Tim's Blog
Drawn to the Cross
March 29, 2024
Resurrection Sunday is only 2 days away and I thougt it might be good to reflect on Jesus and the Cross.

We begin today by reading a couple of verses from John 12.  John 12:32, 33.
"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself."  This He said, signifying by what death He would die.
Now, as I read these verses I am struck by the need to understand.  Why would Jesus, being lifted up (on the cross) draw all peoples to Himself?  What attraction could this grisly means of death have that would draw men to Him?  What is its significance?   
We all know that Jesus died on the cross.  We know that He bore the penalty for our sins there.  We know that our sin was judged at the cross.  We know that the cross was a part of God’s divine plan from the very beginning.  But we still need to know its attraction.
Let me set the stage for you.  You will recall that Jesus was subjected to 2 mock trials.  The Jews had Jesus arrested in the Garden and taken Him before Annas and then to Caiaphas.  They had no witnesses that could agree.  Jesus had done nothing deserving of the treatment He received.   They slapped Him, bound Him and forced Him to stand before them to be judged.   Finally, in desperation, Caiaphas had Jesus swear under oath, “Are you the Christ, the Son of God? Jesus said, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”
With that the High Priest tore his clothes and all agreed that Jesus had to die!  These two trials were illegal – they ignored the Law and regulations for such courts.  That didn’t stop the Sanhedrin from forging ahead.
But they had a problem.  Under Roman rule, the Jews were not permitted to put anyone to death.  Only in the case where a Gentile went into prohibited places in the Temple was stoning allowed.  (There must have been a certain laxness about this rule in reality.  Remember the stoning of Stephen?  But the leaders of Israel certainly could not be a part of such a thing.)   The council’s only recourse was to petition Pilate to do the terrible deed for them.   So that is what they sought to do. 
It was early in the morning when they went to his house.  Perhaps they even awakened him.  We do not know.  But we do know that Pilate was not a friend to the Jews.  His animosity toward the Jewish people was an established fact.  Before we continue, let me give you a few facts about Pontius Pilate.
Josephus records that Pilate got started off on the wrong foot soon after he was appointed to office.  He decided to reverse a long-standing Roman policy and have his armies carry their standards – featuring Caesar’s likeness – into the city of Jerusalem.  Previous governors had refrained from bringing any ensign or emblems with Caesar’s likeness into the city because of the Jews’ deep conviction that all such images were idolatrous and in direct violation of the 2nd Commandment.  Pilate decided that is was time for the Jews to get into step with reality!  Rome was the ruler here, not the Jews! 
He ordered his soldiers to bring their standards into the city one night after dark.  The next morning all Jerusalem awoke to the scandalous sight of Roman soldiers bearing Caesar’s image.  The people were incensed.  A large horde of protesters traveled to Caesarea to confront Pilate.  Pilate refused to meet with them for 5 days.  Finally, he agreed to meet with them in the local amphitheater.  There he threatened that if they didn’t go home that he would have them all slain.  His soldiers surrounded them in a show of force.  Many of the people bared their necks and lay down in front of the soldiers.  
What do you do with a people like that?   Pilate was forced to yield and the standards were removed.
Pilate’s superiors were not happy with him and this only caused him to hate the Jews even more.  Other infractions resulted in the Sanhedrin threatening to contact Rome directly. 
Historian Philo writes, “Immediately, without putting anything off till the next day, Tiberius wrote a letter reproaching and reviling Pilate in the most bitter manner for his act of unprecedented audacity and wickedness, and commanding him immediately to take down the shields and to convey them away from the metropolis of Judaea to Caesarea.”
“Pilate feared lest the Jewish leaders might in reality go on an embassy to the emperor, and might impeach him with respect to other particulars of his government, in respect of his corruption, and his acts of insolence, and his rapine, and his habit of insulting people, and his cruelty, and his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never ending and gratuitous, and most grievous inhumanity.”
Needless to say, Pilate was not a friend of the Jews.   They despised him as much as he despised them.   Nevertheless, Pilate was first and foremost a politician.  We want to examine four questions that Pilate asked.
Question #1 - What is the Accusation?  (John 18:28 – 32)
Now, we must understand that Pilate had to have some previous knowledge of the accusations against Jesus.   After all, he had provided a cohort of soldiers to go and apprehend Him.  But Pilate was in no mood to be too cooperative with these Jews.
It is only logical that Pilate asked the question of the charges.  But the Jews weren’t too cooperative either.  “We wouldn’t have brought Him to you if He were not a malefactor.”  In the spirit of cooperation, Pilate told them to judge Him under their own law!
The conversation gets serious when they tell Pilate that they haven’t the authority to put a man to death.  In my mind’s eye I see Pilate’s countenance changing.
Luke 23:2 gives us the charges: “And they began to accuse him, saying, We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King.” 
Now we know, and the Jews knew, that Jesus was not guilty of these things.  He had not subverted the nation.  He had actually encouraged the people to pay their taxes.  And His Kingdom was not of this world. 
But they made their accusations anyway.
Christians have been accused of all kinds of things.  For some reason the world is afraid of the Christian.  I think it is because their loyalty is to an unseen Lord and they are not willing to compromise their faith for their nation or any other force.  That frightens them.  There are absolute truths, and the Christian is not willing to compromise on those things that are clearly right and wrong.   We tend to see things in black and white not in shades of gray.  And this frightens the world.  The world wants to enjoy itself in relativism and in fulfilling its own evil desires.  The Christian conscience hampers their enjoyment!
Unfortunately, the conclusions of the world are often like those of the Jews – unfounded and driven by their own jealousy!
Question #2 - Are you the King of the Jews?  (John 18:33-38)
As governor of Judaea, Pilate would certainly have been concerned about the claims that Jesus was a king.   That’s what he questioned the most.  He probably already knew that these other accusations were false.   Matthew writes that Pilate knew that the Jews were jealous of Jesus.
