March 26, 2023

Jesus on Trial, Pt. 2


Listen as we study, Luke, chapter 23:13-25. Jesus stands on trial before Pontius Pilate and is condemned to die.

Message Transcript
I would like to begin this morning with a question. And here is the question. Is the gospel sweet to your soul? Is the gospel good news to your soul? For many Christians, the gospel is average news. It's old news. It may even be boring news. But for growing Christians, for fruitful Christians, the gospel sounds better to us today than it did last year or the year before that or the year before that. This means, as Christians, we must work hard to remember the glory of the gospel. But it's hard to remember the gospel largely because we live in a world filled with distractions. There are distractions everywhere you look. I read this week that TikTok has 150 million daily users in America. That is a huge number, almost half of the United States. And out of curiosity, how many of you have TikTok just to see this? A safe place, a safe place, One person. I think we have some liars here. I think. Don't lie at church people. Last service, they were more honest than you. I think a lot of hands went up. But TikTok is just one of a million different distractions that we face every day. On top of this, we are getting old as a church. We are getting old. This march, we turn 16 years old as a church, which is pretty exciting. And as we get older, if you are not careful, the glory of the gospel will begin to fade. Recently I heard someone say something that I had to write down. This person was asked the question, How old are you? And this was their response. They said, I am. The clothes at Costco are starting to look pretty good to me age. And I thought, that's how old I am too. That's that's me. And and when the when the church started, no one was that age. And now we have more kids than we've ever had. We have as a church, we have more young people. We have more old people. We have more Costco aged people, whatever that means. And so there is a struggle over the course of time to remember the centrality of the gospel, the significance of the gospel for every aspect of the Christian life. And so here's the principle that I want to look at this morning. Here it is, is that if we want to be a healthy and fruitful church, the gospel must be sweet to us. It must be good news to our souls. Strong churches, healthy churches, fruitful churches are places where the glory of the gospel only increases over time. The gospel only gets sweeter over time. But how do we remember the gospel? How do we how do we not allow the gospel to lose its sweetness to our souls? Well by staring at Christ. It's by beholding the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in our text this morning is a glorious text. It is a wonderful passage. It demonstrates the love of Jesus, the mercy of Jesus, the strength of Jesus, the courage of Jesus, the righteousness of Jesus. It is a text that points to the price of our salvation. What he went through, that we might be redeemed. It is the record of the sixth and final trial. Jesus goes through before He dies on the cross for the sins of the world. It is Jesus Christ before Pontius Pilate. And I want to divide our text into two sections this morning. First, it's what Pilate knows and second, what Pilate does, what Pilate knows, and then what Pilate does. So let's start with what Pilate knows first. Pilate knows Jesus is innocent. Pilate knows Jesus is innocent. The more time Pilate spends with Jesus, the more obvious it is that Jesus is innocent. And in all four gospel accounts, there is a fascinating contrast that we cannot miss. It is the contrast between the Jews, the Jewish leaders and the Jewish crowd and then Jesus. So in Luke 23, verse ten, it says, Meanwhile, the leading priests and the teachers of the religious law stood there shouting their accusations. They are shouting. They are screaming their accusations at Jesus before Pilate. Verse 18. Then a mighty roar rose from the crowd and with one voice they shouted, Kill him and release Brabus to us. Verse 21. But they kept shouting, Crucify him, Crucify him, verse 23. But the mob shouted louder and louder, demanding that Jesus be crucified. They are not making arguments. They are not appealing to the evidence that was presented against Jesus. Rather, they are making demands. They are screaming. Their demands kill Jesus. And what does Jesus do that entire time? He is silent. He does not respond to their accusations. There is a silence that comes from fear. When you are so afraid that you don't say anything. There is a silence that comes from anger. You're so angry you can't even open your mouth. There's a silence that comes from defiance, where you say, I will not allow my enemy to have anything against me. But then there is a silence that comes from peace. Jesus was not fearful. He was not angry. He was not defiant. He was at peace because he is the God of peace. And Pilate was amazed. He was stunned. He couldn't believe what he was looking at. Pilate saw the Jewish leaders foaming at the mouth, eyes bulging out of their head. And then he looks at Jesus. No anger burning in his eyes, no lip quivering fear, no defiance in his posture. Instead, Jesus had the peace of God, which transcends all understanding. It was a terrifying