- Matthew 26, 27
- John 18, 19
- Luke 22, 23
Lord God, Thank you for your goodness and your mercy. Like you for the love you has shown us by Jesus Christ our savior. Take these words you have given me for this evening and let them be a help and a benefit. Let souls be set free. Let hearts be drawn to you. And may you be glorified in all things. Let it be in Jesus name. Amen.
It is good to be here with you all, and be back together. I thank God he has been so good to us the past week. I want to pass greetings again from the brothers in the other churches. I had a chance to talk with Bro. Simon in Kenya this week, and there is really a great move of the spirit going on there. And I have heard Bro. Robert is over in Kenya on a mission trip too. So lets keep them in prayer.
I believe God is truly moving. And there are some people coming together, who want to put Jesus first. And that just makes my heart rejoice. When people put Jesus first, amazing things happen. And when we get to that place, were Jesus is taking first place. First place in our lives. First place in our affections. First place in preaching. First place in our churches. When Jesus is in first place, we are going to see amazing things happen. And we are seeing them already. Souls are being set free.
Miracle are happening. Bro Jesse, that miracle you talked about this morning. Those are outstanding miracles. God is bearing witness of something, if people will look. My own father, here this past week. It was a miracle. The doctor was so shocked, he went out to the waiting room, and he told everyone sitting there. There was a miracle. He went outside the building, told people sitting in the parking lot. There was a miracle. God is with us.
We look up the street where we came from, and death is reigning. They was having a funeral every there for quite a while. And truth is, a number of them are dead today because of the actions of a preacher. A preacher of death.
But thank God we have life here today. And God is working miracles. And as it is in his will, he will continue to do miracles. You know, I never listened to one thing they had to stay since the day I left. But I am sure we are done supposed to be struck by lightning, living in the poor house, dying of cancer, and everything else by know. And you know, that’s all up to God.
But truth is, we are doing better than ever. I seen more real miracles the past week than I saw in the past ten years where I came from. God is with us, and he is making sure we know it.
I have just a little message tonight, picking back up in the story where I left off last time. I have been looking at the footprints of Jesus, leading up to the cross. We started by looking at the character of Judas, and the events leading up to his betrayal. Then last time we looked at the garden of Gethsemane, and just what Jesus experienced there. The great agonizing turmoil of emotions he endured. And we are going to pick tonight and look at his trial.
And if you would like to turn in your bible tonight, I am going to pick up in John 18. And there are very many verses of scripture on the trial of Jesus in the gospels. Each of the writers recorded unique details. And so we will jump around just a little bit because I want to try and get each aspect of the trial in this message.
There are many avenues we could follow in looking at these verses. We could look at Jesus through it all, and how he handled it. We could look at his disciples, put ourselves in their shoes. We could look at the prophesies and types being fulfilled. There are quite a few different aspects we could spent a lot of time examining. And truthfully, you could probably spend four or five messages just looking into the trial of Christ. But Lord willing I am going to try and just do most of it in one message tonight.
I won’t quite get done with everything I want to look at, and some I will save till next time. But my main focus tonight is going to be on the character of the men involved in the trial of Jesus. Especially the religious leaders. What kind of men where they? What can we learn about their character from the things they say. How did they put together this plot to kill Jesus? What were their motivations? What tactics did they use? And what does it tell us about them?
So let me start reading.
3 Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.
They come in the dark to capture the light of the world. They come with weapons to take violently the prince of peace. And Jesus could have scorched the earth, called fire down from heaven on them right here. But what does he do instead?
4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.
6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
The power of God knocked every last one of them off their feet. As Jesus told Pilate, you have no power over me unless it is given to you. Jesus could have called twelve legions of angels, but he chose to go with. He allowed himself to be arrested. Through this trial, and this crucifixion, Jesus may look like a helpless man. But Jesus was never their helpless victim. He was the Lord glory, at every step of the way. And he suffered these things willingly, for you and me. For our sakes.
7 Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.
8 Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:
9 That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
10 Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.
11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?
12 Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,
So now Jesus is all alone. He was arrested. He was taken away for his trial. And the whole trial starts with Annas.
