20 Mar 2016
Hebrews 1Peter 3:18 The Trials Pastor Jason Lim 20 March 2016 Did you know Jesus went through 6 trials before he was sentenced to the Cross? Ever wondered how the sinless Son of God could be judged as guilty? Get the biblical view in this narrative sermon today. Slides Audio **Right Click to Do
Did you know Jesus went through 6 trials before he was sentenced to the Cross?
Ever wondered how the sinless Son of God could be judged as guilty?
Get the biblical view in this narrative sermon today.
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If you here with us for the first time, you are joining us in the third sermon in our five-part series, in what we call a journey through the Passion Week - a journey from the “Table” to the “Tomb”. We began this series 2 weeks ago when we looked at the table. This is the last meal that Jesus would share with His disciples. It was a “love feast” as it were, where Jesus showed His love in such clear ways for His disciples.
But from the Last Supper on Thursday night, Jesus would then go to the garden of Gethsemane when we see, secondly, the “Tears”, tears of agony, tears of struggle to surrender to the will of God as He faces unspeakable sufferings the very next day on the cross. So this is about midnight and you know that Judas, one of the apostles of Jesus has gone to hatch his plan to betray his master.
Now legions or groups or large numbers of soldiers are gathered at Gethsemane to apprehend Jesus in order to sentence Him to death. So we come to the third sermon, which is what we are going to look at today. The “Trial”. The trial of the Lord Jesus Christ. Before Jesus is going to the cross, He will be tried, tried in a court of law, so that He may be seen as guilty, so that the hands of men who sentenced Him to the cross will be seen as clean.
But you'll realise, this trial is a totally unjust and an unfair one. This trial would take us from maybe a couple of hours after midnight all the way to a couple of hours after dawn. It takes more than six hours, this trial and maybe it's a surprise to some of you. It is not just one trial. It is a succession of six trials.
Now many of us have read the Bible. You have read Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the four Gospels that give us the four perspectives, four angles into the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. And you would have realised that when these four writers write, they write in particular angles. Some of them emphasise some details to the neglect of others. The others will write about another angle with some details that the others don't cover. So when you read the four Gospels, one by one, you may think that's all there is to it. But when you put the four together to harmonisation of the four accounts, you will have a fuller picture.
Now that's what I experienced when I look at this subject on the trial of the Lord Jesus Christ. It seems very simple when you just read Matthew, it seems very simple when you just read Mark and Luke and John, but when you put all of them together, you realise, this trial is a succession of six trials.
First three trials were before the Jews. The next three trials were before the Roman court. So, first three Jewish trials, next three Roman trials.
Now today's sermon is going to bring you through the six trials. Today's sermon is not quite our usual, in that there is not a lot of exposition going on. But there is going to be more narration going on, just to bring you through this overview of what happened to Jesus from midnight all the way to early morning before He goes to the cross at 9 AM. And I hope as you look through these trials you would see the gross injustice done to Jesus and you will appreciate why He had to go through it all. Well, these trials, as I have said are very unjust, unfair - it makes a mockery, really, of their own legal processes in those days.
You say, what are their legal processes like. Well, let me say some of the things that are clear and some of the things that they clearly violate. For example, number one. No arrest for capital crime can take place at night. So if someone you feel or you suspect is guilty of a crime that would require death as punishment, you don't capture him at night, you arrest him in the day. But in the case of Jesus, of course, this is neglected. He was arrested at night, past midnight to be exact.
Trials were not to be held during feast time. This is the time of feasting, the Passover and so on. Again this is a violation. How else is this unfair? Trials were not to be held at night. The courts do not open at night. Usually it's to be done in a daytime. Everybody's fresh, awake, alert. But Jesus was tried at night. Judges are responsible to investigate charges but not raise charges. So someone else, a witness will have to raise that charge and brings the case before court for trial and now, the judge investigates it. Not that the judge raises the charge and also investigates the charge. But again, in the case of Jesus, they didn't follow this. The accused is to be given representation. In other words, the accused has a right for an attorney, a defence, a lawyer. Jesus was given absolutely none throughout the six.
