Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I urge you in the sight of God who gives life to all things, and before Christ Jesus who witnessed the good confession before Pontius Pilate. (1 Timothy 6:12-13)
The Confession Of Christ Jesus
Pontius Pilate was procurator or governor of Judea during the days of Jesus. He wielded the might of the Roman army against the people of Jerusalem and surrounding community. Little is known of Pilate in history but his place is forever marked in the annals of divine writ as the one who delivered Jesus to be crucified. The Jews brought Jesus before the court of Pilate seeking the Roman execution to crucify the man from Nazareth. Pilate found no fault in Jesus and was determined to release Him but the crowd dissuaded his efforts. During His interrogation of the Christ, Pilate told Jesus it was within his power by Roman law to kill or release Jesus. The Lord was unafraid of the threats of Pilate and boldly declared His Kingship with His Father. Jesus told Pilate the power that delivered Him to the Roman court was greater than Pilate himself and the Father was ruling in all of the affairs of men. This was a bold statement from a lowly Jewish son of a carpenter to a Roman ruler. Jesus was not afraid of Pilate and the whole of the Roman Empire even though the Lord knew the outcome would be death on a cross. The scene of Jesus shackled before the elite of Roman power in Jerusalem is a remarkable contrast of the futility of man and the power of God. Standing before the creation was the Creator declaring His trust in the work of His Father. There was nothing that Pilate could do that would change the will of God in allowing men to crucify His only begotten Son. Everything that happened that day was in the divine will of God’s scheme to redeem men – including Pilate – from the darkness of sin.
Jesus showed great courage the day he faced Pilate and the power of Roman law. It may be easy to think of the Lord as doing what He had to do because He had to do it. Paul reminds us of the great faith Jesus had witnessing the good confession before Pilate. The Lord knew what would happen if He kept the will of His Father. At the beginning of His ministry Satan had come to Jesus and offered Him an easy way to glory. The temptation to take the path of least resistance was a powerful tool used by the devil to attack Jesus. Before Pilate the temptation to deny His Father was increased with the dread of scourging and crucifixion. Jesus made His confession before the Roman despot and courageously died as His Father willed. The apostle Peter had earlier denied the Lord when he was challenged. What a contrast in the weakness of men and the courage of the Son of God to withstand the threats of Pilate.
Timothy had to learn how to fight against the temptations to weaken in the presence of persecution. Paul exhorted him to fight the good fight of faith because there was going to be a fight. The world is opposed to righteousness and truth. Those who desire to live godly in an ungodly world will be persecuted. Without the courage to stand for righteousness, the soul will fall prey to the weakness of denial. Jesus made the good confession before Pilate because He was unafraid of what Pilate could do to Him. The Lord understood the plan of His Father and was willing to suffer for a moment to receive the reward that was eternal. He laid hold on eternal life – not the momentary affliction of the cross. Faith strengthens the heart to know that what happens here is nothing compared to what is coming there. Confessing Christ is proclaiming allegiance to the will of the Father in the face of ridicule, chastisement, threats and mockery because faith is built upon the love of God regardless of the threats of men.
Confessing the good faith before others is letting Jesus live in our lives every day. No one who is a child of God should ever be ashamed of others knowing they are a Christian. Courage fills the hearts of those who stand where Jesus stood and make the good confession. God is the one who gives life to all and He is the Creator, Maker and Sustainer of the world. It is by His power the world exists and He holds the breath of man in His hand. Trusting in His love and power affirms in the spirit of man that nothing that happens in this world will be as great as the glory to be received by those who hold fast their faith to the end. Jesus is the example of great courage and faith as He faced the cruel hand of the cross. He is our pattern to follow that even if we must face a cruel hand of persecution – our faith will stand with Jesus. Let our voices blend with His in declaring our trust and devotion to serve the will of the Father. Let no man be ashamed to suffer as a Christian. The world must hear our voice.