situation. Yet Jesus stood there with courage. Could you imagine a mob demanding your death? Could you imagine standing before a judge who has no interest in justice and Jesus stood there at perfect peace, in perfect peace? And this helps Pilot to reach the correct conclusion. Innocent, not guilty. No grounds for the charge for the charges that are being made against him. Luke 2314 And he said to them, You have brought me this man as one who misleads the people. But in fact, after examining him in your presence, he says you guys brought your best case against him. After examining him in your presence. I have found no grounds to charge this man with those things you accuse him of three times. We're told in the passage that Pilate knows Jesus is innocent. So how does Pilot know Jesus is innocent? By his own evaluation. But then he has another layer. He has another way of understanding the innocence of Jesus. And this is through Herod, his new friend Herod. Luke 2315. Neither has Herod because he sent him back to us. Clearly he has done nothing to deserve death. So he says, Pilot says, I sent Jesus to Herod. Herod looked at him and saw the same thing that I saw. Not guilty. He is innocent. Clearly, he has done nothing wrong. And then Matthew 2719 says Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judge's on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night. And so God sends some sort of dream to Pilate's wife that disturbed her, demonstrating that Jesus was innocent. And I've learned over the years that if you want to get a man's attention, have his wife talk to that man that husbands typically they're going to listen to their wife. And so, God, he disrupts pilots wife's sleep demonstrating that Jesus is innocent in the story. Everyone knows Jesus is innocent, including Judas. The betrayer of Jesus. Matthew 27, verse three. When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die. He was filled with remorse. So he took the 30 pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. I have sinned, he declared, for I have betrayed an innocent man. He is innocent. What do we care? They retorted. That's your problem. The testimony of the Scriptures is that Jesus is innocent. The worst characters in the story. Pilate, Herod and Judas all reached the same conclusion. Innocent, not guilty. Even the Jewish leaders know Jesus is innocent. They could not find a crime against him. So first, what does pilot know? He knows that pilot or he knows that Jesus is innocent. Number two, pilot knows the Jewish leaders were envious. The Jewish leaders were envious. Mark 1510. For he knew it was because of envy that the chief priest had handed him over. Not only does Pilot know Jesus is innocent, he knows that the Jewish leaders were not good hearted. They were not pursuing the truth. They didn't just have bad information. He knew they were full of nonsense. Their lips dripped with envy. Every word revealing the darkness of their hearts. Now, there are three parts to envy. First is discontentment. You cannot be envious if you are content. Discontentment fuels envy. The second part is desire. An envious heart, desires and desires and desires and desires. An envious heart compares and compares and compares and compares. An envious heart wants what someone else has. You want someone else's possessions. You want someone else's relationship, someone else's influence, someone else's money, someone else's health. Good looks, status, intelligence, luck, whatever it is you want, what someone else has. And the third part of envy is resentment. You resent the person or the people who have what you want. Your coworker gets the promotion you wanted and you're not happy for them. You feel unhappy and so you resent your coworker. You think about all the reasons why you should have gotten the promotion instead of your coworker. Even though you didn't apply for the job. You just sit there thinking I should have had it. It should be me. It should be me. It should be me. Envy is the art of poisoning yourself. Envy is a cancer that eats your soul. Envy shoots at others, but wounds yourself. Envy is the enemy of human happiness. And envy is the great enemy of love. Envy blinds us to our blessings and makes us miserable in the face of other people's success. Romans 1215 is a description of love. It says, Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. The people you love dearly are the people. When they succeed, you rejoice with them, and when they suffer, you suffer with them. But it is envy that rejoices when other people weep. It is envy that weeps when other people succeed. And Pilate knew the Jews were trying to kill Jesus because of envy. Jesus was everything the Jews wanted to be, but could not be. Jesus was righteous. They were unrighteous. Jesus taught with authority. They were impotent. Jesus loved people. They were self-centered. Jesus was humble. They were proud. Jesus was right. They were wrong. And so as a result, a flood of envy. Rose up in their heart, demanding the death of the Son of God. And Pilate knew it. He knew that's what was going on. It was obvious to him that Jesus is innocent and they are envious. But what will Pilate do? What will pilot do in response to the knowledge that he has? What is he supposed to do? What would you do if you were in that