The accused was not to be asked self-incriminating questions or bring accusations against himself. So who is to bring the accusations? Well, witnesses. People who suffer are to call this to trial. But Jesus was asked many times. Are you guilty of this? Did you do this? And so on and so forth. Every member of the court was to vote individually. It's like a jury. When it comes to the High Court, everyone in that board or in that counsel is to vote, whether guilty or not. And usually you are to vote from the youngest to the oldest, so that the oldest who wields greater influence will not influence the younger.
But in the case of Jesus, they were getting a consensus by acclamation, not by one-by-one. And then again, a night had to pass before a death sentence is to be given. So there should be a cooling off period. At least a night and the judges are not to be together. They are to be separated to think deeply through this one night at least whether the case is to stand on not. Again in Jesus' trial nothing like this ever took place, they decided there and then.
The charges that were brought before the Roman governor were completely different from the charges in the Jewish trials. You will now ask why do you need two kinds of trials. First, before the Jews, and then before the Romans. The answer is very simple. Israel lived in Palestine in those days, and they were not a nation that was totally sovereign by themselves. They were ruled by the Romans. The Romans were their real masters.
That's why you would see that the Jews had to pay taxes to the Roman Empire. That's why Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's”. You belong to Caesar, you are not your own. And therefore as a people that do not govern themselves fully, they cannot exercise capital punishment. Anyone that needs to be executed has to go through the Roman court. So you would see that Jesus ultimately, He died by crucifixion. He didn't die by stoning. Jews, in the past, they killed, they execute by stoning. But Jesus wasn't. He was killed according to the Roman courts sentenced to crucifixion. That by the way, is a fulfilment of prophecy itself. So this is the overview. First, three Jewish trials, next, three Roman trials. Let's go to the first one.
The first one was a trial before Annas. Now some of us don't even know who Annas is, right? Who in the world is this? Well, this is where we take you through first trial before this man Annas. John tells us this is not given in the rest of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John alone gives us this detail. He says, first they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. So there's a high priest called Caiaphas but there is someone even higher than Caiaphas and that's his father-in-law, Annas.
Annas had been a high priest for a long while, subsequently passed on that position to his son-in-law Caiaphas but obviously Annas still holds great influence in Israel at that time. So the first person that reported Jesus through was Annas. And Annas, I suspect must have waited for this time for a long while. He must have rubbed his hands with glee. Finally I get back at this Jesus. Why does he want to get back at Jesus? Why does he hate Jesus so much? I suppose there was a time when Jesus went to the temple and threw out the money changers and the priests who were in cahoots with these money changers. See, these people in the temple were fleecing the common people of their money. The temple is supposed to be a place of worship, it is supposed to be a house of prayer, but Jesus said you've turned it into a den of thieves.
You change money, you sell animals to them at an exorbitant rate, you want to get something from them rather than allow them to worship God. So Jesus was upset when He saw all this. He turned the tables, drove them out and I think the high priest who's the mafia boss at the time, must have felt his earnings dropped and was furious with this Jesus of Nazareth for spoiling his good business.
So now finally, we have captured Him and we can sentence Him to death. So the high priest, getting no witness, giving no attorney or advocate for Jesus, asked Jesus these incriminating questions. What is your teaching and so on, hoping that he will catch something wrong from the very lips of Christ. Jesus answered him, “I've spoken openly to the world.”
“I've always taught in the synagogues and in the temple where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? You could have found this all out. You know all these things. Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them. They know what I said.”
In other words, hey, what I did is public. There's nothing secret. Where are your witnesses and what is your charge? He knew the processes in a Jewish court. So what are you accusing me of? There's nothing wrong and nothing secret that I did. And where are your witnesses?
