to hear from God, before he could start his ministry. Once his ministry started, Paul faced all sorts of challenges.
Giving his testimony, Paul said, “I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.” (2 Cor 11:23-27).
Guess what? God was with Paul every step of the way.
My point here is that God is always with you. Things may not always work out the way you want them to, but God is with you every step of the way. God was with Joseph in prison, He was with David in the cave, He was with Elijah when he wanted to die, He was with Paul in prison, and He was with Jesus, as Jesus was being sentenced to death. God is working, even when it does not look like He is working! I hope that reassured you today. Find peace in knowing that God has not turned His back on you, and He never will!
3. Your confidence must be in God and not in man.
In one moment, Pilate was confident that He would let Jesus go. In the next, Pilate buckled under the pressure of the Israelites, and he ushered Jesus into his death. My point is that your confidence must be in God and not in man.
This reminds me of something that happened to Joseph while in prison. God used Joseph to interpret the dreams of the butler and the baker. Both men worked directly for Pharoah. When the butler and the baker left the prison, on their way back to Pharaoh, Joseph knew the butler would get his job back, and the baker would be killed. God revealed that to Joseph, so he was confident it would happen just as God said. It did. However, God did not say anything to Joseph about the butler being his key to getting out of prison. While God did not say it, Joseph sensed it. He put his hopes in the butler. He said, “Don’t forget about me! Tell Pharaoh about me so that I can get out of this prison.“
I can see Joseph in prison. Can you see him? He is getting ready. He has prepared for this day for years. He can barely contain the excitement. He knows that somehow the butler is his key to get to the king and the king is somehow his key to God’s dream. He does not have all the details (because God won’t give you details), but he believes it is going to happen. So he OPENS his heart to it. He raises his expectations. He gets his hopes up. He removes all the safeguards he had placed around his heart. This was it! This was the time! He felt like God was going to do it! He could picture himself walking out of prison and walking into his destiny. And then… the butler forgot about Joseph.
The butler got his job back, just like Joseph said. The baker was killed, just like Joseph said. But once the butler got his life back, he forgot about the man God used to usher him back to his position, and Joseph was left “holding the bag.”
There will be moments when people tell you they’re going to help you, and then because of external pressures or their own decisions, they change their mind. People will flip-flop on you like Pilate did with Jesus. People will say one thing to do something else. But in the end, your confidence needs to be in God. If you keep your eyes fixed and focused on Jesus, and you remember that God is the one who is moving pieces around the chessboard of your life. Then whether people deliver on their promises or not, you will be just fine because your confidence was never in man, your confidence in God.
Say this, “My confidence is in God and God alone!“
Declaration of Faith:
Father, my heart is open to Your best. I know You have great plans for my life. I know You placed greatness is IN ME! I live my life in a tireless pursuit of the manifestation of Your plans and purposes. As I do, I refuse to get out ahead of You. I will not attempt to make things happen unless You are leading me. I will wait patiently and confidently on Your timing. I will not move until You say, “Go.” When You open the door, I will walk through it to SAY and DO whatever I am led of Your Spirit to SAY and DO. As I go, I know Your grace is on me to succeed. My confidence is in You and You alone. You started Your work in my life, and I know You will finish it before I die because I am submitted to You in all things. Along the way, I know people will let me down. I know I will be disappointed more times than I want to remember. But despite flaky and phony people, and despite challenging times, I know You are working, even when it does not look like You are working. You are with me every step of the way, which is why I boldly declare that GREATER IS COMING FOR ME! I declare this by faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
This is Today’s Word! Apply it and Prosper.