situation? You don't find bracelets with the letters. What would pilot do? Because pilot is not an example for us to follow. He's an example for us to avoid. So what does he do? Well, at a high level, Pilate compromises. He compromises. He knows the right thing to do but refuses to do it. He lacks the courage of his conviction. Have you ever been in that situation before where you know the right thing to do but you don't like the consequences of doing the right thing? So you fold. You give in. You compromise. You excuse it. This is a very common experience that we have as human beings. So at a high level, he compromises. But this compromise manifests itself in several different ways. First, pilot agrees to have Jesus whipped his compromising heart manifests itself in that he agrees to have Jesus whipped. Verse 17. Therefore, I will have him whipped and then release him. Pilate is trying to hold on to two contradictory ideas at the same time, he says, I find no grounds to charge this man. In other words, Jesus is innocent and at the same time he's saying, I will have him whipped. Meaning Jesus is guilty. And as I was studying the passage this week, I was thinking to myself, Which one is it? Pilate. Make up your mind. Is he innocent or is he guilty? If he is innocent, let him go. If he is guilty, punish him. But if he is innocent, why are you punishing him? And here we see a principle for all of life and how to engage in the world today. And here is the principle on moral issues. Do not compromise with the world, dear brothers and sisters, on moral issues, on issues of obedience to God, on issues regarding the Word of God, the glory of God on moral issues. Do not compromise with the world. Do not compromise with the culture on a moral issues. On issues of preference. It's fine to compromise. Like if my wife Meg wants to go to an Asian restaurant for dinner and I want to go to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. It's good for both of us to compromise a little bit and go to an Asian restaurant for dinner. You know how that works. But on moral issues, don't compromise. On moral issues. Do not compromise. We ought not compromise with the world. And over time, the pressure to give in to the narrative of the world, to give in to the culture is only going to increase. People will call you names, bigot. You're a bigot, you're a homophobe. You hate people, you're crazy. You're anti-science. In the list of accusations will only grow over time. But dear brothers and sisters, do not compromise. Stand. You need to stand on the Word of God and see Pilate compromises largely because he believes a lie. And here's the lie. If I compromise with the world, with the crowd, with the culture, the world will accept me and leave me alone. If I just give in, If I just soften my position. The world will accept me. The world will leave me alone. Pilot says the crowd wants Jesus dead. I want to release him. Let's split the split the difference and make Jesus bleed. I will make him bleed. And then I will release him. And if they see Jesus bleeding, this will satisfy the crowd. But it's not true. It is not true. The truth is that when you compromise on moral issues, you're pushing the first domino over. When you compromise on moral issues, you're just pushing the first domino over, and it becomes incredibly difficult to stop the momentum to stop. The sin that you're unleashing into the world. Compromise begets more compromising because there is a momentum to sin. Recently, I read a poem that struck me. This is what it says. By so called reputable people. We so often are misled and one lie leads to another lie, as we often have heard said. And to cover up one lie, another lie you must tell. Tis a thorny path to heaven and an easy path to hell. One lie leads to another lie. That's all that always is the case. Your first lie. For deception and your second to save face. And when you're faced with the truth, the truth you will deny. And to lie to you comes easy. So you tell another lie. One lie leads to another lie. If what you say is untrue, then another lie you must tell. And your lies won't stop at two. But the truth of guilt will free you, though the truth can be hard to speak. It is always easy and it's easy to be weak. Pilate is a weak man. He's a man without conviction. He has no place to put his feet. He has no place to stand when he's getting pressure. The truth. Jesus Christ, the truth of God incarnate is standing in his presence and he doesn't even deal with Jesus. All he's hearing is the crowd in his ear. Pilate has no interest in the truth. He has no interest for justice. He just wants to survive. He wants to survive this encounter with Jesus. And so he denies the truth. He compromises and he unleashes so much pain into the world. He says Jesus is innocent and therefore I will have him whipped. And this was not a mild beating. The brutality of what Jesus goes through when he is flogged is almost unimaginable. John 19 one. Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. They used a whip, a cat o nine tail whip. It had pieces of leather and had metal balls in it. It had hooks in it, it had broken bones in it, pieces of glass in it. And they would hang you up. They would tie you up. We have a picture here. Strip you down. One Roman soldier on one side, another on the other side. And then they would take turns whipping your back and your back side open. The whip would stick in your flesh and then they would tear it out. Over and over and over again. Often the victims would die. You would bleed to death. So this is not just a beat em up a little bit. This is bring Jesus within an inch of his life. Verse two The soldiers also twisted together a crown of thorns, put it on his head and clothed him in a purple robe. Almost certainly the Romans would have used silver tree thorns. Here's a picture of the thorns. These trees were all over in Jerusalem. There's a little debate about what kind of thorns were put on his head. But it would have looked something like this. Not little thorns. Thorns that would be pressed into his scalp. Verse three. And they kept they kept coming up to him and saying, Hail king of the Jews and were slapping his face. Pilate went outside and said to them, Look, I'm bringing him out to you to let you know I find no grounds for charging him. The moral insanity of what he's doing is just outrageous. If you find no grounds for charging him, why did you bring him within an inch of his life? He's compromised. Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, Here is the man. And there he experienced more cries for his death, more mockery, more and more people spitting on him. Because of pilots compromising heart. Pilot's plan was to have Jesus brutally beaten, thinking the crowds. When the crowd saw him bloody, they would relent. But Pilate misreads the crowd. And the blood dripping off of Jesus's face and back only intensified the cries for his death. But Pilate has one more card up his sleeve. He has one more attempt to try to release Jesus, and it's another compromise Pilate offers Barabbas. Matthew, 2715 At the Festival of the Governor. At the festival, the governor's custom was to release to the crowd a prisoner they wanted. So the crowd had an opportunity to pick. We want this guy to come out of prison. Verse 16. At that time, they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, Who is it you want me to release to you, Barabbas or Jesus? Who is called Christ Pilot misreads the crowd again, thinking that maybe the crowd will cry out for Jesus and Jesus will be able to go free. But to his horror, they choose Barabbas. They say, Give us Barabbas. We want Barabbas and crucify Jesus. Eventually, Pilate. Gives in The crowd's voices win and he crucifies Jesus. Now, what do we do with these truths? How do we apply these truths to our lives? Well, what we're looking at here is the price of our salvation. What did it cost the Lord Jesus? To offer us salvation to forgive our sins. Well, this is exactly what we're looking at. We're looking at the price of our salvation. And there is one thought I want you to focus in on. And here it is. It's. It's that I want you to see the glory of Barabbas. The glory of Barabbas. Barabbas might be the clearest picture in all the Bible of how the gospel works. Why is it such good news for our souls? Why is the gospel such good news for the world? Well, all week long I've been thinking about Barabbas and verse 19. It says he had been thrown into prison for a rebellion that had taken place in the city and for murder. Imagine being Barabbas. He has this idea. Here's the idea. Okay, guys, we're going to go overthrow the Romans. And he gets his gang together. He gets his people together. He's leading a revolution against Rome. And he's like, We're doing it on this day at this time. Let's get our weapons. The time comes. They pick up their weapons, they start the revolution. There's a fight that takes place in Jerusalem, and he actually kills Roman soldiers. But then pretty quickly, the Roman soldiers are able to get control of him. They arrest him, beat him up pretty good, put him in jail. He has a trial before Pilate. He's condemned to death. He's guilty. He's thrown back in prison, and he's waiting for his own crucifixion, waiting to be crucified. There were three men who were going to be crucified that day. Barabbas was the third. And while in prison. He's sitting there. Hopeless, Guilty, condemned. I mean, what is he supposed to do? Shortly he knows he's going to go to the cross, but then he hears the commotion of the crowd. Arguing back and forth, the cries for Jesus to be crucified. And then he hears a Roman jailer coming quickly down the hall. Fumbling with his keys. Hurry up, Bravas. Get up. Pilot needs you. Brabus gets up wondering, what is this all about? Whatever pilot needs me for, it cannot be good. Brabus is rushed. Onto the stage in front of the people in front of a roaring crowd, boiling with rage, crying. For blood. And he standing next to Jesus. Can you see Jesus there? Thorns smashed into his head. Blood pooling at his feet. His very life draining from his body. Then pilot asks the question to the crowd. Whom shall I release to you? Now the crowd has a choice. Jesus Christ. Or Barabbas, the murderer, the notorious criminal. Everyone knew that he was guilty and everyone knew Jesus was innocent. Now, the name Barabbas is an interesting name. Baa means son of. Abba means father. His name means son of the father. Many scholars believe that. Matthew 27, verse 16, indicates that Barabbas, his first name was Jesus. Jesus, Barabbas. So this is their