Now when you have nothing to say you hit people and that's what the officers did. When he had said these things, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hands saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” No reason. No fact. No truth, but just brute force, hoping to intimidate the criminal into subjection. Jesus then answered him, “If what I said is wrong, bear witness about the wrong. Tell me where are your witnesses. Give me the charge. But if what I said is right, why do you strike me?”
Well Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. This probably took place at about 2 AM. Now when that was over at about 3.00, 3.30, he was brought before Caiaphas a second Jewish trial at Caiaphas' house.
Now at Caiaphas' house all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together so they were all ready. I mean, this is midnight, folks. This is not daytime like you could call or SMS. Eh, come now, lah. There's something fun. No, no, no. They have planned this. They have sent the soldiers. They have bought Judas Iscariot.
It was all a ploy, a scheme, a well-worked plan and so they were all ready now to nail Jesus. The chief priests and the whole Council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put into death, but they found none. So you know, you need some witnesses. At the end of the day Annas couldn't get anything out so let's try at Caiaphas house to get more evidence. If we could, more witnesses to sentence him.
But he couldn't find anyone. No one could give a credible witness of a crime Jesus did. Well they actually got some people together because they were false witnesses. For many, according to Mark bore false witness against Him, but their testimony did not agree. Some stood up and bore false witness against Him, saying, we heard Him say I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands. Yet even about this, their testimony did not agree. So you know this is about the temple, right, what happened then.
The high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have You no answer to make?”, still trying to squeeze something out. “What is it that these men testify against You?”, but Jesus remained silent. He knew the protocol. He knew the process. He made no answer.
Now the high priest got frustrated. Couldn't get anywhere. Asked the point-blank question, self-incriminating question. “Are you the Christ, the son of the blessed?” Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need?” What a nice way to say it when you have no witness in the first place. “You have heard his blasphemy”, so this is their charge - Jesus is guilty of blasphemy. But really there is no charge, because all that Jesus said, and all that Jesus did, testified that He indeed is the Son of God. But they didn't want to believe it. They didn't want to accept it. There's no real credible charge. He is not lying. He is the Son of God.
Anyway he stirred them up and they asked, "What is your decision?” And they all condemned Him as deserving death. No cooling off period. No separation of the judges. No voting one by one. Together, immediately they say He is guilty of death. No witnesses, no credible one. It's a kangaroo court that makes a mockery of the recognised laws, standards of law, or practice of law. And they added something extracurricular. Some began to spit on Him and to cover His face and to strike Him, saying to Him, “Prophesy! Who is the one that smacks you or hits you?” And the guards received Him with blows. 3:30 AM. Maybe 5:30 AM.
And now they bring him to the Supreme Court of the Jews, the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin is the supreme High Court in Jewish culture. There is no higher court than that for the Jews. It's made up of 73 respected men, religious leaders, and whatever they decide will be final. So the very next morning at the break of dawn when they came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes. And they led him away to their Council, and they said, “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer, but from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” Jesus is telling what would happen to Him after He should die, He knew what was going to happen.
It didn't catch Him by surprise. So they all said. “Are you the Son of God then? And He said to them, “You say that I am. “ And they said. “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”
No witnesses, it doesn't matter. His own lips would do. This is probably the shortest trial of the three. And now they arose and brought Him before Pilate. Again, why Pilate? Because they have no right for execution. If they had a right, they would have stoned him there and then. I'm very sure about that. But you can't because you are under Roman rule. So let's send this problem now to Pilate and let's make Pilate sentence Him to death. They want to complete their conspiracy, so fourth trial before Pontius Pilate. By the way, are you all lost? It's very easy, right? Annas, Caiaphas, Sanhedrin. ACS. That's how I remember.
Now, to Pilate. Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Governor's headquarters. It was early morning 6:30 AM or so. They themselves did not enter the Governor's house or headquarters, so that they will not be defiled, but could eat the passover.
This is a bizarre verse. They were so meticulous in religious rituals but they were so blatantly murdering an innocent man, the Son of God. So they will not be found entering a Gentile's headquarters, but they will send God's Son to His death. So if they can't come in, Pilate has got to come out and that's what you see in movies, in shows, in books.
