What Shall I Do With Jesus Which is Called Christ?
April 6th, 1993 @ 12:00 PM
WHAT SHALL I DO WITH JESUS WHICH IS CALLED CHRIST?
Dr. W. A. Criswell
4-6-93 12:00 p.m.
The series is entitled “The Five Great Questions of the Bible”: yesterday, Am I My Brother’s Keeper?; tomorrow, What Must I Do to Be Saved? ; Thursday, My God, My God, Why? ; and on Friday, the day that our Lord was crucified and was buried, If A Man Die, Shall He Live Again?; and today, What Shall I Do with Jesus Who Is Called Christ?
Reading from the twenty-seventh chapter of the Book of Matthew, beginning at verse 15, Matthew 27:15:
Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to releasing to the multitude a prisoner, whom they wished.
At that time they had a notable prisoner, called Barabbas.
When they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, Whom do you want me to release? Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?—
then verse 20—
But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitudes that they should ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.
The governor answered and said, Which of the two do you want me to release? They said, Barabbas!
Pilate said to them, What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ? They all said to him, Let Him be crucified!
Then the governor said, Why, what evil has He done? They cried out the more, Let Him be crucified!
When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just Man.
And all the people answered, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.
And that is a curse that follows those people to this day. No matter how you do, or how you turn, or how you try there is tragedy upon those people.
His blood be on us and on our children.
Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.
And the question that Pilate asked, “What shall I do then with Jesus who is called Christ?” [Matthew 27:22].
What shall I do with His words? They said, as they listened to Him, “Never a man spake like that Man!” [John 7:46]. The words our Lord said are astonishing. Take just one sentence from John. He quotes the Lord as avowing, very emphatically written, egō I, eimi am, hē hodos the way, kai hē alētheia the truth, kai hē zoē the life. Very emphatically written, “The way, the truth, the life.” Then He added, “And no man cometh to the Father, but by Me” [John 14:6]. Our Lord avowed, the only way to heaven, if you want to see God when you die, the only way is through Him [John 14:6]. His words? What shall we do with His words?
What shall we do with His life? Never a life even approaching the incompulous, miraculous days of our Savior. Our Lord pointed Him out, “This is My Son in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him” [Matthew 17:5]. And all of those miracles confirmed the heaven-sent Messenger named Jesus [John 10:38]. What shall I do with His life?
What shall I do with His death? “This is My blood of the new testament, shed for the remission of sins” [Matthew 26:28]. What shall I do with the death of my Lord?
And what shall I do with His glorious resurrection? “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and I have the keys of Hell and of Death” [Revelation 1:18].
Down every road, wherever we may turn, there do we meet the form and figure of this lone Galilean, this strange Nazarene. He looks at us, wherever we turn, whatever fortune in our life; He looks at us. He looks us at us from His cradle in Bethlehem [Matthew 1:20-2:1], where God was made man, and where the Lord humbled Himself to be counted as one of us [Philippians 2:8]. He looks at us from the Horns of Hattin, where He delivered His Sermon on the Mount, the ethical foundation of the kingdom of God [Matthew 5:1-7:29]. He looks at us from the Mount of Olives weeping over the sins of a lost world [Luke 19:41]. And He looks at us from the cross [Matthew 27:32-50]. Great God, to pause in the presence of our dying Lord, crucified for our sins [1 Corinthians 15:3]. He turned and looked upon Simon Peter, and Simon went out and wept bitterly [Luke 22:61-62]. Who could but be moved in his deepest soul, looking at Jesus on the cross? Thus, it is in the hours of the day, and in the quiet of the night, we meet our Lord.
And what shall we do with Him? Pilate washed his hands [Matthew 27:24], “I will have nothing to do with Him. I rid myself of Him.” And we can do that, and so many do just that. “I don’t want Him. I’m not interested in Him. I wash my hands of Him. I am rid of Him. I am no in anywise a devotee of the Lord Jesus. I am passing Him by. I am forgetting Him.” So the Lord goes out of the life and out of the heart and out of the love and out of the devotion of these who reject our precious Savior. Then He is gone. Then, the little child dies. And the grieving heartbroken mother said, “Just one last time could I curl her hair? And just one last time, could I dress her little body for the casket?” And she sits down by the side of that silent little form and weeps. And her husband, the father, stands there, not knowing what to say or where to turn. And they call for me! They ask for me! Great God, what shall I say and what shall I do? If I only had my Lord, He who said, “Suffer the little children to come unto Me, forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” [Matthew 19:14].
“If only I had Jesus.” But we have spurned Him, and passed Him by, and washed our hands, and are rid of Him. And we face the hour of infinite tragedy and sorrow alone. What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ? [Matthew 27:22]. We rid of ourselves of Him; then the rains come and the floods rise and the storms beat and my house is destroyed. Every hope I ever entertained is vanished. Every dream and goal I ever sought to achieve has faded from sight. My life is a shambles. Oh, God, where shall I turn, to the east, to the west, to the north, to the south? Where can I find someone to help me in my despondency and in my despair? He said, “In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” [John 16:33].
Great God, His voice is still. I have refused Him. I have rid myself of Him. I have washed my hands of the Lord. And I face the failures and despondencies of my life alone. What shall I do with Jesus when I have passed Him by? What do I do with my sins and my shortcomings and my derelictions and my failures? To whom can I turn in my abject derelictions? I may seek the gods of this world for help. How do they help in my need and distress and darkest hour? The god of money, the god of success, the god of fame, the god of fortune, the gods of this world, how empty they are!
