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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Robin's Testimony - April 24, 2011

How I Came to Know Christ
by Robin Joy Mitchell

I don’t remember what my life was like before I came to Christ.

I was too young to remember. But my parents remember.

I came to believe that Jesus is God’s Son and saves me from my sins through what He did on the Cross.

I came to know Christ through my family.

My family thanked Jesus for every good gift He gave them, and asked Him for help.

And my parents help and teach me about His good love.

Jesus helps me all the time with hardships like school and Nana dying.

He helps me to be kind to my brothers.

And I am able to pray to the Lord and to recognize my sins.

My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 117:1&2.

“Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples.
For great is his love toward us,
and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever.
Praise the LORD.” 


[Matt's Messages] "Jesus Is Risen"

“Jesus Is Risen!”
Certain of Jesus: The Gospel of Luke
April 24, 2011
Luke 24:1-12

To understand the amazing story of chapter 24, you have to remember where left off last week in chapter 23.

In chapter 23, the hero of the story died.  Jesus died.  Jesus had suffered terribly and was crucified-killed on a cross-by hanging there and struggling to breath.  And then He had died and was buried in the tomb of a man named Joseph of Arimathea. 

He had been closed in behind a great big stone that had been rolled in front of the tomb and then had been left there.

How incredibly sad.  There just aren’t words.

There were some women who had traveled with Jesus’ band of followers who had been there when they buried Him and then had gone home to prepare some spices to anoint His body.

They had rested on the Sabbath, according the commandment and on Sunday morning (where chapter 24 begins) they were coming back to the tomb in hopes of anointing Jesus’ corpse.

But they were in a for a big, big surprise!

Let’s read the first three verses and then pray together.

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”
[prayer]

I almost titled this message the last line of verse 3, but it seemed a little long for a title: “They did not find the body of the Lord Jesus!”

Because it wasn’t there.

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.”

A little bit of surprise, wasn’t it?!

What a shock.

The next verse says that they were “wondering about this.”  The King James says they were “much perplexed thereabout.”  I’ll bet!

Imagine on Memorial Day, going to the cemetery of your loved one with some flowers to put on their grave and finding a great big gaping hole in front of their tombstone!

What would you think?

Well, these perplexed ladies didn’t have to wonder for long.  V.4

“While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. [Whose that?  Gotta be angels.  Something big is happening.]  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!’”

The women know whom they are talking about.
You know whom they are talking about.

They are talking about Jesus.

He’s alive again.

Jesus Has Risen!

The reason the tomb was empty was that Jesus had walked out of it.

Jesus had come back to life.

This is the most amazing thing in all of the universe.

Jesus Is Risen.

    Christ Is Risen!
    He Is Risen Indeed!
   
    Christ Is Risen!
    He Is Risen Indeed!
   
    Christ Is Risen!
    He Is Risen Indeed!

And this makes all of the difference in the world.

In verse 6, the angels remind these ladies of how Jesus predicted all of this all along. V.6

“Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'" Then they remembered his words.”

Ahhhh yeah. That makes sense now.  We could never figure out what He was saying, what He meant.

But that’s just what happpened. He was delivered into the hands of sinful men.
He was crucified.  And He’s been raised again.

And when He was crucified, He was paying the debt for sin.  He was saving us from sin, self, and Satan.
And when He came back to life, He came back to offer life to those who will believe.

These women get the message and can’t wait to share it.  They hurried to where the apostles were.  V.9

“When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.”

At first, it was really hard to believe.

Peter even saw the tomb with his own eyes and was still scratching his head, trying to put it all together.

The gospel of John tells us that John ran with Peter to the tomb and when he saw the empty tomb and the strips of linen that had been covering Jesus just lying there, John got it and believed!

Jesus Is Risen.

Everything hinges on that historical reality.

Everything has changed because of the resurrection.

Christianity hangs on the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

If He is not risen then we are wasting our time here today.

But Jesus has risen!

And He calls us to believe.

Two points of application today and then we’ll get to our baptisms.

#1.  BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS RISEN.

Believe.

In verse 11, when they were just hearing about this for the first time, the 11 apostles didn’t believe.

It seemed to them like nonsense.

Huh?  What? What? Empty tomb? Jesus is alive again?  You saw men with shiny clothing? What are you talking about?

But it’s true.

He is not here, Jesus has risen.

They did not find the body of the Lord Jesus because He is alive again.

Believe.

If you believe in the risen Lord Jesus, you will be saved.

The Bible says that Jesus was raised for our justification (Romans 4:25).

That, is to make us just, to declare us righteous.

Jesus was raised to save.

And He calls us to believe.

10 men and women are about to be baptized in this little pool behind me.

By the way, I checked it, and the water is good and hot.

It’s at least 55 degrees in there already.

All 10 of these folks have come to believe that Jesus is who He said He was, died like He said He would, and come back to life just like He promised (v.7).

They believe.

Do you?

You might have some questions that you need answered before you will believe.

That’s what this church is here for.

In the front of every hymnal here is a “Tell Me More Card.”

It says, simply, “I have questions about Jesus Christ and the Bible, and I am seeking answers.  Tell me more.”

Give me that card after church today, and we’ll give you a call and give you as many answers as we have.

Or, take that card back with you to the prayer room this morning and ask your questions with Dave and Jane Catanzaro.  The prayer room is the first door on your left as you go down the hallway on the left.

Dave and Jane will be back there after the service and would love to pray with you about anything–but especially about this: believe.

But don’t wait to get your questions answered.  Don’t wait to start believing.

You don’t know how much time you have.

We were going to have 11 baptisms today.

And I want to pause right now and remember Merrill Nearhood.

Merrill was in our baptism classes, too, this year.

He was a young, single dad.  He was good friend some of us here.

And Merrill had just come to believe that God was real and powerful and that Jesus was his savior.

And he was getting ready to tell the world today that he believed in Jesus.

And one Sunday, he was in our baptism class and on that Tuesday, he was with the Lord.

Car accident.

Merrill was prepared for eternity.

Are you?

Believe!

Turn from your sins and trust in the risen Savior.

Believe.

#2.  TELL OTHERS THAT JESUS IS RISEN.

Just like these ladies running back to the Eleven with their story.

Tell others that Jesus is risen.

They may or may not believe you, but you they need to hear it.

So take that message to everyone.

Tell others that Jesus has risen.

