There is a story about a man who was concerned about what he felt was his wife’s loss of hearing. So, he decided to test it out one day while she was seated, doing some work. The man went behind her and from two separate distances called out “Can you hear me”? There was no reply on either occasion and he determined that her hearing was really bad. He finally came within earshot & once again called out, “Can you hear me”? His wife, sounding rather irritated said, “Yes John, for the third time, I can hear you”! The problem was not with his wife’s hearing, but his own hearing!
Today, many people are troubled because God does not seem to be speaking to them anymore. However, God has never stopped speaking. The problem often is that we are either not listening or identifying His voice.
Proposition: God still speaks to us in different ways.
We are in the holy week and I would like to base my message around a central character of that period, Pontius Pilate. In the final days before and after Jesus’ crucifixion, God spoke to Pilate in many ways, but he refused to listen or open his heart to the Lord. Let me share 5 ways in which I believe God spoke to Pilate, and He still speaks to us in similar ways.
1) God spoke to Pilate through his spouse
(Read Matthew 27:19)
His wife had a troublesome dream and she sent word to him saying, “don’t have anything to do with that innocent man.” She also mentioned that she had “suffered a great deal” because of the dream, but Pilate didn’t listen.
Even today, God speaks to us often through our spouses, who are the closest to us. But, are we listening? Or are we too proud to heed the guidance given through them? Many are the times I have had to humbly accept that my wife seems to have clearer guidance on certain important matters than me!
2) God spoke to Pilate through a dream
(Read Matthew 27:19)
This thought was partly covered under point 1 because it was his wife who had the dream. But the dream was eventually communicated to Pilate.
God often spoke in dreams and visions in the scriptures to men like Joseph, Jacob & Solomon. The Christmas story is also filled with dreams and visions. He is still speaking today in the same way.
Pilate didn’t listen. What about us as we approach Good Friday?
Illustration: The famous ‘Macedonian Call’ came to the Apostle Paul in Acts chapter 16 in a nighttime vision (dream). As a result many cities heard the Gospel, because Paul was obedient to the visionary call!
3) God spoke to Pilate through creation
(Read Matthew 27:45)
On the eventful day of the crucifixion, darkness came over the whole land (Mark 15:33). The curtain of the temple was torn in two, the earth shook and the rocks split (Matthew 27:51). The heavens shut its eyes and the earth started to groan. Yet, Pilate refused to listen.
God still speaks to us often through His majestic creation. Refer 1 Kings 18:43-44 & 2 Samuel 5:22-25. Let’s also remember that the wise men were led to the Lord Jesus in the Christmas story through a part of His creation, a star.
The Bible is full of scripture that shows that creation honors and speaks for God because He is the only Creator (Psalm 19:1). Are we listening? Pilate didn’t.
Illustration: It is said that Carl Boberg, a Swedish man, was once on some pastoral work, when he was interrupted by thunder and a storm. After the rain, as he noticed the beauty of God’s creation around him, he apparently wrote his thoughts down in a poem which was later translated from the original Swedish language to German and Russian and then into English by missionary Stuart Hine, who it is said added some lyrics of his own. Music was added and the song became one of the greatest hymns of all time, specially after Beverly Shea began to sing it at the crusades conducted by Billy Graham. Some of the words are as follows,
O Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the works Thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder
Thy power throughout the universe displayed
Then sings my soul my Savior God to Thee
How great Thou art //
4) God spoke to Pilate through the Centurion
(Read Mark 15:44-45)
When Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body, Pilate was surprised that Jesus was already dead. He therefore, summoned the centurion and inquired whether Jesus was already dead. The centurion confirmed it.
This centurion was the same man who in Mark 15:39, made the exclamation, “surely this man was the Son of God!” when he saw the way in which Jesus died on Good Friday. In all probability, he would have communicated his thoughts to Pilate.
Similarly, God speaks to us today through the testimony and inspiration of people who have experienced or seen His power in their lives. But, are we listening? Pilate didn’t.
Illustration: I remember one occasion when I was battling what seemed like a huge crisis in my life. At our Sunday evening service, a gentleman who was a very shy and quiet person, spoke out a prophetic word that was exactly for the situation I was in. As I received God’s assurance through this brother’s words, God began to work and everything changed within a couple of weeks!!
5) God spoke to Pilate through Jesus
(Read Matthew 27:11)
Jesus’ words, His composure, His authority, spoke to Pilate. Refer John 18:36-37, 19:11 and 1 Timothy 6:13. Matthew 27:14 says that Pilate was amazed. Pilate was also convinced that Jesus was innocent (Matthew 27:18 & 24, Luke 23:4). In fact, he was so convinced that he made an inscription in three languages that testified that Jesus was indeed the King of the Jews (John 19:19-20). However, he didn’t take heed to Jesus’ words.
Even today, the surest way that God speaks to us is through His Son, the Word of God (Hebrews 1:1-2). The Word is revealed through the Holy Scriptures and any other revelation we receive should always be in harmony with the Word of God.
When was the last time the Word of God spoke to you?
From the above 5 points, we see the different ways in which the Lord spoke to Pilate. He can still speak to us in similar ways today. Let’s open our hearts and ears so that we may hear His voice when He speaks.
Speak my Lord!