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!


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

The privilege and responsibility of judgment.


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.”


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.


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.


“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.


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.


“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.”


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