That’s what these 10 folks who are going to be baptized now are doing by being baptized today.

They are telling the world (and all of us assembled here now) that they believe that Jesus is the Son of God crucified for their sins and raised to live to give us new life.

When they go back into the waters of baptism, they are symbolizing Jesus’ death and burial.

And when they come back up, they are telling the world that Jesus is alive again!

And so are they.

Messages So Far In this Series:

Certain of Jesus
The Back-Story of Jesus
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus - A Very Special Child
Preparing the Way for Jesus
Jesus Is the Son of God
Jesus in Galilee
Jesus and the Sinners
Jesus Brings Real Joy and Rest
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part One
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Two
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Three
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Four
Amazing Jesus
Disappointed with Jesus
Loving Jesus Much
Jesus' Real Family
Jesus Is Lord
Who Is Jesus?
Following Jesus
Sent By Jesus
Q&A With Jesus
Sitting at Jesus' Feet
Jesus Teaches Us to Pray 
Jesus Is Stronger Than Satan
More Blessed Than Jesus' Mom
Jesus and the Judgment to Come
Being Real with Jesus
Jesus and Our Stuff
Be Ready for Jesus' Return
Jesus and Tragedies
Set Free By Jesus
Jesus and the Surprising Kingdom
Jesus and Jerusalem
Jesus at the Party
The Cost of Following Jesus
Jesus and the Lost: Part One
Jesus and the Lost: Part Two
Jesus and the Lost: Part Three
Jesus on Money
Sneering at Jesus
Jesus and the Great Chasm
Jesus Said to His Disciples...
Thanking Jesus
Jesus and the Coming Kingdom
Jesus Says, "Keep Praying"
The Proud, the Humble, and Jesus
Jesus Does the Impossible
Why Did Jesus Come?
Investing for Jesus in 2011
King Jesus
Jesus and the Temple
The Authority of Jesus
Jesus and Caesar
Jesus and the Sadducees
Jesus' Turn
Jesus and the End of the World
The Plan for Jesus to Die
Jesus' Last Lessons
Arresting Jesus
Judging Jesus
Crucifying Jesus
Burying Jesus

Friday, April 22, 2011

Too Good for Words

I just finished writing my message for Sunday.

Its stinks.

Well, may not "stinks," but it just doesn't do justice to the subject matter.

How could it?

The resurrection is just too good for words.

Happily, we've got 10 folks going to be baptized on Sunday, including our own Robin Joy, so there will be living pictures to go along with my meager words.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

[Matt's Messages] "Burying Jesus"

“Burying Jesus”
Certain of Jesus: The Gospel of Luke
April 17, 2011
Luke 23:44-56

This is going to be a very simple sermon.  Maybe the simplest of all 63 of the messages we’ve had in this Certain of Jesus sermon series in the Gospel of Luke.

Just two points this morning.  Blatantly obvious, especially for Christians.
                       
But totally important.

#1. Jesus Died.
#2. Jesus Was Buried.

Jesus Died and Was Buried.

This is the crucial climax of the Gospel of Luke right here.

This is what everything has been leading up to all along.

We’ve had 62 messages in this series since September of 2009.

And they have all be leading up to this.

(And to what we’re going to celebrate next week!  But it’s not Resurrection Sunday yet.  One more week of doom and gloom.)

Jesus died.

When we stopped at verse 43 last week, Jesus was dying.

He we left Him hanging there.

Battered, bloody, mocked, spat upon, tortured, flogged, convicted of crimes that He did not commit, Jesus was nailed to a cross and was crucified.

He hung there approximately 6 hours on that day.

And our text picks up again at the mid point of that torture.

Isaac Watts said it well:

Well might the sun in darkness hide, and shut its glories in,
when Christ, the mighty maker, died for his own creature's sin.
    [Isaac Watts, Alas and Did My Savior Bleed?]

For three hours on that day the sun gave out.

Verse 45 says “the sun stopped shining.” 

Literally the Greek reads, “the sun failed” or “gave up.” The sun just quit.

It didn’t want to look at what was happening to Jesus.

This was a sign of judgment.  It was a sign of darkness.  It was a sign of mourning.

The universe was mourning.

The universe was grieving.

What was going on then physically?  I don’t know.

Was there also a natural event that explains this?  Was it an eclipse?  Maybe.  Was it an sirocco, a hot sand storm that covered the sun?  Maybe.

Was it local just over Israel or global so that the whole world experienced it?

I don’t know.  It doesn’t matter.

What matters is that it happened.

“Darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour for the sun stopped shining.”

The Lord predicted things like this.  In Amos chapter 8, the LORD gives this judgment:  “In that day," declares the Sovereign LORD, "I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your religious feasts into mourning and all your singing into weeping. I will make all of you wear sackcloth and shave your heads. I will make that time like mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.”

Now, that may or may not have been about this day, but it certainly could be used to describe it.

The sun went away at the point at which the sun should shine the brightest.

And the mourning, the grieving, for an only son, a bitter day.

That’s what’s going on here.  God’s only son is dying.

The sun is not the only thing to break.  V.45

“And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.”

The other gospels tell us that it ripped from top to bottom.

This was the curtain (or veil) that separated the holy place from the most holy place (the holy of holies) in the temple.  It was made of fine Babylonian cloth of blue, scarlet, and purple and was a thick as a man’s hand.

And while Jesus was dying, while it was dark outside, so supernaturally dark–the curtain was torn in two.  Rip!

And that is deep symbolism.

The curtain symbolized the distance between God and Us.

You and I would have never ever ever seen the inside of that room!

In the days of His flesh, Jesus never saw the inside of that room!

Only one person, one day a year, the high priest on the Day of Atonement went into that room and only with blood.

And that was good because we are sinful and God is holy.

But something has changed.

As Jesus died, the curtain ripped down the middle into two pieces.

And the way into the holy of holies was opened.

Access. Unlimited access through Jesus to God was opened up.

Hebrews 10:19-22.  “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, [that curtain also symbolized Jesus’ body, it worked both ways] and since we have a great priest over the house of God [Jesus Christ!], let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith...”

Draw near to God.

That’s what was going on here.  Jesus was making a way for us to draw near to God.

He had just promised the bad guy next to Him on the next cross over that today He would be with Him in paradise.  And the curtain of the temple ripped open to say, “Welcome!  Come on in!”

Draw near to God.

Have you prayed today? I mean, really prayed.