Pilate would come outside and meet with the crowd and he would say, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” I think Pilate must be upset - 6:30 AM in the morning, I'm still sleeping and you wake me up to face this thing. Well, I still have to do my job. So he asked them, “What accusations do you bring against this man.”
Now the Romans conduct their trials in a very systematic, structured way. They receive first of all, an accusation, then they will conduct an interrogation. They will allow the accused a defence, and then finally, they will arrive at the verdict. Very simple, logical - accusation, interrogation, defence, verdict.
So, number one, you want me to put this guy to trial. What is your accusation? And look at what the Jews said. They answered him. “If this man were not doing evil, we were not have delivered Him over to you.” What kind of accusation is this? What is He guilty of? Eh, come on, Pilate. If He is not doing evil, we wont send Him to you. Yah, yah. But what's His crime? What's the accusation? Of course He is guilty, lah. Otherwise we wont send Him to you, right? Yes, but what is the accusation? He is guilty. Just try Him. That's probably what they are saying. They can't find something at this stage. Pilate said to them, “Then take Him yourselves and judge Him by your own law.”
The Jews said too him. It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death. Capital punishment has to be effected by the Roman court and we want this man killed. This, according to John was to fulfil the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death He was going to die.
It's clear that prophecy years ago have already predicted that Jesus prophesied that Jesus would die by crucifixion and not by stoning. So it was necessary that he will be brought before Pontius Pilate. On further pressing, they began to accuse Him, saying, we found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar and saying that He Himself is Christ the King. Notice a few things. Number one, what they accuse Him of before Pilate is totally different from the charges that they have laid for Him in the Jewish trials.
In the Jewish trials they did not know where to go. Ultimately they concluded that He was blasphemous. But now, when they brought the Lord Jesus before Pilate they did not say blasphemy because Caesar wouldn't execute Him based on blasphemy. That's a Jewish thing. But they knew what was most sensitive to the Roman Empire is treason. Uprising. That's what Caesar, Tiberius never tolerates. So in order to get Him killed, give Him the most severe charge. He says He is the king. He doesn't want us to submit to Caesar. He forbids us from paying taxes. That's a lie because Jesus had already said. “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's.”
The scribes, the Pharisees, the religious leaders wanted to get Jesus earlier, right? So they asked, “Jesus, is it right to pay tax?” Jesus gave that masterful answer. But they lied here. This guy is a traitor. This guy is someone who incites riots. And so Pilate had no choice when the charge is as severe as that. So Pilate now goes back to his headquarters within, and called Jesus and said to Him, “So, are you really the King of the Jews? Are you saying that you are the King and Caesar is not a King?”
Jesus then answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me? Do you really think so? Or is it just what they say?”. It's interesting that at this stage Jesus is pursuing the heart of Pilate.
You realise He's not so much defending Himself, but trying to prick the conscience of Pilate and maybe even to stir him to think about his own soul. Because Pilate then answered, “Am I a Jew? Why did you asked me that? Should I know everything about you or about your nation? Your own people, your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. You say I incite riots but My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would have been fighting.”
What a great lesson for you and I as Christians. If our kingdom is of this world, we fight; but if we are not? That I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world. Then Pilate said to Him, “Then you say you are a King.” “But you say that I a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice. I'm really here for the truth. My kingdom is a spiritual kingdom of truth.”
Pilate now starts to think, “What is truth?”. But this has nothing to do the court case now. It's about treason. But he's not thinking about truth. I think the question that Jesus posed to Pilate caused him to think about his own soul and he asked. “Really, what is truth?” And for that moment he pondered that, but because he knew he had a task to do, he swept that aside and he went outside to the Jews and told them, “After I've conducted the interrogation and heard the defence of the accused, my verdict is that I find Him not guilty.” But that should be. Case closed. The governor has spoken.
But that's not what happened. Pontius Pilate presented Jesus. “This man is innocent. He is not here to fight with my King Caesar. I find in Him nothing guilty to sentence.”