13 And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
If you read history, you will find that Annas was the old high priest. Several years before this, Annas got in trouble with the Romans. And the Romans had forced him to resign as high priest. He no longer has that title when Jesus is arrested. But as we can see in this trial of Jesus, Annas was still wielding power behind the scenes. And that is our first little clue into the character of these men we are looking at tonight.
There is a figure in the shadows. Someone pulling strings behind the curtains. Caiaphas was the high priest, in name. He was the man who got up in front of the people. He is the leader everyone was looking at. He was wearing the high priestly garments. He was playing the part of high priest. But this man Annas, he is the real power. He the one running the show.
The public thought Caiaphas was running the show. The Romans thought Caiaphas was running the show. But they were fooled. Annas was the man pulling the strings. He was the man with his hands on the levers of power. And when they arrested Jesus, Annas was the first place they took him.
13 And led him away to Annas first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year.
Jump down to verse 19. And maybe Lord willing, next time we might spend some time looking at Lord’s disciples. But for now, I just want to focus on these men who are after Jesus.
19 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
20 Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
21 Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.
Jesus has a pretty straight forward answer. He had preached to them, they all heard him preach. They saw what kind of a life he lived. They knew they couldn’t really lay a finger on his life. They knew what kind of a man he was. They knew what he believed. His testimony and his faith was on full display for all of them to see.
Why then were they even asking these questions of Jesus? They are not asking Jesus questions out of a genuine interest. There is no real curiosity there about what he believes. There is no desire in them to understand. They are asking because they are looking for an excuse to get rid of him. They have been trying over and over to draw Jesus into a trap. They have been critical of him and his ministry of years at this point. And if we went back to earlier chapters, we could read about how they plotted.
They hated Jesus. They hated him because he was kind. They hated him because he upstaged them. They hated him because people loved him more than them. They hated him because his message set people free. And they were losing control. And they were looking for a way to get rid of him. Because they wanted to keep the people under their control.
They wanted to rule people’s lives themselves. Rather than let God rule their lives. And that the motive is behind their questions.
Bro. Jordon has talked about boundaries a little bit. Jesus did not owe these people an explanation. He had no obligation to answer their questions. And we have likewise have no obligation to go along with people who are out to hurt us and destroy us. God have mercy on their wicked souls. But we can be just like Jesus, and ignore them. That is not a sin. It is our right as a child of God, and the same right Jesus Christ exercised here.
These wicked have already decided what they are going to do before Jesus ever came into that room. And what they are doing in this trial of Jesus, is just an attempt to legitimatize their evil.
You and I have no obligation to help people legitimize their evil deeds. We have the same right Jesus did. We have a right to protest evil by refusing to cooperate with the plots of a wicked men. But don’t be surprised when you refuse to cooperate if they start hitting you. Because that’s exactly what they did to Jesus when he refused to cooperate.
22 And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?
Now, here is the thing. Jesus had not spoken a single word to the high priest. The high priest was not even there, as we read in verse 24. Jesus was talking to Annas. The high priest’s father in law. So just catch it, the man who slaps Jesus is also lying to him.
These men are lairs. And they are lying from the moment they start talking to Jesus. Annas is pretending to be something he is not. And these men are giving Annas a respect and an authority he has no right to. And they slap Jesus around because he is not willing to play along with their charade.
Annas has not been the high priest for years. But here we see him still acting like he is charge. He is the one who sent these men to arrest Jesus. That’s why they brought him back to his house. Annas is at the heart of this plot against Jesus.
So there’s three things I want to make sure we notice in verse 22. They are hitting Jesus because he has refused to cooperate. They are lying to Jesus about who the high priest is. And what they say is giving us a glimpse into the corrupt politics going on among the leaders in Jerusalem. There is a deception going on over who is in charge. There verse demonstrates to us that there is a figure in the shadows. Their leadership, at the highest level, is carrying on a deception.
And they slap Jesus, they are angry he won’t go along with their charade . And Jesus responds to them.
23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?
They may not have liked what Jesus said, but it was true. And you notice, they made no attempt whatsoever to even respond to Jesus. They just ignore his words, and keep moving their evil plot forward. That is how evil men are. They don’t care what you say, they just want you gone.