Do you know what a privilege that is?

Have you drawn near to God in prayer?  In faith?  With a sincere heart in full assurance of faith?

That is only possible because Jesus died.

Draw near.

“The curtain of the temple was torn in two.”  The temple was no longer the temple.  It was no longer the meeting place between God and man.

Jesus was.

He was the true temple all along.

And as His flesh was torn so was the curtain.

And then, Luke tells us that Jesus died.  V.46

#1. JESUS DIED.

“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’ When he had said this, he breathed his last.”

Again, at the very end, Jesus calls God, His Father.

And He trusts Himself. He entrusts Himself to His Father’s hands.

He died fairly quickly for someone who was crucified.  Crucifixion could go on for much longer than this.  But He had suffered enough and He died of His own will.

Weak as He was from loss of blood and almost no oxygen, He still managed to call out in a loud voice His prayer of faith.

And then He died.

King James says, “he gave up the ghost.”  Which just means, He stopped breathing.

And He was dead.

Jesus was dead.

Now, just pretend for a few seconds that you don’t know about next week.

That you don’t know what’s going to happen on Sunday morning.

This is almost unbelievable.

Jesus died.

Jesus did.

The Jesus we’ve been learning about for 62 messages.

Can you believe that He died?

The One who could do such miracles.
The One who taught with such authority.
The One who we love and trust and respect and honor.
The One who we want to follow.

Jesus died?

Our family has been reading this great book, In Search of the Source by Neil Anderson and Hyatt Moore.  It’s a missionary book by a Wycliffe translator who worked with the Folopa people in Papua New Guinea.

The Folopa were former cannibals to whom the gospel had come.

And Neil and Carol Anderson were translating the scriptures into their own heart language.  Not an easy thing to do.

It’s a great book.  I highly recommend it to everyone here, except for maybe the youngest children as there are some gruesome things in it about their cannibalistic warring past.

In the chapter we read most recently, Neil was trying to translate the word for “flog” in the Gospel of Mark.

And it wasn’t going well.  He says:
Again, we were stuck. I didn’t have a word for “flog.”
   
“What do you call it,” I asked if someone hits another, say an enemy, with something like rope?
   
That drew a blank.  Apparently hitting someone with a rope was nothing that sounded familiar to them.  But it was about to happen to Jesus so I cast about for other ways to describe it.  My eyes fell on a piece of rattan vine left over from tying the thatch on the roof.  It was lying on the old wood stove.  The vine was about three feet long and as thick as my little finger. I went around the table, picked it up, and instructed the men to imagine the vine was a piece of rope and the wood stove was the back of Jesus.  Then with all my might I started beating the iron top of the stove.
   
Immediately Owarape Ali–his eyes wild and his nostrils flaring–shouted out: “That’s not hitting with a rope, that’s fokoso sirapo!” He was indignant, staring up at me form his place on the floor.
   
Fokoso sirapo.  I walked back around the table and wrote the words down.
   
“Tell me more about it,” I said.
   
But when I looked up they were all staring at me. It was like it had taken them right back to the old days [of their cannabalistic wars].
   
“Wait a minute,” someone said.  “Do you mean to say they did THAT to Jesus?”
   
“Yes.”
       
“But here he just said they were going to do it. Did they really do it to Him?”   

“Yes.”

Quiet fell on the room.  Finally Eleke Whi Ali said, “We used to do that.  But we only did it to our enemies, and then just before we were going to kill them.”

“Yes,” I said, “that is coming, too.”

Heads were down.  In the corners, the large shell earrings of the old men swung back and forth in utter dejection.  The memory of fokoso sirapo “floggings” was too fresh in their minds. They were seeing a deeper vision of the abject cruelty–the enormity of it all–than I had ever considered.  And that this would happen to Jesus. . . .
And how much more than the flogging to think that the ultimate evil happened to Jesus.

Jesus died.

He didn’t breathe any more.

He didn’t think any more.

He flatlined.

If you did an MRI, you’d see no brainwaves.
If you did a EKG, no heartbeat.

No vital signs.  No life.

Jesus died.

The unthinkable had happened.

Verses 47, 48, and 49 give us some of the reactions of those who witnessed Jesus’ death.

V.47 "The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, ‘Surely this was a righteous man.’”

The centurion was a Roman soldier who was over 100 Roman soldiers.

And this centurion was probably in charge of Jesus’ crucifixion.

He had never seen anything like it.

He probably seen many many crucifixions and could have been jaded about it.

But he had never seen anything like it.

The way Jesus suffered.
The way Jesus saved people from the Cross.
The way Jesus entrusted Himself to His Father.
The way the preternatural darkness settled on everyone.

“Surely this was a righteous man.”

That is the last statement that Luke brings us about the innocence of Jesus.

Jesus was righteous.  He did not deserve what was happening to Him.

But that was God’s plan. The righteous for the unrighteous to bring us to God.

The centurion knew that this was all wrong.

And it seems like the crowd does, too.  Perhaps many of the same people who were clamoring for Jesus to be crucified and ran up to watch as part of the mob.  V.48

“When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.”

These are not Jesus’ disciples.

These are crowd members who are filled with emotion, sorrow, regret(?) at what had happened to Jesus.

They got what they asked for, but then they weren’t so sure that it was a good thing.

And verse 49 describes the disciples.

“But all those who knew him, including the women who had followed him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.”

I can’t imagine what they felt at that moment.

Grief. Sadness. Shock.

Those seem like small words to describe what must have been their feelings.

Jesus died.

And He needed burying.  V.50

#2. JESUS WAS BURIED.

“Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man,  who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God.”

Apparently, Joseph of Arimathea had not been present–maybe he wasn’t summoned–at the trial of Jesus.

He was apparently well-to-do, and he was a good man.  He did not agree with the leaders and was waiting, longing for the Jesus’ favorite topic of teaching–the Kingdom of God.

And saw to the burial of Jesus.

Most criminals would have just been tossed with others into a shallow grave to cover up the stink and stop the spread of disease.

But Jesus, though crucified as a criminal was honored in His death. V.52

“Going to Pilate, [Joseph] asked for Jesus' body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.”

The other gospels tell us that Nicodemus helped Joseph of Arimathea.

Joseph got bold and went directly to Pilate and got permission to take the body and place it in his own tomb in Jerusalem.

He was rich enough to have had a tomb excavated from a rock, and rich enough to get one of the new fangled ones with the stone the rolled back to open it the tomb and then rolled in front to seal it.