Jesus didn’t look much like a king.  His simple clothing would have been soiled and rumpled by now.  Perhaps His face was bruised by the slapping.  Are you the king of the Jews, Pilate asked?    Jesus replied with a question of His own.   “Are you saying this on your own initiative or did others tell you about me?”  Pilate showed his contempt with his reply – “Am I a Jew?” 
After Jesus had explained that His Kingdom was not a political state, Pilate was relieved.  There was no basis for executing this man.  But Jesus said that He was born and came into this world to bare witness to the truth. 
In this statement He claimed two things: first His humanity (He was born), second His deity (He came into this world.  This assumes His preexistence.)
Pilate didn’t care about these things.  He just wanted to make sure that Jesus was not the insurrectionist that the Jews accused Him of being.
What is truth?  Sadly, Pilate stood face to face with the Truth and he didn’t even recognize Him!
Notice Pilate’s conclusion: “I find in Him no fault at all.”  There is no reason to execute this man.  He had done nothing deserving of death.
In a sense, I believe that Pilate was apathetic about the Truth.   And so are many people today.  You present the truth to them and they don’t care.  They shrug their shoulders and say “well, that’s okay if you want to believe it, but I don’t care.   I might get around to church and Jesus and all that stuff someday, but right now I am having a good time!”
Question #3 - Shall I release the King of the Jews (John 18:39-19:7)
Pilate was between the proverbial rock and a hard place.  The Jewish leaders didn’t like him and he didn’t like them.  He didn’t want to cooperate with them, but they had already shown that they would go over his head if he didn’t.  If he was to have any kind of political future, he had to resolve this problem.
What to do?  A custom of the day was that a prisoner would be released to the people in honor of the Passover.   Pilate was sure that Jesus was popular and that there would be overwhelming support for His release.   What a surprise it must have been when the people demanded the release of the criminal Barabbas.
Somewhere along here Pilate’s wife sent word to him that he should have nothing to do with that innocent man.  She had been bothered by a dream and she feared what might happen.  This only caused Pilate to become more agitated.
What next?  Pilate had Jesus scourged.  Scourging actually resulted in death many times and was the precursor to crucifixion.   The victim was stripped and then nearly hanged from a pole by his hands.  Usually two soldiers would then start whipping the victim with the scourge.  It was a gruesome punishment.  Many times the flesh would be so torn that the muscles, bones and even internal organs were exposed.  Perhaps if the people saw that, Jesus would not have to be crucified.  Pilate was trying to play both sides of the fence – like most politicians!
Taking their cue from Pilate, the soldiers did their worst as well.  They plaited a crown of thorns and crammed it down on His head.  They put a purple robe on Him and mocked Him and hit Him with their hands.  They pulled His beard out.  It was hideous and shocking and I daresay most of us would lose our lunch if we witnessed such a sight!
Pilate hoped to appease the bloodthirsty Jews, but to no avail.  “I find no fault in Him.”  Pilate wanted to release Jesus.   He even had the authority to do so.  He could have done what was right, but because of political expediency he did not!
The Jews didn’t let up.  By our law, He should be put to death!  Because He claims to be the Son of God! 
Question #4 - Where are you from?  (John 19:8-15)
This scared Pilate.   In his pantheistic world, it was believed that the gods sometimes came into the world and interacted with men.  Hercules is one example.  What if Jesus was one of these?  If Pilate did what the Jews wanted him to do, wouldn’t the gods hold him accountable?
So Pilate went back to Jesus.  I see him as very agitated now, perhaps a little pale because of fear.   “Where are you from?”  Jesus had already told him.  “He came into the world.”  He was deity. 
Jesus didn’t answer.  Pilate became angry and threatened Jesus.   Pilate’s power comes from above – the greater sin is Caiaphas’ and the others.
Pilate wanted to release Jesus, but he could not convince the Jews.  The Jews played their final trump card.  “If you let this man go, thou art not Caesar’s friend: whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.”
I can almost see Pilate shaking now.  With fear and frustration and anger.  These Jews had him boxed in. 
He brought Jesus out to display Him.  He was arrayed in a purple garment.  Blood was running down His face, dripping off His hands, perhaps puddling where He stood.  He would be pale from the shock of the scourging, even unsteady and weaving on His feet.  His face would have been battered and bruised, blood running from His nose and split lips.  His eyes swollen shut.  A pitiful sight!  Unrecognizable.
Behold your King!  “We have no king but Caesar!  Crucify Him!” they said.
Pilate was stumped.  He had no other choice.  Take Him away!
John 19:16-18 says, Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away.  And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center.”
So Jesus was indeed lifted up from the earth.  And for over 2,000 years all peoples, that is, all races and nations of people have been drawn to Him.   When Paul preached, it was Christ and Him crucified.  Of all the things we could teach about Jesus, why is it this one thing that draws men to Him.
Let me quickly give you two reasons:
The crucified Christ draws men to Himself because Christ crucified meets the first, the deepest, the greatest and most fundamental need of man.
What is that need?  Salvation from the guilt of sin.  Romans 3:23 says that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  Every man of every race is a sinner and every man shall have to answer for his sin.  Mankind needs an atoning Savior.  Jesus lifted up is the only atoning Savior in the universe.  No other religion on earth provides that!  None!  Just Christianity!
R.A. Torrey writes, “Jesus, Jesus only, Jesus lifted up on the cross, Jesus crucified for our sins, making full atonement for our sins, He and He alone meets the deepest need of us all, and so His cross draws us all unto Himself.”
The crucified Christ draws men to Himself because lifted up there to die for us He reveals His wonderful love, and the wondrous love of the Father for us.
1 John 3:16, By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.”
Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Nothing draws men like love.  There on the cross, the love of God is demonstrated to us, and it compels us, it draws us to Him.