And Jesus is there, he is not running away. He is prepared to let them kill him. But that is not enough for them. Its not enough that he is prepared to sit there quietly and let them kill him. They are angry because he won’t legitimize what they are doing.
24 Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.
Verse 24 tells the truth of the story. Caiaphas was not there, and Annas was pretending to be something he was not. He was exercising a power and an authority he had no right to. That in itself is a sin. Pretending to be something you are not. That comes from a prideful heart. And pride in that form is certainly a sin.
And there are a lot of people in the world today pretending to be something they are not. I am high priest so and so. I am prophet so and so. I am apostle so and so. And they will seek to kill and destroy people who won’t go along with their charade. But Jesus told the Ephesian church, he said you have tried to those claimed to be apostles and found them to be liars.
And there are men who claim to be a whole lot of things, but in the end, sometimes they just turn out to be a liar. And we don’t owe those liars anything more than Jesus owed to this liar Annas. He can call himself high priest all he wants. But Annas was no high priest, and he knew it.
Turn over to Matthew 26 now, and we will see what happens after Jesus gets sent from Annas house to Caiaphas. And again, keep in mind, I am mainly just focusing on the character of these wicked men. I want us to see how they operated. I want us to see their methods. I want us to think about their character.
Matthew 26:57-75 King James Version (KJV)
57 And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.
Now in these verses, we start to get to see how deep this conspiracy against Jesus goes
It was all planned out. All the council was already there waiting. Somehow, before Jesus was even arrested, they already all knew there was going to be a trial. Jesus has been accused in secret, he has been arrested in secret, and his verdict was determined in secret, before he even enters this room. And that in itself, is another evil and ungodly sin.
The fact that they had plotted behind the scenes, the fact they had already planned out what they were going to do. Before they ever brought Jesus in the room. That is by itself an evil sin. A heart that devices wicked plans – that is an abomination before the Lord (Prov 6:18)
And when you ever get around people like that, plotters. People trying to draw you into a plot against someone. Plotting out an evil plan, working on people behind the scenes. It is the product of evil heart. There is nothing righteous or godly about it. It is a tactic of Satan. And anyone, God don’t care if it is the high priest himself. Anyone who does something like that is acting wickedly. And that is exactly what these men did to Jesus.
So recognize this: the fact that all these men are already in the room waiting for Jesus. Knowing about all these things in advance. Willingly going along with a plot. Shows something is badly wrong. Every one of these men have compromised with evil. And any other group of people who operates the way this group of men operated. They are putting themselves into the same category as the wicked and ungodly men who murdered Jesus.
59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
That is quite a verse. There is so much wrong with that verse. It just drips with slime.
They sought false witness to put him to death.
You realize how backwards that is? In our courts, you have a trial first, and then you have a verdict second, right? But here, they have a verdict already first. And they are going to have the trial second. Its backwards. And its backwards in an evil way. Its backwards in a way that makes a mockery of justice. It backwards in a way that makes a mockery of common decency. This thing they are doing, they are trying to make it look like a legitimate trial. But really it is a perversion of justice.
You have to be a pretty evil judge to have a verdict before there is a trial. You have to be a pretty evil judge to judge someone, without giving any consideration to the defense. In fact, you have to be just as devilish as the murderers of Jesus to operate that way. The bible says he who judges a matter before he checks out the whole story, to him it is a shame and a sin. (Prov 18:13) So make no mistake, it is nothing but wickedness to behave the way these men are behaving. They don’t have a scriptural leg to stand on.
Have you ever been in a situation, where you are called in before an evil judge, who hands down judgement and verdict. And they never even bothered to have a fair look into things? They never even bother to say, why did you do that? Judgement is handed down without an investigation or a trial. They don’t even have the common courtesy to pick up the phone and say, hey, tell me about this. I have been in that kind of thing.
And I have seen evil men carry out that kind of judgment over and over and over again. And I want you to know, that is of the devil. People who operate that way are not inspired by the Holy Spirit. Because that is not the way God instructed matters to be judged in the church or in Israel. And the spirit of God will not lead men to judge matters in a way that violates the bible.