And Joseph put Jesus’ body in the tomb and closed it up.

This fulfilled in an amazing way yet another prophecy from Isaiah 53.

Verse 9 says, “He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death...”

Who would have ever guessed?

V.54 tell us, “It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin. [This all had to happen quickly if they were going to be obedient to the 4th commandment.]  The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment.”

Notice that these ladies knew exactly where Jesus had been laid.

There was no mistaking it. When we open up chapter 24 next Sunday, it’s not like they had taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque.

They had gone with Joseph to see the tomb and how his body was laid in it.  Alone.

And they thought He needed more anointing, so they got their stuff ready for Sunday when the Sabbath was over.

But they knew where they were going.

But the saddest thing about this is that they had to leave Him there.

And He was dead.

And buried.

He wasn’t alive.

There was a finality about it.

The stone was pulled down and placed in front of the hole.

Jesus was buried.

Jesus!

We won’t understand the Empty Tomb until we understand the Filled Tomb.

Filled with the lifeless corpse of Jesus.

And that’s where we’re going to leave it this week.

Most of the time, on Palm Sunday, we go out with joy.

But this week, we go out on a somber note, realizing that Jesus had to die.

And Jesus had to be buried for our salvation.

The sun had to stop shining.
The curtain had to be torn in two.
Jesus had to breath his last breath.

For you and me to be saved.

Question.

Have you drawn near to God?

Have you to come to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

The curtain is torn in two.  Draw near.

The centurion was right.  Jesus was a righteous man.

And He died for the unrighteous to bring us to God.

Put your faith in Him.

Question.

Have you thanked Him recently for the Cross?

Have you praised Him for what He did for you?

It was unthinkable.

But the unthinkable happened.

Jesus, Thank you!

Hallelujah, what a savior!

Question.

Have you told someone recently about Jesus?

There are many many who have never heard.

And never understood what happened on that fateful Friday 2000 years ago.

Tell someone this week.
Invite someone this week to come to Resurrection Sunday.

Because we know the end of the story, and it’s really good.

There are 10 men and women who are planning to be baptized next week.

And their going back into the water symbolizes their identification with Jesus’s death and burial.

Down into death and burial.

And then...up into new life.

Those 10 baptismal candidates are planning to tell the world that Jesus died and was buried and they belong to Him.


Messages So Far In this Series:

Certain of Jesus
The Back-Story of Jesus
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus - A Very Special Child
Preparing the Way for Jesus
Jesus Is the Son of God
Jesus in Galilee
Jesus and the Sinners
Jesus Brings Real Joy and Rest
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part One
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Two
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Three
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Four
Amazing Jesus
Disappointed with Jesus
Loving Jesus Much
Jesus' Real Family
Jesus Is Lord
Who Is Jesus?
Following Jesus
Sent By Jesus
Q&A With Jesus
Sitting at Jesus' Feet
Jesus Teaches Us to Pray 
Jesus Is Stronger Than Satan
More Blessed Than Jesus' Mom
Jesus and the Judgment to Come
Being Real with Jesus
Jesus and Our Stuff
Be Ready for Jesus' Return
Jesus and Tragedies
Set Free By Jesus
Jesus and the Surprising Kingdom
Jesus and Jerusalem
Jesus at the Party
The Cost of Following Jesus
Jesus and the Lost: Part One
Jesus and the Lost: Part Two
Jesus and the Lost: Part Three
Jesus on Money
Sneering at Jesus
Jesus and the Great Chasm
Jesus Said to His Disciples...
Thanking Jesus
Jesus and the Coming Kingdom
Jesus Says, "Keep Praying"
The Proud, the Humble, and Jesus
Jesus Does the Impossible
Why Did Jesus Come?
Investing for Jesus in 2011
King Jesus
Jesus and the Temple
The Authority of Jesus
Jesus and Caesar
Jesus and the Sadducees
Jesus' Turn
Jesus and the End of the World
The Plan for Jesus to Die
Jesus' Last Lessons
Arresting Jesus
Judging Jesus
Crucifying Jesus

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sunday, April 10, 2011

[Matt's Messages] "Crucifying Jesus"

“Crucifying Jesus”
Certain of Jesus: The Gospel of Luke
April 10, 2011
Luke 23:26-43

Jesus was innocent.  Everyone knew it!  And yet, He was condemned.

At the end of His trial, the mob was yelling (v.21), “Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!”

And Luke says, “their shouts prevailed.”

The Roman governor, Pilate, released Jesus to their will.

“Crucify Him!  Crucify Him!”

And that’s exactly what they did.

Verse 33 says it very succinctly.  “When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him...”

We don’t really understand that means!

If we saw a crucifixion, for real, we would probably puke.

Crucifixion is one of the world’s worst forms of torture and death.

And Jesus, our Lord, was being crucified.  Killed on a cross.

The Bible doesn’t go into the gory details.  It doesn’t have to.

Just knowing what it is, being nailed to a pole (nailed!) so that you have to pull up on your arms to breath otherwise your lungs will have no oxygen.

And then you can’t hold yourself up any longer so you slump down. But there’s nothing to rest on. And you can’t breathe.  And it hurts. And it hurts. And it hurts.

And there is no end to it. It can go on and on for hours and even days.  And then finally death.

That’s crucifixion.

That’s what they did to our Lord.

And as much as I’d like to skip ahead to chapter 24, we need to stop and think and consider and meditate on chapter 23 first.

This is what the whole book of Luke has been building up to all along.

How many times has Jesus predicted His suffering and death?

At least since chapter 9, Luke has presented Jesus as setting His face towards Jerusalem and knowingly choosing this destination–this destiny–for Himself.

The crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Our passage today in Luke chapter 23 is, in large part, about two major themes:  Judgment and Salvation.

The cross of Jesus Christ is about those two things.  Judgment and Salvation.

Let’s consider them both, one at time.  First, judgment.

#1. JUDGMENT.

Jesus, as we saw last week, has been judged.  He has been unjustly charged, unjustly tried, and unjustly sentenced.

And now, He’s been led away to judgment, to punishment, to death.  V.26

“As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.”

Why?

Probably because Jesus was too weak to carry His own cross.

He has been scourged with a whip that probably had both bones and metal in its tails. 
Whipped raw like that at least two times. The blood is pouring freely from his back.  You might be able to see his internal organs from behind.