You know, Jesus did not come down from the cross.  He could have.  He could have called legions of angels to His defense.  He didn’t.  Instead He chose the cross and there He willingly gave His life for you and for me!
We know the rest of the story.  He died there, was placed in a borrowed tomb and rose again on the third day.  Easter morning the tomb was found empty for the grave could not hold Him. 
Pilate was the governor of the land.  He had the authority to reject the Jews accusations.  He admitted more than once that Jesus was innocent of any wrongdoing.  He should have dismissed the charges and released Him.  But He didn’t.  He didn’t reach the right answer to his own question.  
What shall I do with Jesus?
That is the most important question facing us today.  What shall we do with Jesus?   Do we ignore Him?  Do we deny Him?  To do so will result in everlasting damnation!
Or do we accept Him as Savior?  Do we trust Him and obey Him?  Do I allow Jesus to impact every part of my life?  Or do I become a Sunday morning Christian who doesn’t really allow Him to become the Lord of my life?
Just what shall you do with Jesus? 
Jesus said, "And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself." 
Have you been drawn to the cross of Jesus? 
What are you going to do with this Man, Jesus?
Philip & Katie Hewitt Join BEM
February 05, 2024

Barnabas Enrichment Ministries is pleased to announce new missionaries on our team that bring with them new opportunities for BEM to serve God’s people and His church!

