THE QUESTION THAT SETTLES DESTINY(1)
There was a young man one time who lived in the Western States. He had never done anything very wrong. But one day he was playing a game of cards and he lost his temper. Picking up a revolver, he shot his opponent and killed him. He was arrested and tried. Finally he was sentenced to hang. But because of the wonderful life he had previously lived, his relatives and friends got up a petition for him. It seemed as though everyone wanted to sign it. Before long other towns and villages heard about it, and people all over the State eagerly signed the petition. At last it was taken to the governor, who was a Christian, and tears came to his eyes as he looked at the large baskets filled with petitions. He decide to pardon the young man, and so, writing out the pardon, he put it in the pocket, and then, dressed in the garb of a clergy-man, he made his way to the prison. As he approached the death cell the young man sprang to the bars. “Get out of here.” He cried. “I don’t want to see you. I have had seven of your kind already. I had enough religion at home.” But, said the governor, “wait a moment, young man, I have something for you. Let me talk to you.”
“Listen,” exclaimed the young man, in anger, “If you don’t get out of here at once, I’ll call the guard and have you put out.” “But, young man,” exclaimed the governor, “I have news for you, the very best. Won’t you let me tell you about it?” “You heard what I said, respondent the young man,” responded the young man, “and if you don’t leave immediately I’ll call the warden.” “Very well,” replied the governor, and with a sad heart he turned away and left. In a few moments the warden approached. “Well, young man,” he said “I see you have had a visit from the governor.” “What!” cried the young man? “Was that man dressed in the garb of a clergyman the governor?” “He was,” replied the warden, “and he had a pardon in his pocket for you, but you wouldn’t even listen to him.” “Get me pen, get me ink, get me paper,” cried the young man. And sitting down he wrote, “Dear Governor I owe you an apology, I am sorry for the way I treated you…” and so on. The governor received the letter, turned it over and wrote on the back, “No longer interested in this case”.
The day came for the young man to die. “Is there anything you want to say before you die?” he was asked. “Yes,” said the young man. “Tell the young men of America that I am not dying for my crime. I am not dying because I am a murderer. The governor pardoned me. I could have lived to the governor’s offer.” My friend, if you are lost it will not be because of your sins, it will be because you will not accept the pardon that God offers you through His Son. For if you refuse Jesus Christ, what can God do? You are turning down your one and only hope of salvation. In 1892 Wilson and Porter were sentenced to be hang for robbing the U.S mails. Porter was executed but Wilson pardoned. He refused his pardon and Chief Justice John Marshall of the Supreme Court handed down this decision. “A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which deliver is essential, and delivery is not complete without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom is tendered; and if it is rejected, we have discovered no power in a Court to force it upon him.” The responsibility, you see, rests upon you. If you would not accept God’s pardon, if we neglect (or reject) so get salvation?” (Heb. 2:3).
Pilate put it this way: “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ t?” (Matt. 27:22). That the Question that Settles Destiny. Again and again he had tried to save Jesus. Then despair he brought out Barabbas, and, standing Jesus and Barabbas side by side, he turned to the multitude and asked the question, “Whether of the twain will ye then I release unto you, Jesus or Barabbas?” Incited by the priests, they answered, Barabbas! Barabbas!” then came Pilate’s question, “What shall I do then with Jesus? You have chosen Barabbas, Jesus is still on my hands. I have yet to deal with Him. I must do something. What shall I do?” Pilate, you remember, tried to shift the responsibility first of all he told the Jews to take Him and judge Him but they answered: “We are not allowed to put a man to death and this man is worthy of death.” Then hearing that He was of Herod’s jurisdiction, I sent Him to Herod. But Herod quickly sent him back. Finally, in desperation, he called for a basin of water and washed he hands before the multitude, as if to say “I am no longer responsible and I wash my hands of the whole matter.”
There is legend told of Pilate. He is in the lowest depths of Hades he is washing his hands in a basin water. Every now and again he lifts them up and looks them, but they are covered with blood. Again he plunges them into the basin of water and vigorously washes them in an effort to wash off the stains. Once more he holds them up before him, but still they are crimson with blood. Then in a voice of anguish he cries out, Will they never be clean? Will they never be clean? No, Pilate, your hands will never be clean, for they are stained with the blood of the Son of God. Suppose I could summon Pilate to me now. Suppose I could command him to stand by my side on this platform I wonder what he would say? For Pilate is alive, remember Pilate has been alive for all these centuries. For moment than nineteen hundred years he has been thinking of what he did when Jesus stood before him. He never can forget. He always will remember. His brain is still active. What, I ask, would he say? Ah, but for Pilate it is too late. It would make no difference, he could never be saved. He has made his eternal decision. But for you there is still time. You are yet in the body. You may still decide what you are going to do with Jesus, and your whole eternity depends on your decision.
Only two alternatives: There are only two alternatives. You must either accept Jesus Christ or reject Him. “But,” you say, “I can be neutral. I do not have to take sides. I am not going to accept Him, but at the same time I am not going to reject Him.” Listen, I have a gist for you in my pocket, but I do not tell you anything about it. Hence, you can be neutral. The moment, however, that I take it out of my pocket and offer it to you, you are bound to make a decision. You can no longer remain neutral. Before you ever heard anything about the Lord Jesus Christ offered you had to make a decision. And from that day to this, you have never been neutral, nor can you ever be neutral again. Every time you hear the invitation you will make a decision. If tonight you do not accept Jesus Christ, then you reject Him. It is either one or the other. You may remain in your seat and make no move whatever. But by that very act you show that for tonight at least you reject Him. Which is it to be? Are you going to reject Him again, or will you right now accept Him as your own personal Saviour? It is for you to decide. Have question, you may call: 08033399821 or write: [email protected] Stay blessed.
Written By Dr. Lewis Akpogena