I one time heard of a rich, rich man who lay dying. And he was obsessed with his hands, with his hands. His wife called his best friend through the years and said to him: “Jim, come and speak to my husband. He’s obsessed with his hands and I can’t dissuade him.”
The friend came and sat by the side of the dying man, and spoke to him and said, “Your hands, there is nothing wrong with your hands.”
And the dying man said, “Jim, great God, look, they are so empty!”
When we give ourselves to the gods of this world, there comes a devastating vacuity and emptiness in our lives. “What shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?”
The shadows fall and I am forced to admit that my life has come to its end. My life is no more than the autumnal leaves blown by the wind, no more than the derelict blown on the surface of the sea. My days are numbered.
When the silver cord is broken, and the golden bowl is broken, when the pitcher
is broken at the fountain, when the wheel is broken at the cistern, when man goes to his long home, and the mourners go around and about the streets [Ecclesiastes 12:6, 5b], what of me? What of me? My life has come to an end! Great God, how I need the Lord, He who said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die” [John 11:25-26]. But I have passed Him by. I have washed my hands of Him. I have no interest in Him. I have rid myself of Him, and I face death and darkness alone.
What shall I do with Jesus in the great, final day of the judgment? “It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment” [Hebrews 9:27]. When the lightning of God’s anger flashes through the heavens and rends them to pieces; when the thunder of God’s righteousness darkens the planets themselves; when the sea is on fire and the very heavens are curled up in smoke; and I stand in the presence of Almighty God and the book, the book is opened, the Book of Life [Revelation 20:15], and God pores through that volume seeking my name, and I have passed Him by. And I say, “O God, You don’t understand. Great God in heaven, listen, listen.” And the Lord says to me, “You have all eternity to explain.” And I begin those excuses. “O God, You don’t understand. O God, I was too busy. O God, I was enveloped in the world. O God, I had the wrong friends. O God, I was misled.” And He closes the book, lost forever, I have passed Him by.
Then the books, plural, are opened, the books of our works, and we are judged according to the works by which we fail to honor God, and I am cast away into damnation and judgment [Revelation 20:12-15]. Great God, what of me in that final day when I stand in the presence of the great Judge of all the earth [Genesis 18:25], and I have passed by my Savior?
What have I done? What has happened to me? I have allowed somebody to take my hope away and my life. I have allowed somebody to take my sun out of the heavens and, not knowing, carry with it all of the stars of hope and glory. What have I done? Jesus I’ve passed by, and with Him, every dream and every hope and every function, every sun every star everything sweet and precious, my church, my heaven, my all in all, I’ve said, “No.” to my Lord.
What shall I do with Jesus? [Matthew 27:22]. This is what I shall do. I shall come to Him and kneel in His presence. I shall look up into His face. I shall open my heart. I shall take Him as my hope and my Savior [Romans 10:9-13]. I shall give Him my life. I shall love Him and praise Him forever and ever [Revelation 5:13, 7:12]. Like that Negro spiritual, I’m looking to the Lord Jesus and asking Him to stand by me!
When the storms of life are raging,
Blessed Jesus stand by me;
When the world is tossing me
Like a ship upon the sea,
Thou Who rulest wind and water,
Stand by me.
In trial and tribulation,
Stand by me.
When the host of hell assail,
And my strength begins to fail,
Thou Who never lost a battle,
Stand by me.
In the midst of faults and failures,
Stand by me;
When I do the best I can,
And my friends misunderstand,
Thou Who knowest all about me,
Stand by me.
. . .
And when I’m growing old and feeble,
Stand by me;
When my life becomes a burden,
And I am facing tragic journey,
Oh, Thou Who opens the door of heaven,
Remember me, Stand by me.
[adapted from “Stand by Me,” by Charles Albert Tindley, 1905]
What shall I do with Jesus? [Matthew 27:22]. I open to Him my heart. I give Him my life [Romans 10:9-13]. I invite Him to be my Friend and Companion through every step of the way, and I look forward to the triumph when I see Him face to face [Revelation 22:3-4]. Loving our Lord Jesus, bless you in your devotion to Him.
Now may we stand together? Our Lord in heaven there’s no one of us in this pilgrimage but that shall know sorrow and tears and disappointment and trial and heartache. It is then that Jesus is doubly dear, doubly near, and doubly precious. Oh, Christ, make us all God would have us be, in hope, in glory, in heaven with Thee and one another, praising our Lord world without end, in whose precious name we pray, Amen.
SHALL I DO WITH JESUS WHICH IS CALLED CHRIST?
I. What shall I do with God’s
presentation of Him?
With His words? (John 3:18, 36, 7:46, 14:6, Luke
With His life?(Matthew 17:5, Luke 19:10)
With His death? (Mark 15:39, Matthew 26:28)
With His resurrection? (Revelation 1:18, John
II. Wherever we turn, whatever we do,
there we meet the figure and form of Christ
A. He looks at us from
His cradle in Bethlehem
B. He looks at us from
the horns of heaven
C. He looks at us from
the Mount of Olives
D. He looks at us from
the cross (Luke 22:61-62)
III. What do we do with Him?
A. Pilate washed his
hands (Matthew 27:24)
B. We get rid of Him,
pass Him by, forget Him, reject Him
IV. If only I had Jesus
the child dies (Luke 18:16)
the rains descend, the floods rise and the storms blow(John 16:33)
I face failure, despondency, have lost my way
When the evening shadows fall(Ecclesiastes
12:5-6, John 11:25-26)
When I face the judgment (Hebrews 9:27)
V. What have I done, and what shall I do?
A. I have allowed
someone to steal my hope, my life