But they would not have it. The Jews incited by the chief priest were fierce. The word “urgent” there is “fierce”. They were vehement. And they were saying, “He stirs up the people. How could you let Him go? He taught everywhere in Judea from Galilee even right up to Jerusalem. You can't let Him go.” Now there was a buzz word that he heard from the Jews. Hey, I didn't realise this. This man has been teaching from Galilee to here. He started from Galilee. So Pilate heard this. He asked whether the man was a Galilean.
And when he learned that He belonged to Herod's jurisdiction, he sent Him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. How convenient. Ai yah, my colleague. Actually he belonged to that department or better still, you belong to that GRC. You're from that GRC. My colleague, his MP is here. The MP is here in Jerusalem.
So maybe let him try you, Jesus. Let him try the accused. Now Herod, his full name is Herod Antipas. Herod and Pontius were not the best of friends. Actually, the Bible tells us, they were enemies. But Pilate was very glad that Herod is here because now he can “Tai Chi” the case over. He can pass the buck, he can pass the responsibility over to Herod and so we see the fifth trial before Herod.
Probably, 7.00, 7.30 AM about that time, if you look at the time scale so far. What would happen at Herod's trial? Nothing much, really. Herod saw Jesus. He was very glad. Finally I meet with this so-called miracle worker the Jews have been raving and talking about.
He had long desired to see Him because he had heard about Him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by Him. He treated Jesus like a monkey performing some tricks to amuse him. So he questioned Him at some length, but he got no answer and the chief priests and the scribes stood by vehemently accusing Him. These chief priests are a pest. Wherever Jesus went they followed along and made sure that whichever Roman governor, he will nail Him.
Well, Herod with his soldiers treated Him with contempt and mocked him, laughed at the King, the Son of God, not serious about trial, not willing to find out the truth just playing along and sending Jesus to His cross.
Then arraigned Him in splendid clothing, he sent Him back to Pilate. This is the tango, you know. Pilate-Herod tango. They danced, one step, two step. And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other. Can you believe this? They now become the best of buddies because of Jesus. “Hi, great that you sent Jesus to me. It was really fun having Him. Yah. I'm so glad that I could at least spent, pass it to you, but of course I know you couldn't handle it, come back to me. But hey we're buddies, right?”
So now to the very last trial before Pilate. Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people and said to them. “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. But after examining Him before you, behold, look, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against Him. He did not claim to be the King over Caesar, He did not cause people not to pay taxes and not just myself but my colleague from the fellow GRC also said nothing wrong with him. Sends Him back to us. Nothing deserving of death has been done by Him.
Well, let me tell you what we can come to a compromise and negotiation to let me just punish Him, scourge Him. Painful, you know, the Roman's scourge. The whips that will pulverise the flesh, tear the ribbons of skin and flesh out. I'll whip him 39 times. He will be a bloody mess. I think that would suffice, don't you think?”
Pilate was trying to hold his ground. He was trying not to sentence an innocent man to death.
You say, why? Maybe conscience. Maybe there's a sense of justice still. But maybe he had something else and he wanted to use this trick, punish this guy, let Him be a pitiful sight.
At least the Jews would be compassionate and let Him go. After all, He didn't really do anything wrong, and he has the trump card. That on feast day that Governor is accustomed to release one prisoner they want. And he had on his hand, a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. You say who is Barabbas? The Bible tells us Barabbas is a terrible guy. He had been thrown into prison for an insurrection. That's a riot, an uprising treason. He's a real baddie. Not only was he guilty of insurrection, he was guilty of murder. He kills. Maybe he has a gang of people who goes around just killing, and terrorising the neighbourhood and he's also a robber. So this guy has the full works – treason, riot, murderer, robber. And so Pilate must have thought, if there is one guy they would not want in society - Barabbas. He killed many of your family. He is going to create havoc so I have a trump card. I am going to put Jesus, I'm going to put Barabbas together and let them choose. Surely they must let Jesus go. Jesus is the good guy. He healed, He taught, He blessed. Barabbas killed and robbed. They would have wanted Barabbas to die.
So Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Quietly confident. It would be Barabbas for he knew that it was simply out of envy that they had delivered him up. I was alluding to this. The wife of Pilate, however, gave a kind of a warning to Pilate earlier on. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him. “Have nothing to do with that righteous man for I have suffered much because of Him today in a dream. I had a nightmare. I had a nightmare – I'm not sure whether it's from God or from what but I had a nightmare.
He is innocent. He is righteous. Don't you do anything unjust.” Pilate is scrambling, fighting every way possible to worm or to squirm out of this sentencing of Jesus to death.
But even the trump card of Barabbas is not going to work, because the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. The Governor again said to them, “ Which of the two do you want me to release for you.” “Barabbas!” “Are you sure?” “Yes.” “Final answer.” “Yes!” “Barabbas.”
Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ. They all said, “Let Him be crucified. Don't just keep Him in prison. Kill Him.”
And he said, “What evil has He done?” They shouted all the more. “I don't care.” “We don't care. Just let Him be crucified.” Where is the justice? Where is the guilt? Just senseless anger against the Son of God. A third time Luke tells us. He said to them, “Why? What evil has He done? I found in Him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release Him.”
I highlighted the word “a third time.” This is not just a once off that the Jews didn't realise. They knew it. So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, and that rather there was a riot that was about to start, he took water, washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I'm innocent of this man's blood. See to it yourselves.” How convenient. I am going to sentence Him to death but let this blood not be on my hands. I'm innocent. No, you're not innocent. And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children.” These are haunting words for the nation of Israel right up till today. I think history tells us how the blood of Jesus is still upon this country.
So Pilate did what he felt he had to do. Went against his conscience. Went against his encounter with Jesus. Went against his wife's appeal because of the pressures all around him. He succumbed and he released Barabbas, scourged Jesus and sent Him to the cross.
This is the trial of Jesus Christ. An overview of it. So what did you learn? I learned that Jesus, according to Luke in Acts is delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, and crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. It was an unjust process, totally unjust. No credible witness. No real crime but just a senseless, angry reaction against the Son of God who came to save. It's crazy.
Why was Jesus crucified? Because man is sinful. Man is wicked. Let me say this. The trial of Jesus is really not a trial of Jesus. It's really a trial of human hearts. What we see today is not the guilt of Jesus, because He had none, but the guilt of sinful man. Man is living in darkness, and we would not want the light. People today reject Jesus because our acts are sinful and we wouldn't want to have God. So out of that reaction we do everything possible to silence the voice of God to kill the very Son of God.
Who is on trial? Sinful men. But just in case you think that this is a sign of the helplessness of God, Luke tells us this is not an accident. This is not a misfortune that happened to Jesus. Jesus was delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God. In fact, Paul tells us Jesus is the Lamb that was slain before the foundation of the world. So it was absolutely the will of God for Jesus to die. Now, this is the tension you have to manage. It is hundred percent the guilt of man, lawless sinful men. But at the very same time, the hundred percent determinate will of God for Jesus to die.
God did not make the man sin. That you have to be very clear, because the Bible tells us, God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted He any man. This is the mystery of evil. God did not make them sin, but God did take that sin, and according to the Psalms, He turned the wrath of God, even to praise His name.
So I maintain to you that the crucifixion of Jesus is hundred percent the act of sinful, wicked man, and it is absolutely as well, at the very same time, the sovereign will God. It is not a helpless fate that Jesus went for, it was precisely for this moment, Jesus went to the cross.
So yes, Jesus suffered great injustice, but God was never out of control at any point. It was the will of God for Him to go through exactly what He went through from 1, 2 AM all the way to 8, 9 AM before he is going to the cross. Say, why is it that God wanted Jesus to go through so much? Well, Peter tells us. I apologise. It's 1 Peter 3:18, not 1 Peter 3:8.