The other gospels tell us that He has been given a crown of thorns for His head.

He is losing blood. He is weak.  He cannot carry the crossbeam, the horizontal beam all the way to the cross.  He might die on the road.  He will, at least, collapse.

So Simon from Cyrene is drafted.  Where is Cyrene?

Anyone hear about a country in North Africe called Lybia?

That’s where Cyrene was.

Mark tells us that Simon was the father of Rufus and Alexander.  Rufus was probably the same Rufus that we read about in the book of Acts.  He was a Christian.

I think it’s likely that Simon became one, too.

He picked up Jesus’ cross–a picture for us, perhaps, of discipleship.

Jesus couldn’t carry it Himself.  He was dying.  V.27

“A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.”

The crowd was probably curious not faithful.  And the women were, some of them, just professional mourners or women who were sad to see someone die. They didn’t necessarily believe in Him but they cried.

And Jesus is tender with them; He calls them, “Daughters of Jerusalem.”  But He tells them, surprisingly that their mourning is misdirected.  V.28

“Jesus turned and said to them, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' Then ‘'they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’' For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?’”

He’s talking about judgment.

Just a few days before this Jesus had predicted the destruction of Jerusalem that fell in the year 70 AD.

That destruction was God’s judgment on Israel’s unfaithfulness and unbelief and on their rejection of Jesus, their Messiah.

Jesus says, “Do not weep for me [even though he is dying an unjust and awful death!]; weep for yourselves and for your children. For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' [The judgment is going to be terrible!]  Then ‘'they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’' [He’s quoting Hosea chapter 10, verse 8.  The wicked will desire relief from their misery in death! V.31]  For if men do these things when the tree is green [if they kill Jesus who is righteous and holy], what will happen when it is dry? [what is God through Rome going to do to unholy, unrighteous Israel?]’”

Judgment.

And that is a picture of Hell.

Hell is not in vogue today as an idea.

Hell is not popular.

There is a popular preacher right now that just came out with a book that suggest that hell is, at least, not permanent, and maybe not real in any future, after-death sort of way.

But that distorted idea of Hell does not take into account everything the Bible says about future judgment.

There is a Hell to be shunned and it for those who reject God and His Only Son, Jesus.

Rejecting Jesus Leads to Judgment.


What they were doing by rejecting their Messiah going to heap trouble down upon their heads.

So much trouble that they were going to wish that the mountains would fall on them.

The same thing is predicted in Revelation chapter 6, verse 16.  The just wrath of Jesus (the Lamb that was slain) will fall upon those who have rejected Him.
               
And they will cry out “to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!”

Rejecting Jesus leads to judgment.  Inexorably.

Don’t reject Jesus or you will pay eternally.

But this is not just about judgment.

It is about salvation.

#2. SALVATION.


Verse 32 tells us that Jesus was not crucified alone.

It happened that on that fateful Friday, two other men were being crucified at the same time.  The Bible tells us that these two men were criminals.  Two of the gospels say, “robbers” or “thieves.”  Luke uses the word “kakourgos” which means basically “bad guys.”

Men who do bad things. V.32

“Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with him to be executed. When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals–one on his right, the other on his left.”

The word for “skull,” which is what the hill was shaped like, is the Greek word “Kranion.”  The Latin for Kranion is “Calvaria” which is where we get the word “Calvary.”

It means, Skull Hill, the place of death.

And Jesus is nailed to the crossbeam and then hoisted up, lifted up to be crucified.

And two others are, as well, one on the right and one on the left.

Jesus is “numbered with the transgressors” just like He said He would be.

But He is not like them.

He is innocent and even loving towards His enemies.  At this moment!

He does not curse them (even though He has pronounced judgment upon them!).

No, instead He prays for forgiveness.  V.34

“Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.”

The thanks He gets for His merciful prayer is that they will gamble at His feet for His clothes.

He won’t be needing them!

By the way, this is a direct fulfillment of Psalm 22:18, “They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothing.”

While Jesus hangs there bleeding, desperate for breath!

And if the pain wasn’t enough, there was also the continuous mocking.

V.35  “The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, ‘He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.’  The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar and said, ‘If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.’  There was a written notice above him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

And that’s right!  But they didn’t mean it.  They didn’t believe it.

They were just mocking Him. They were just insulting Him.

They were so happy that they had won!

If Jesus is all that why doesn’t He just get down from the cross?!?

The leaders mock Him.
The soldiers mock Him.

And even the other criminals being crucified mock Him!

The Gospel of Matthew says that both of the criminals on either side of Him were mocking Him, too (Matthew 27:44).

This went on for hours.

And then, there was this interaction between the three men being crucified.

V.39

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: ‘Aren't you the Christ? Save yourself and us!’”

He’s talking about salvation.

Criminal #1, we’ll call him, we don’t know his name, basically said, “Save Yourself!”

SAVE YOURSELF.


If you really are Who you have claimed to be–and everybody in Israel knows Who you’ve claimed to be!–then save yourself (and us too!).

C’mon! Use your power and get down off of the Cross!

He, obviously, had no faith. No belief that Jesus was Who He had claimed to be.

This bad guy was rejecting who Jesus is.  And that leads to judgment.

The word for “insult” in verse 39 is “eblasphemei,” and, here, it means what it sounds like. He blasphemed Jesus.

He blasted Him and insulted Him and rejected Him.

And he is like all of us before we came to Christ.

No one is genuinely neutral about Jesus.  You are either for Him or against Him.

Some people would like to think of themselves as neutral on Jesus.  “On the fence,” we say.

“I like Jesus. I think he’s a good teacher. I think he was a good man. A prophet.  A holy man. We can learn a lot from him. He had a lot of great ideas.  I’m not against Jesus.”

But Jesus said, “If you are not for me, you are against me.”

Even if you aren’t hurling insults at Him, if you are not following Him by faith, you are, effectively, a bad guy, an enemy.  Jesus’ enemy.

Of course, what could it hurt?  They were both dying by crucifixion!  What was left but to say what you want say?!  This man was hurling his heart at Jesus. And it didn’t seem like it mattered.

Does it seem to you right now like nothing matters?

“Live, and then die, and then that’s it.

Eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die!  And we’re worm’s food.”

Why not just let it all hang out?  Especially if life hurts.

“Save Yourself!”

If you don’t have to go through this, why choose it?

