What Shall I Do With Jesus? by Aimee Semple-McPherson
“WHAT shall I do with Jesus?” Clear and imperative rang out the voice of Pilate above the clamor of the throng assembled in the Judgment Hall.
“What shall I do with Jesus?” The question was flung forth over the mob of frenzied, upturned faces.
Fair and square, demanding an immediate, decisive answer, this question of momentous importance resounded through the court room, and hung suspended in the tense, tragedy-laden air. From the murmuring sea of anger-tossed accusers was born a mighty, unquenchable tempest of bowlings and ragings, while dark faces grew darker still with blood-thirsty fury against the still, calm figure standing so meek and sweet in his robes of flowing white.
It was Jesus — this pure, mild man, standing there friendless and alone in the midst of this howling rabble. How out of place He looked — like a tall, sweet, fragrant lily in the midst of thorns and briers; like a pure little lamb in the midst of a pack of hungry wolves, with bared fangs. Dear Lamb of God, innocent, and unresisting, before the great judgment seat of Pontius Pilate he stood, awaiting the verdict of those arrayed against Him.
“What shall I do with Jesus?” What decision would they render upon this question — this momentous question — this greatest and most important question that has ever been decided since the world began? There were only two possible ways of answering — only two courses of action open: there was no neutral ground, for had He not declared that
“He who is not for Me is against Me”? Either they must accept Him as the King of Heaven, Jesus, their Saviour, or they must crucify and drive Him away from their hearts. Either they must accept Him as their Messiah, their Redeemer, or they must reject and put Him to an open shame.
Louder, and with ever increasing determination, rose and fell the cry of the people;
“Away with Him! Crucify Him! Crucify Him! We have no King but Caesar.” They had rendered their decision, their choice had been made; they had given their irrevocable answer, and had dedetermined to crucify and put their Lord to an open shame.
Harsh hands fell upon the gentle Nazarene, and rushed Him from the court. Mercilessly did they tear His garments from Him, and bared His precious back to the smiters. He meekly bore the cruel lash — to the last, stinging blow — that by His stripes we might be healed. A crown of thorns was thrust down upon His brow; a purple robe put upon Him in mocking derision. He was led to Calvary’s Hill, bearing His cross, and crucified by cruel men.
They crucified their Lord; they gave Him vinegar and hyssop to drink; they spurned and rejected Him to the last. And He bowed His head and died — He who would have gathered them to His bosom — He who would have been their King, and have taken them up to reign with Him on His throne.
Pilate’s Judgment Hall — the very name calls to memory that shameful scene, and our hearts cry out:
“How cruel, how foolish those Jews were to reject and crucify their Lord — to let Him stand there on trial alone, with no one to accept Him and stand on His side!”
Yet, did you ever stop to realize that the border of Pilate’s Judgment Hall has been enlarged and its walls have widened and widened, till today this whole world is a judgment hall — Jesus is still on trial, and the Spirit is echoing and re-echoing the question:
“What will you do with Jesus?”
The whole world is obliged to answer this question, as did the Jews of old. Each living soul, irrespective of race, color or creed, must take sides either for or against Jesus. There are — today as in that day of old — but two courses of action open. Each heart must answer individually and definitely whether he, too, will cry:
“Away with Him! Crucify Him.” Or whether he will open his heart’s door and let Him enter as King of Kings and crown Him with love and allegiance.
Perhaps some reader cries out in horror:
“Oh! We would never crucify Jesus — we would never think of driving the nails in His hands!” But consider a moment, dear one. If you have not accepted Him as your Saviour from all sin and unrighteousness, if you have not come to Him in repentance and had the blood applied to your heart, you have done just that — crucified your Lord afresh and put Him to an open shame. Remember he who is not for Him is against Him — neutral you cannot be.
Each time you go out of a meeting unsaved; each time you go to bed unrepentant; each new day the sun rises and finds you unprayerful, unthoughtful of your soul’s salvation, you are crying out:
“Away with Him! Away with Him!” O, perhaps you do not say it in words. But actions speak louder than words, and even though your mouth may speak much love, if you have not unconditionally surrendered your heart and life to Him, and permitted Him to rule on the throne of your heart, you are unconsciously answering the question —
“What shall I do with Jesus?” by saying:
“Away with Him! Crucify Him! I have no king but self and the world; I want my own way. Away with Him! Away with Salvation.” And another voice is added to the throng rejecting Jesus.
“In what way am I saying ‘Away with Him’?” you ask.
Why, can you not realize, dear unsaved soul, that every step you take — every foot-fall that resounds along the corridors of time, apart from Jesus — every step towards worldiness in sin is crying out, louder than you could ever speak;
“Away with Him; I choose the world; I have no king but self.” Each time you put off Salvation and say:
“Not tonight,” you are adding another thorn to the crown which you are making of your life and placing it on His dear brow.
We are all making a crown for Jesus out of these daily lives of ours, either a crown of golden, divine love, studded with gems of sacrifice and adoration, or a thorny crown, filled with the cruel briers of unbelief, or selfishness and sin, and placing it upon His brow.
Each new day lived in holiness unto the Lord; each new sacrifice of praise, is just another gem in the royal diadem with which the Christian is constantly crowning the King who sits supreme on the throne of his heart.