Philip & Katie Hewitt have officially joined our team of qualified servants and are available to assist churches in some very special ways.   Philip will be serving as our Technology Advisor to Small Churches, offering technical support to the Lord’s ministry and people with, but not limited to, computers, networks, A/V and streaming. Philip is available for phone consultation, online diagnostics and in-person support. Give him a call for your technology needs!

As with all of BEM’s ministries, this service is offered at no cost!  We only ask that you prayerfully consider what the Lord would have you give to enable the Hewitts to serve others.

Let us introduce you to this very special couple…  

Philip and Katie met as teenagers in their church’s youth group, dated for 2 years and were married in 2005. They have served faithfully in many areas of their local church since that time. They have four children, who Katie homeschools. She also actively serves in their homeschool co-op. Having trained in the field of IT, Philip has worked in that capacity for the past 14+ years.

Early in 2023, God began moving in Philip and Katie’s hearts to seek out full time vocational ministry. Having spent the past many years honing his skills in the world of IT, Philip naturally began exploring how he could use those talents to serve the Lord.

Through prayer and counsel, the Hewitt’s concluded that God was clearly leading them to pursue a ministry with BEM. With a desire to serve the local church, they will be providing technology support services.  Growing up as a Pastor’s son and being involved in the technology aspect of the church from a young age, Philip understands that technology can be a great tool to enhance a church’s ministry. He also understands that it can become a detriment when it fails to work properly. Philip’s desire is to assist small churches in the development and maintenance of their technology needs so that they may effectively reach the lost with the gospel.

Philip is available to help you and your church with any immediate needs you or your congregation currently have.  As Philip and Katie serve churches, they are also raising support with a desire to assist as many ministries as possible.  Please pray for them and give them a call!

Philip & Katie Hewitt
1106 Mallard Dr.
Bristol, IN 46507-8844
(574) 304-4251
Email: phewitt.bem@gmail.com


Let's Talk About Joseph
December 24, 2023
I received the following article in an email.   I cannot remember when I got it, nor who sent it to me, but I thought it relevant today.   So, I want to share it with you:


The forgotten participant in the drama of Christmas is Joseph. He played the role of father in Jesus’ life. God gave him an important assignment as husband, father, teacher, provider, and protector. He was present at Jesus’ birth. We are assured that he was admired and loved by this ideal Son.

We have very little biographical information in the Bible about Joseph. He never wrote a book. He traveled only a few miles from his birthplace all of his life. He was out of his little country only once, and that was to take his child to Egypt to preserve his life. He was not well educated, and he made his living at carpentry. Not a word he spoke is recorded in the Scriptures. He drops out of the picture when Jesus is twelve years of age, and we never see him again. In all likelihood, he died while Jesus was young, and this eldest Son succeeded him in the carpenter shop.

Dr. John Claypool told of a young man named Mike who was taking drama lessons. The climax of the year was a play in which all the pupils participated. Mike was visibly disappointed when he was assigned a "bit part." He had only three lines, and they were close to the end of the play. His father told how he and his wife sweated through two hours until the time came for Mike’s part. Summing up the lad’s performance, the father said, "He said his lines — not too soon, not too late, not too loud, not too soft, not too fast, not too slow — he said his lines just right."

The father left the play thinking, this is a parable of my life. I am just a bit player in the great drama of history. But when the curtain comes down and the stage is vacant at last, I hope it can be said of me, "He said his lines — not too soon, not too late, not too loud, not too soft, not too fast, not too slow — he said his lines just right."

This can be said of Joseph, "He said his lines just right." Can it be said of you and me?

I hope this story causes you to think about your life and the testimony that is yours.

Sandy, all the BEM staff, and I, want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year!   

May you say your lines — "not too soon, not too late, not too loud, not too soft, not too fast, not too slow — may you say your lines just right."

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