For this criminal hanging next to Jesus, it proved that Jesus was not the Messiah if He let Himself be crucified.

Because Messiah’s don’t die, much less die by crucifixion!

“Save yourself!  If you can...”

But there was something much deeper going on here than what it seems.

Things are not always as they seem.  And if your life seems chaotic and meaningless right now–hear this–things are not always as they seem.  God is at work.

Because Jesus was choosing not to save Himself–so that He could save others.

The fact that He stayed on the Cross was actually proof that He is the Messiah.

Messiahs do die. And this Messiah dies a sacrificial death.

Jesus was identifying Himself with sinners like you and me.

And the other bad guy–this is almost unbelievable–he “gets it!”

The other criminal gets it.

As far as we know, Jesus didn’t say anything to the first criminal. He is silent.

But the second bad guy rebukes the first bad guy! V.40

“But the other criminal rebuked him. ‘Don't you fear God,’ he said [remember, they are all being crucified.  Every word is excruciating to get out. Don’t you fear God], ‘since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.’”

V.42.

“Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’”

Wow!

What’s going on here?!

This second bad guy is turning!

This bad guy is trusting!

This criminals has faith. He believes!

He recognizes that they are suffering justly. They deserve it.

But Jesus doesn’t.

Jesus is innocent.

Just like Pilate said last week at the trial!

Now, this criminal probably doesn’t know how right his words are.

He may not know that Jesus was perfectly sinless.  But he does know that Jesus is innocent of the charges that have Him on this cross.

And He has somehow come to believe that Jesus will inherit a Kingdom!

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

In essence, he’s talking about salvation, saying, “Save Me!”

SAVE ME!   Please!

“Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

He believed that Jesus was innocent, and more than that, he believed that Jesus was a King!

This man probably didn’t know that how it all worked, but he believed that Jesus did.

And he put his faith and trust in Jesus and asked Him to save him and give Him a place in His kingdom!

Wow!

Save Me!

Not just get me off of this cross, but give me eternal life in the divine kingdom.

Forgive me.  Find forgiveness for me so that I can live in the Kingdom of God.

And save me!

Have you asked Jesus for that yourself?

That’s what He was dying for.

More than this man understood, Jesus was innocent.

He was perfectly innocent.  He had never sinned!

And at this moment, Jesus was taking on Himself the punishment, the penalty, the debt that we sinners had justly earned for ourselves.

When they were crucifying Jesus, He was not just coming between two criminals.

He was coming between God and Humanity.

And taking our place. “In my place, condemned He stood.  Hallelujah what a Savior!”

Jesus was saving sinners!

Like this one.  Like this criminal at His side. This is what our Lord said to Him on the Cross.  V.43

“Jesus answered him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’”
               
YOU ARE SAVED!


Isn’t this the greatest news in all the world?

This is the gospel.

This is THE great news.

For one, because it’s based on grace!

What did this man DO to go to paradise today?

Absolutely nothing!  This was a bad guy.

This was not a good guy.

He hadn’t gone to church.
He hadn’t given any money.
He hadn’t lived a fine upstanding life.
He hadn’t any good works to show to earn him some salvation.

He didn’t even have a chance to get baptized!

He was a bad guy!

And Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.’”

It’s based on grace. It’s not based on what this guy did but on what Jesus did for Him.

And that’s how anyone is saved.

The Bible says, “He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy.”

It’s all grace!

You cannot impress God, but you can receive His grace on your behalf.

Are you a bad guy?

We all are.

We’re all bad guys!  But the question is, what kind of bad guy are we going to be?

The kind on Jesus’ left or Jesus’ right?

Will we reject (judgment) or will we believe (salvation)?

Because God is in the business of saving bad guys!

It’s all grace. 

Isn’t that the greatest news in all the world?

It’s also great because it shows how real change is possible.

This man really changed.  No, he didn’t have time to live out a full life of service to God. He didn’t have time to make restitution for his robberies.  He didn’t have time to change his lifestyle that got him here.

But he did change!  He changed from insulting Jesus to rebuking those who do.

He changed from unbelieving to believing.

He changed from shouting to asking.

He changed from wrong thinking to right thinking–on the Cross!

He’s being crucified, and Jesus is changing Him right then and there!

He changed from loving his own kingdom to wanting Jesus’ kingdom to come.

Real change is possible through Jesus–for bad guys!

Is there someone that you’ve written off as unchangeable?

“Well, they’re never going to change!  A leopard can’t change his spots.  Nothing can be done there.”

No!

If this guy can change, so can whatever bad guy you are praying for.

It may not happen on your time-table.

But if God sets out to change a bad guy into one of His guys, nothing can stop Him!

Real change is possible because of Christ.

Isn’t that the greatest news?

Maybe you’re the bad guy you are praying about!

You wish that you were changed. Trust Him.  He is transforming you.

When He says, “You are saved,” He isn’t just saving you from the penalty of your sin, He’s saving you from the power of sin and changing you from the inside out.

Real change is possible.

This is great news, thirdly, because of the guarantee of the future.

Jesus promises: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”

That’s a sure thing.

I love how this repentant criminal doesn’t have to wait!

He goes to paradise (heaven) the same day that he dies.

And so will we.  And so did any of your believing loved ones.

Absent from the body means present with the Lord.

Today.  Guaranteed.

Do you know that you are going to be with Jesus when you die, guaranteed?

That’s the promise here in verse 43.  If you believe in Jesus.

But it’s more than that.  There is a future kingdom coming that you’ll get to be a part of, too!

The bad guy believed that. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

His kingdom is coming!  And we will get to be a part of it forever and ever.

New heavens, new earth, new bodies–always with the Lord.

That’s the future that we have to look forward to.

And it’s all because Jesus died for us.

You Are Saved!

Saved by grace.
Saved for change.
And Saved for a glorious future, guaranteed!

That’s what He was doing when they were crucifying Jesus.