Each new day lived in sin and indifference to Jesus is just another thorn, another cruel brier the sinner’s life is weaving into the crown he is placing upon the brow of the friend and King he has rejected and driven away from his heart.
Then they put upon Him a purple robe, crying, “Hail, Jesus, King of the Jews,” and smote Him with their hands. Many today are still living lives of hypocrisy, mockery and pretence; many are putting upon Jesus a purple robe of outside formality; they go to church and sing “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” but by their lives they smite Him with their hands.
And He, bearing His cross, went forth unto Golgotha, and there they nailed Him to the cross. The great, rugged cross was stretched upon the ground, and Jesus’ dear body stretched upon that cross. O, sinner, behold that man — the Son of God — with the kind, resigned, tender eyes, waiting to be nailed there for your sins: See those rough, heavy hands seize the nails and place them to the palms of Jesus’ hands. Hear the great, ringing blows of the hammer, as the nails are driven deep — crunching through flesh and sinew and bones — deep into the wood of the cross for your transgressions. Dear hands — hands that had fed the multitude — hands that had blessed the children, healed the sick, raised the dead — faithful hands that are knocking at your heart’s door just now as you are reading these very words — they nailed them to the cross. It was your sins, and my sins that nailed Him there. Are you still pushing His hands away from your life, and piercing them with nails of scorn, and unbelief, and pride?
Then they drove the nails through His feet — the feet that had traveled so many weary miles to bring hope and cheer and light — and He was lifted up high on the cross, up and up, suspended upon those cruel nails till at last the cross sank with a thud into the hole that had been digged for it. And there He hung, the King of glory, between earth and heaven, in shame, alone, for us.
Sinner, dear, how high you have lifted Him in open shame — others have seen you reject Jesus! O, won’t you receive Him just now as your Saviour? Will you not love Him who first loved you?
See that beautiful face, more marred than the face of any other man. Hear His cry:
“Lo, I thirst! Give me to drink.” They offered Him vinegar and hyssop — the bitterest of their hatred and unbelief. But ah! He thirsts for the sweetness of their love and adoration and acceptance. What are you giving Jesus to drink — sweetness or bitterness? — love or rejection? Our lives are as a sponge, either absorbing vinegar and hyssop from the world and the devil, or sweetness and fragrance and the water of life — from Jesus and His Word.
Jesus is calling anew today:
“Lo, I thirst!” Dear one, what have you to offer Him today from your life — acceptance or rejection?
Jesus cried: “Father, forgive them; they know not what they do.” Oh, sinner, it does not seem possible that you could have realized what you were doing in refusing to accept Jesus, and persisting in crying;
“Away with Him! Crucify Him!” Perhaps you never quite realized that you were crowning Him with thorns, and crucifying Him afresh, and that he who is not building up for Him is tearing down.
What will you do with Jesus today? How will you answer this eternal question? Jesus is standing before you awaiting the verdict. You must judge; you must render your decision, for or against — Jesus or the World, Life or Death. Judge, and choose ye this day, for soon this whole scene will be changed forever. The sinner will be removed in a hurry from his judgment seat, and Jesus will mount the judgment seat to judge the nations. The graves shall be opened, the sea shall give up its dead, and all the dead, both small and great, will stand before Him whom they have judged.
Everything will then be quite reversed. Instead of it being a question of “What shall I do with Jesus?” the question confronting each sinner will be, “What will Jesus do with me?” In that great day those who have accepted Jesus and made Him ruler in their lives, will be accepted of Him and sit with Him on His throne, but all those who have rejected Him, and cried:
“Away with Him from my life, I have no time for Jesus,” will be rejected then by Jesus. He will Himself echo the sinner’s own words;
“Away with him; ‘depart from Me, I never knew you.’ Depart into the home prepared for the devil and his angels.”
Those who gave Him to drink of the sweetness and wine of their love will drink anew with Him the wine of His Father’s Kingdom, but those who gave Him naught but rejection, and the gall of bitterness, must drink the cup of their own sin and death to the dregs.
What will you do with Jesus? O, accept Him now; seek Him whilst yet He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Put away the evil of your doings; cease to do evil; learn to do well; wash you; make you clean. Accept Him as your Lord and Saviour just now. He is calling you who are weary and sick with sin; seeking you in tenderness. He is whispering; Come unto Me all ye who are weary and, heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Him that comcth unto Me I will in no wise cast out. Today is the day of Salvation; tomorrow it may be too late, for He is coming soon to earth again, coming with power and great glory. Get ready to meet Him.
Aimee Semple-McPherson (October 9, 1890 – September 27, 1944), also known as Sister Aimee, was a Canadian-American Los Angeles based evangelist and media celebrity in the 1920s and 1930s. She founded the Foursquare Church, and was among the first to bring the relatively new Pentecostal movement to the forefront. She is considered to be one of the first “celebrity” pastors, and had a broad appeal among the social elite in Hollywood and around the world.
Today, she is a viewed by many as a divisive figure, even among Pentecostals. The fact that she was a woman is a problem for many, and her pair of divorces are even more problematic. However, God blessed her ministry in many ways, and the Foursquare Church continues to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. Sister Aimee is one of the most intriguing ministers in modern church history. Whether you have a favorable opinion of her or not, her effectiveness for the Kingdom of God cannot be disputed.
For more from Semple-McPherson, you can visit her author page on our site.