Taking Your Advice (Matthew 27:17–26)
Advice for every aspect of life abounds. Not all of it is good or even makes sense. For example, baseball legend Yogi Berra once said, “When you get to a fork in the road, take it.” Huh?
In 1998, Marriage Partnership magazine offered some practical advice for married couples:
- Don’t hog the blanket.
- Husbands, think twice before complimenting your wife’s best friend on her new hairstyle.
- Wives, decide not to describe, in excruciating detail, every plot twist in your day.
- Stop fiddling with the thermostat.
- If you get up first, don’t sing in the shower.
- Don’t leave nail clippings anyplace but in the wastebasket.
The problem with good advice is that sometimes we don’t take it. That was the case with Pontius Pilate, Judea’s Roman governor, as Jesus stood before him, waiting for judgment. Pilate had the authority to set Jesus free, and he knew the charges against the Jewish rabbi were bogus. However, the crowd clamored for blood, and Pilate feared their reaction if his judgment went against their desires. If anyone needed advice, it was Pilate.
Enter Mrs. Pilate. While Pilate sat on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him a message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him” (Matthew 27:19).
But Pilate didn’t heed his wife’s advice. In a display of supreme indecision, Pilate let the crowd decide Jesus’ fate. When people clamored for Jesus’ death, Pilate washed his hands, symbolizing his own innocence in the matter.
The Bible doesn’t say much about Mrs. Pilate, her dream, or the reason why Pilate disregarded her advice and let the crowd decide Jesus’ fate. Even so, God used Pilate’s cowardice as part of his plan to bring about Christ’s death on the cross, which provided the only means of our salvation.
Giving and taking advice has its merits and dangers. In marriage, it’s wise to listen to a partner’s advice but wiser still to test it against Scripture. Is there a Biblical principle for or against what’s being proposed? Are there examples from Scripture that are helpful?
Besides holding advice up to Scripture, praying through a matter can give spiritual insight to a decision. If we bring our decisions to God in prayer—as a couple and as individuals—we can be sure God will guide us and provide us with the tools we need to make good decisions.
Taken from NIV Couples’ Devotional Bible
All Hostile to God
And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death. (Colossians 1:21-22)
The best news in all the world is that our alienation from God is ended and we are reconciled to the Judge of the universe. God is no longer against us but for us. Having omnipotent Love on our side mightily steels the soul. Life becomes utterly free and daring when the strongest Being is for you.
But Paul’s whole message of salvation is not good news to those who reject the diagnosis in Colossians 1:21. He says, “You were formerly alienated and hostile in mind.”
How many people do you know who say, “I am hostile to God in my mind”? People seldom say, “I hate God.” So what does Paul mean that people were “hostile in mind” to God before they were reconciled by the blood of Christ?
I think he means that the hostility is really there toward the true God, but people do not allow themselves to think about the true God. They imagine God to be the way they would like him to be, which seldom includes any possibility that they might be in really serious trouble with him.
But concerning the God who really is — a God who is sovereign over all things, including sickness and calamity — we were all hostile to him, Paul says. Deep down, we hated his absolute power and authority.
That any of us is saved is owing to the wonderful truth that the death of Christ obtained the grace by which God conquered our hearts and caused us to love the One we once hated.
Many are still learning not to be hostile to God. It is a good thing that he is gloriously patient.