Messages So Far In this Series:

Certain of Jesus
The Back-Story of Jesus
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus - A Very Special Child
Preparing the Way for Jesus
Jesus Is the Son of God
Jesus in Galilee
Jesus and the Sinners
Jesus Brings Real Joy and Rest
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part One
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Two
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Three
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Four
Amazing Jesus
Disappointed with Jesus
Loving Jesus Much
Jesus' Real Family
Jesus Is Lord
Who Is Jesus?
Following Jesus
Sent By Jesus
Q&A With Jesus
Sitting at Jesus' Feet
Jesus Teaches Us to Pray 
Jesus Is Stronger Than Satan
More Blessed Than Jesus' Mom
Jesus and the Judgment to Come
Being Real with Jesus
Jesus and Our Stuff
Be Ready for Jesus' Return
Jesus and Tragedies
Set Free By Jesus
Jesus and the Surprising Kingdom
Jesus and Jerusalem
Jesus at the Party
The Cost of Following Jesus
Jesus and the Lost: Part One
Jesus and the Lost: Part Two
Jesus and the Lost: Part Three
Jesus on Money
Sneering at Jesus
Jesus and the Great Chasm
Jesus Said to His Disciples...
Thanking Jesus
Jesus and the Coming Kingdom
Jesus Says, "Keep Praying"
The Proud, the Humble, and Jesus
Jesus Does the Impossible
Why Did Jesus Come?
Investing for Jesus in 2011
King Jesus
Jesus and the Temple
The Authority of Jesus
Jesus and Caesar
Jesus and the Sadducees
Jesus' Turn
Jesus and the End of the World
The Plan for Jesus to Die
Jesus' Last Lessons
Arresting Jesus
Judging Jesus

Sunday, April 03, 2011

[Matt's Messages] "Judging Jesus"

“Judging Jesus”
Certain of Jesus: The Gospel of Luke
April 3, 2011
Luke 22:66-23:25


Last week, Jesus was arrested.  His disciple, Judas, one of the Twelve, led a contingent of officers up the Mount of Olives to the garden of Gethsemane where Jesus was praying.  He identified Jesus with a kiss, and they hauled him away to an illegal trial in the middle of the night.

He was mocked and beaten and blindfolded and insulted and blasphemed.

And He was judged.

When you put the other gospel accounts together with this one, you getting a stunning picture of all of the unjust activity of that fateful night.

There was at least 1 and probably 2 pre-trial examinations with the chief priests.

And then Luke starts at daybreak with a hastily assembled Sanhedrin to formally try Jesus and bring Him to Jewish justice.

The Jews could not enact capital punishment on their own without approval from the Romans.  But first, they had to agree to get that approval.

They wanted Him dead so badly!

And here is their chance.

This trial was such a sham, such a farce.

There was nothing legal about this trial.

It was a kangaroo court with trumped up charges, meeting illegally, and no attempt to really get at the truth.

But, regardless, Jesus was being judged.

Verse 66 says, “Jesus was led before them.”

Should that have ever happened?

V.67, “If you are the Christ (the Messiah, predicted by the Old Testament), tell us.”

So, you see the charge.

The charge is pretending to be God’s Messiah.

Jesus’ answer, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer.”

You’ve already made up your minds!

I asked you some questions just a few days ago. [Remember chapter 20?  How can the Messiah be the Son of David?] You wouldn’t answer those.  If I put the truth right to you, you would ignore it.

You’ve already made your judgments!

But you are not really qualified to judge.  V.69

“But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”

“The Son of Man” was Jesus’ favorite way of talking about Himself.

And He’s saying that He’s going now with his death and resurrection straight to God and is going to take His right place at the right hand of Almighty God!

Wow!

And what privileges and responsibilities come at the right hand of the mighty God?

The privilege and responsibility of judgment.

#1.  JESUS IS THE REAL JUDGE!

These men presume to judge Jesus, but He will judge them.

That’s what He’s saying.

They do not have the authority to stand in judgment over Jesus.

But He will have both the authority and the responsibility of standing over them in judgment.

“But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”

Application?

Beware of Judging Jesus.

Jesus is the real judge. Beware of trying to judge Him.

The world is full of those who scoff at the claims of Christ.

Jesus claimed to be the Son of Man, the Messiah, the fulfillment of all of the promises God had made to Israel.

That’s a big claim.

And these men understood it.  But they rejected His claim as false.

They couldn’t imagine it being true and didn’t want it to be.

So they judged Him.  The condemned Him.  V.70

“They all asked, ‘Are you then the Son of God?’ He replied, ‘You are right in saying I am.’ Then they said, ‘Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.’”

They believe that He has just blasphemed God by claiming to be the Son of God.

But that’s exactly who He is!

That’s why He says it that way.  The NIV has smoothed out verse 71.  The KJV says, “Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am.”  [The 2011 NIV goes back to a more literal rendering.]

It is a positive answer.  Yes. But He turns it on them.  It comes out of their mouths, and it is true. Jesus is the Son of God.  What they say is right.

But they say, it’s wrong.

How dangerous!

How dangerous to say that what is right is wrong.

There are a lot of things like that in our culture today. 

Increasingly, wrong is paraded as right and right is slandered as wrong!

But that doesn’t change what is right and wrong.

Jesus will judge justly.

Beware of judging Him.  V.71

“Then they said, ‘Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips. [He admits it! Let’s get the Romans to get Him killed!  Chapter 23.] Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate.”

The whole assembly!  Get that in your mind’s eye.

The whole Sanhedrin rushes him across town at daybreak to Pilate’s headquarters.

And they put Him before Pilate to be judged.

#2. JESUS WAS UNJUSTLY JUDGED.

We’re going to see three phases to this wicked trial.

The first is Jesus’ first trial before Pilate.  V.2

“And they began to accuse him, saying, ‘We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king.’”

Notice how the charges have been subtly changed.

It’s all political and not religious.

Subverting the nation?  Has Jesus been leading a revolt?

Opposing payment of taxes to Caesar?

Is that what happened?
Is that what Jesus said?

That’s slander. That’s a bald-faced lie.

Jesus told the people to give to Caesar what was Caesar’s.  And to God what was God’s.

Claiming to be Christ, a king.

Notice how they put the spin on that.  It’s all about politics.  It always has been.

“Pilate, Jesus is a threat to national security!”

There is so much irony dripping here, it’s amazing.

These Jews wish that the Messiah would come to be a threat to Roman national security.  But Jesus isn’t that kind of a Messiah, and they hate it.

So they present Him as that kind of a threat.

But Jesus hasn’t done anything yet that is threatening to Rome.

And Pilate can see it.  V.3

“So Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ ‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied.”

Or more literally, “You have said so.”

That’s a yes but it’s a yes that points out that the words came from you.

And you’ve already made up your mind to put some political spin on it.

“You have said so.”

I am the king of the Jews but that doesn’t mean what these guys are saying that it does.