option. Do you want. Jesus, Barabbas, the notorious criminal, the one they know to be a murderer? No. To be guilty. Or do you want Jesus Christ the Son of God, the one that all the Scriptures point to, the creator and sustainer of everyone and everything. The King of the Jews, the king of kings, the king over all. Who do you want? And they scream with one voice. Give us Barabbas. Pilot says done. Done. Brabus go free. Jesus to. The cross. And if you want to understand the gospel, the place to start is by understanding that we are Barabbas. Where are you at in the story? You are, Barabbas. Guilty. Condemned. Worthy of death without hope. Locked in a prison cell awaiting our execution. And yet, in Christ, we live. In Christ. We live in Christ. We are set free in Christ. We have a new life in Christ. We are forgiven in Christ. We've been reconciled to God. We have been given eternal life. Why? Because Jesus went to the cross for us. We live because He died. We are forgiven because He was condemned. We are made acceptable to God because Jesus was rejected. We are honored because Jesus was humiliated. And so what is the solution for our sin? You know that you've sinned. You know that your sin is a problem. Who wants to make the case you've not sinned? Who wants to make the case that your sin is not a problem? Do you believe in God? Do you believe there's judgment when you stand in the presence of God? I'm sure you do. Your conscience testifies to that reality. But what is the solution for sin? Is it your moral effort? Is it being a good person? Is it going to church? Is it giving your money away? What is the solution for your sin? Well, the solution is substitution. The solution is substitution. We need a substitute. We need someone to die in our place. We need someone to pay for our sins. All of our sins will be paid for. We will either pay for them ourselves in hell or we will. We will look to Christ where all of our sins were placed on Him. All sin will be paid for by death and hell. Or at the cross. We need a substitute. And this is so counterintuitive to our flesh. Our flesh teaches us time and time again. You need to work harder. You need to trust yourself. You need to be a better person. You need to do this or that. And if you can just get to a place where you're a good person, whatever that means, then God will accept you. But that's not the way it works. None of us are righteous. None of us have earned our salvation. All of us need a substitute. You know, with my kids over the years, I've tried to teach them this principle a hundred times that the solution to our sin is substitution. It's not moral effort. It's not being good. We need a substitute. We need a substitute. One time one of my kids came home. They were pretty excited and they said, Dad, I shared the gospel with one of my friends. I said, Good job, child. Good job. What did you tell them? And they said, You know, Dad, I told them that the solution is the Constitution. And I said, I said, No, child, that's blasphemy. That's blasphemy. It's not. It's a substitution. We need a substitute. And that's what you need. Every one of us. We need a substitute in Jesus. Is that substitute? The bad news is that we are great sinners. The bad news is that we are great sinners. The good news is that the Lord Jesus Christ is a great savior. He is the savior that we need. He is the one who died that we might go free. He is the one who paid the price of our sin that we might be forgiven. And if you're here this morning and you're not a Christian, I would urge you to commit your life to Christ. Have you done that before? Have you ever understood the Gospel? Have you ever understood that Christ is your substitute? Have you ever looked to Christ and put your faith in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on your behalf? Have you ever understood that salvation is a gift to be received by faith? If you've never committed your life to Christ, you ought to do that. You ought to do that. You will die. You will face the. Judgment of God and only those in Christ. Will be redeemed. Only those in Christ will be saved. And if you are Christian, you already know Christ. I would just encourage you this morning to rejoice in the hope of the Gospel. I just want to encourage you to be thanking God for what He has done for you. See the Gospel of grace in the Christian life. It's like oil and an engine. You know, obedience, doing the right thing. It's like the mechanics of an of an engine. The way that that an engine functions. But see, the gospel is the oil. And see if the gospel is not. In you. If you're not rejoicing in God and what he has done for you, if you're not overflowing with gratitude over time, that engine is going to burn out. You won't make it very far. It's God. So God intends from start to finish for the gospel of. Grace to be the oil in our lives. To be that which motivates it moves us. And so as Christians, we must never get tired of hearing about what Christ. Has done. For us as Christians. We must. We must never think, Oh, this is just for lost. The gospel is just for lost people. It's just for immature people. It's just for new believers. It's like, No, no, no. We need the good news of the gospel. If we are to be all that God wants us to be.

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