I invite you to track with our church through the month of February as we read the book of Nehemiah…
Nehemiah is the Old Testament narrative history of God’s people in the time of Nehemiah as they under Nehemiah’s leadership they came out of Babylonian captivity (which had lasted 70yrs) and rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem thereby restoring life back to the capital city of the Promised Land.
As we read the book of Nehemiah it’s important to know the context. God’s people had repeatedly sinned, and although God had told them through many of the OT prophets that if they don’t repent from their sin He would punish them – they continued in their sin.
Eventually God judged their sin by exiling His people to Babylon, however God’s justice is restorative because God is just and God is love. He is not one or the other but both always.
Because of this, God’s plan was to redeem His people, and so God promised through Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29:10-14) even before they went into exile that He would restore Israel to the Promised Land after 70yrs of exile.
In the book of Nehemiah we witness that restoration starting as a group of people under Nehemiah’s leadership return to broken down Jerusalem and begin to rebuild the fortified wall that was so essential to the restoration of normal life in Jerusalem.
Through the book we will discover that a work of God like this requires good leadership who will follow God, requires people who follow God’s leaders, and people who have faith. We learn that restoration will often not be easy and we learn that doing what God wants often faces tough opposition.
Finally, we learn that restoration is not just a physical thing but ultimately is about our restoration back to right relationship with God!
As you read the book this month, my prayer is that you’d grow in your knowledge God and His ways. May you grow as you read the testimony of these God followers and their journey of redemption challenge and restoration.
Jesus’ trial before Pilate oozes truth about Jesus’ true identity and His purpose on the earth.
“I find no guilt in him” (18:38) – Pilate said.
And yet, he released the real criminal, the sinner.
And so Barabbas walked free, a fore-runner of you and me!
Yet the innocent One was condemned – all of our gospel story.
Pilate had Jesus flogged by soldiers, they mocked Jesus mercilessly.
Jesus was silent just as had been prophesied (Isaiah 53:7)
Pilate then repeated same verdict two more times; “I find no guilt in him”! (vs4&6)
Dripping with irony, Jesus is accused of claiming to be exactly who He was – God! (vs7)
Pilate then questions Jesus again and lectures Jesus on authority!
Jesus replies; “You would have no authority over me unless it had been given to you from above.” (vs11)
Pilate shivers in his boots & tries to release Jesus again having found nothing wrong with Him, but the Jews revolt…
Pilate pronounces the truth about Jesus to those present, “Behold your King!” (vs14)
But Jesus is rejected by the Jews again, they don’t want Him as king they want him dead.
Pilate re-checks with those present, proclaiming truth as he does; “Shall I crucify your King?” (vs15)
Blasphemously they cry out; “We have no king but Caesar!” (vs15)
And so Jesus was condemned to die by crucifixion.
Pilate, God’s agent in the moment states the truth again as he inscribes on the cross; “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” (vs19)
The Jewish officials try to get Pilate to change the wording to soften it’s meaning
Pilate would not budge; “What I have written, I have written.” (vs22)
Jesus, King of all kings, came to die in our place for our sin, the Lamb of God, the suffering servant, He the sinless One was bound so we could be freed, He was crushed for our iniquities and the punishment that God put on Him paid the way for us to be forgiven, His death and resurrection gave you and me life! Behold your King!