And here’s the kicker... Pilate gets it!

Look at verse 4.

“Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, ‘I find no basis for a charge against this man.’”

Get that?

Jesus just acknowledged that He is the king of the Jews, but Pilate sees no basis for a charge against Him.

He’s not a threat to Rome.

He’s a threat to the Jewish Religious Establishment.

Pilate was a shrewd politician.  He could see which way the wind was blowing.

“I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

Now, here’s how unjust this trial is.

That should have been the end of it.

Pilate has examined Jesus and should have let Him go.

V.5

“But they insisted, ‘He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.’”

They won’t take no for an answer.  So Pilate tries to pass the buck.  V.6

“On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.”

Herod, who ruled for Rome in the North, was in town for the Passover.

Pilate tries to pass Jesus off on Him.

So, the whole crowd shuffles over to where Herod is staying.

And here’s a momentous occasion.

Jesus and Herod meet.

This is Herod Anitpas, the son of Herod the Great who had tried to kill Jesus at His birth.

This Herod had wanted to kill Jesus, as well.  And had wanted to see Jesus for himself and see if He’d do a miracle for Him.

“Oh the magician!  The one whose cousin John I beheaded.”  V.8

“When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform some miracle. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.”

Can you imagine?

Herod trying again and again to get Jesus’ goat and to get a spectacle out of Him.

But Jesus just stands there.  Royally, Regally, Righteously.

Silent.

This was a fulfillment of Isaiah 53, verse 7.

“He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.”

He was silent.

The apostle Peter, after he recovered from his denial of Jesus in the courtyard, saw this as our example when we are treated unjustly.

He applied this silence of Jesus to us in this way:

Be Like Jesus When Treated Unjustly.

Listen to 1 Peter chapter 2, verses 20-23.  He says, “If you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.  ‘He committed no sin, and no decieit was found in his mouth.’ When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”

Have you recently suffered while doing good?

Have you gotten a raw deal from someone that you didn’t deserve?

You and I need to be like Jesus and not retaliate.
To love even our enemies.

Not to agree with them. Not to give in to their lies!

But not to fight their fire with fire of our own.

Jesus gives us an example for us to walk in His steps.

He was judged so unjustly, but He responded with faith and with love.

His silence didn’t stop His enemies.  V.10.

“The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. [Unrelenting in their unjust accusations!]  Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends–before this they had been enemies.”

Do you see how many are conspiring now against the Lord Jesus?

And how ironic!

He is the King.  But they mock and ridicule Him with a elegant robe.

But you know what?  He’s still innocent.

Obviously innocent!  Wait till you read verse 15!

Here is the next phase of this trial.  Back to Pilate.  V.13

“Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people [notice that a great crowd is now here.  We are going to see mob-psychology at work.], and said to them, ‘You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. [V.15] Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.’”

A little punishment. A whipping perhaps to be more careful in the future so you don’t end up here again.

But Jesus is innocent.  Pilate sees it.  Herod saw it!

“He has done nothing to deserve death.”

But this trial is so unjust that even a declaration of innocence does not save Jesus.  V.18

“With one voice they cried out, ‘Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!’ (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)”

He was guilty.

Barabbas (Son of the Father) was guilty of the things Jesus was accused of.

He was guilty.

And the crowd asks for Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus!

Can you imagine?

But Pilate goes to bat for Jesus (weakly).  V.20

“Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again. But they kept shouting, ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!’”

Jesus said that this would happen, but it’s so shocking to really think of it going down.

“Crucify him! Crucify him!”

He’s innocent!

“Crucify him! Crucify him!”

v.22. “For the third time he spoke to them: ‘Why? What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty. Therefore I will have him punished and then release him.’ But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.”

Oh no.

Oh yes.

Their shouts prevailed.

“Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Pilate gives up.  He’s a spineless wimp at the end of the day.

V.24 

“So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.”

#3. JESUS, THE INNOCENT, TOOK THE PLACE OF THE GUILTY!

Barrabas walked free that day.

And Jesus was led off to be crucified.

Jesus was judged guiltless, but He took the place of the one who was actually guilty.

That was a great injustice.

But it is also the greatest news in the all of the world.

Because it’s what Jesus was doing for you and me.

The Innocent One, Jesus, took our place, the Guilty.

We call this the Great Exchange.

Believe in the Great Exchange.

This is the gospel.

Jesus, the Righteous One took the place of Unrighteous People like you and me.

The Bible says, “Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous (the just, the innocent) for the unrighteous (the unrighteous, the guilty), to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:20).

That’s the greatest injustice ever.

And it’s the greatest news ever, as well.

Our sin on Him.  His righteousness on us.

We are Barrabas!

Messages So Far In this Series:

Certain of Jesus
The Back-Story of Jesus
The Birth of Jesus
Jesus - A Very Special Child
Preparing the Way for Jesus
Jesus Is the Son of God
Jesus in Galilee
Jesus and the Sinners
Jesus Brings Real Joy and Rest
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part One
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Two
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Three
Jesus' Followers Are Different: Part Four
Amazing Jesus
Disappointed with Jesus
Loving Jesus Much
Jesus' Real Family
Jesus Is Lord
Who Is Jesus?
Following Jesus
Sent By Jesus
Q&A With Jesus
Sitting at Jesus' Feet
Jesus Teaches Us to Pray 
Jesus Is Stronger Than Satan
More Blessed Than Jesus' Mom
Jesus and the Judgment to Come
Being Real with Jesus
Jesus and Our Stuff
Be Ready for Jesus' Return
Jesus and Tragedies
Set Free By Jesus
Jesus and the Surprising Kingdom
Jesus and Jerusalem
Jesus at the Party
The Cost of Following Jesus
Jesus and the Lost: Part One
Jesus and the Lost: Part Two
Jesus and the Lost: Part Three
Jesus on Money
Sneering at Jesus
Jesus and the Great Chasm
Jesus Said to His Disciples...
Thanking Jesus
Jesus and the Coming Kingdom
Jesus Says, "Keep Praying"
The Proud, the Humble, and Jesus
Jesus Does the Impossible
Why Did Jesus Come?
Investing for Jesus in 2011
King Jesus
Jesus and the Temple
The Authority of Jesus
Jesus and Caesar
Jesus and the Sadducees
Jesus' Turn
Jesus and the End of the World
The Plan for Jesus to Die
Jesus' Last Lessons
Arresting Jesus