For Christ also hath once suffered for us the just and the unjust, that He might bring us to God. So why the injustice? Scripture tells you, for you. We are the ones who are guilty. We are the ones who should be spat upon, beaten, nailed, damned in hell. But the just and righteous, perfect Son of God came to take your place and my place. You say where is justice and fairness in this world? Let me tell you. Justice is what Jesus came to pay for. Fairness, there is none. Because the most unfair thing happened that very day 2,000 years ago, when the Son of God took your sins and my sins. It's not fair. But that's love. And that's justice. That's why Jesus went. For you and for me. You have a choice this morning.
We saw the Jews on trial. We see Jesus on trial. We saw the Jews on trial. We saw Pilate on trial. Let me tell you this. You are on trial. Because who is Jesus Christ to you. If you've looked at the Bible, you studied the Scriptures and you come to the conclusion, Jesus is a liar. Jesus is a crazy man. Lunatic.
Or would you come to the conclusion that Jesus indeed is Lord and Saviour. You know, how you answer the question is a trial of your heart. And one day your assessment and the judgment and your attitude towards Christ will come to be manifest on the day of final judgment before God.
Maybe some of you know today Jesus already. You already know He is the Lord. He is the Son of God. He's the only Saviour who died and rose again, whose blood can wash away our sins. You know that. But maybe you're following the way of Pilate. I'm scared of what my friends would say, I'm fearful of how my parents were react to me, coming to Christ. I'm fearful of what my boss would think I'm fearful of the opinions of the world so maybe like Pilate symbolically I say, God don't blame me but I can't believe You today. Typical compromise or would you believe?
I want to end, by making a practical application also for those of us who go through injustice, unfairness in your workplace, in your life. 1 Peter tells us, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.”
You say what does it mean to follow Jesus? Health, wealth, blessings in the material sense? No, no, no. Look at what it means to follow Jesus. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. He was completely innocent and guiltless, but when He was reviled, He did not revile in return. When He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. If you today go through injustice, unfairness even though you are not guilty of it. That's what Jesus has called you to do. You are following in His footsteps.
You say, but it's not fair. Who's going to pay? Someone is going to pay. You can be trusting the Father, the God who judges justly. Just like Jesus did. “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” saith the Lord. I pray today that the trials of Jesus will be clear in your mind. It will be a picture that sticks with you. That the guiltless one is treated as the guilty one for all of us who really are the ones who deserve to perish. May God's love flood your hearts this morning. Let's bow for a word of prayer together.
I'd just like to give you just a moment to think and to consider the implications of a passage such as this. A story such as this.
A story that is not conjured up by men but recorded by reliable witnesses about the tremendous atrocities humanity has inflicted upon the Son of God. Really, if we were in that position we might have not done any better. Such is the sinfulness of my heart and your heart. But let me point you to the marvellous love and grace of God. For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.
The Gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ, bringing us to God. It's not about money. It's not about cancer. It can be about these things, but really it's not even mainly about these things. These things are too cheap when you compare it to the price He paid to save us from sin, from alienation from God. That's why He had to die, and He did it freely it.
He did it for you and I even when we were yet sinners. He did it for us when we can't give Him anything. But that's His love. Stunning, amazing love. I pray this morning, you will come to Jesus right where you are in your heart, just by yourself. Recognise, you are a sinner who cannot save yourself, not with anything. But Jesus has paid all the price for all your sins, the just for the unjust.
And He calls to you today to repent and believe in His Son. Call upon His name and you will be saved. Would you receive Jesus into your life? Would you bow before Him? Would you obey the Gospel? If you today are going through injustice, trust God. He is sovereign.
The injustice is evil, is bad, is wrong, I know, we know, God knows. But He has a purpose and plan. Keep loving, keep serving, keep showing grace. Let God take care of it. It was for me He died. Father bless your words to the hearts of each one here, simple sermon today, but let this be memorable that this be life-changing, let this be all about Your Son. We thank You and pray this now in Jesus' Name. Amen.
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