Men and judges to operate that way would fit in right here with the murderers of Jesus
They have a verdict to hand down before they even talked to you
God have mercy on such a wicked and ungodly men who do such things
No man is above the word of God
And when they start to act that way, like theses priests are acting
Like the pope of Rome
They have forfeited their right to hold a position
These priests have forfeited all right to hold positions as servants of God
No believer is every going listen to these men ever again
Because they condemned the innocent holy one
And we don’t need to obey men who act like this anymore than we need to obey the Pope of Rome
Because that is exactly who they are acting like. And when men have that determination in their heart, there is really nothing you can do about it. All you can do is what Jesus did
Stand back and let their deeds reveal them for what they are. Let their wicked deeds bear witness of the blackness of their hearts.
They Have perverted justice, having a verdict before they have a trial. But that is only one of the slimy aspects of this verse. Let me read verse 59 again.
59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
There is a word there that is important to catch. It’s the word sought. Sought. That is a verb, that is something you actively do. They sought false witness. They knew what they were doing. They did it on purpose.
And I puzzle just a little bit in myself. How do you do that? I mean procedurally, technically. How do you even pull something like that off? I guess I have such an innocent mind, its hard to me to comprehend how you would actually even go about something like this. How do you look for false witnesses? Do you hang a sign out, false witnesses wanted.
Somehow they had to advertise what they were looking for. Someone must have been whispering behind the scenes. Someone was looking for false accusations they could use to get rid of Jesus. And you have to wonder, how did they do that? They did something to go find these people. Somehow they said, we need dirt on Jesus. They were out looking for dirt they could use to get rid of him. That is so evil, isn’t it.
Verse 59 really brings home to us just how corrupt this whole plot against Jesus is. It brings home to us just how evil these men are in their hearts. You can’t have any decency in you to act like this. Destroying the life of an innocent man means nothing to them. And they have no problem using every dirty trick in the book to do it. They have no problem abusing their power to do it. They have no problem perverting justice to do it.
They are utterly corrupt. And their actions bear witness to what is in their souls. And it is something that is black and ugly. Something that could only be washed away and cleansed by the very man who they were in the process of destroying Jesus.
If they knew the promise of the God, and who it was that stood before them. They would have asked of him for living water, and they would never thirst again. But instead, through their wickedness, they forfeited all hope of salvation. And they jumped headfirst into the pit of hell. And before they are finished, they are going to drag everyone along with them that they can.
59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death;
60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses,
So they went through all kind of false witnesses looking for something they could use
It says there were many. It gives you a sense that they waded into the great gossip swamp, and they called out to all the creatures that live there. The lizards and frogs and snakes and slimy things that live in the great gossip swamp. The land of gossip is a slimy filthy place. You want to go somewhere that will defile you.
The great gossip swamp is a place to go if you want defiled. And these wicked men had to go in there with all those slimy characters to find just the right ones who could give the false witness they were looking for. And lets read what the false witnesses said in verse 61.
61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.
Now, Jesus did say something like that, didn’t he. You know, when Jesus had that conversation, he was speaking privately to the apostles. It was a private conversation
But someone was there eavesdropping.
And one thing I have wondered about this trial, we read the verses where Jesus said. Everything I have taught, I taught openly and have hid nothing. You remember when we read that? But if you think back, how many times did Jesus tell the apostles things. And when he got done he said. Keep this to yourselves, tell no man. There were things Jesus preached publicly. But there were also things Jesus told his closest friends, privately. Things he did not preach openly Because it was not something to be preached, it was a private matter. And this thing here they are using. They are taking something he said to his friends in private. Something that has nothing to do with any of them. And they are going to use that to destroy Jesus.
Jesus had a public ministry. And he had private relationships with his friends. I want to ask you a question. Was it fair for these men to condemn Jesus for something he said privately to his friends? I would actually tell you these eavesdroppers were sinners. To use someone’s private words to destroy them. Those are wicked people. Those are people you cannot trust. People who listen in on other people’s conversations to find juicy gossip to repeat. They are sinners, that is a sin.
And people who betray confidence, that is a sin too. Betraying confidence, is a sin
It is called faithlessness. It is a work of the flesh. And anyone who has done these kind of things or participated in these kind of things. You need to know you have sinned. And the men who led you down that path caused you to sin. You sinned against God. And you sinned against the person you did it do. Shame on you.
You have acted like the murderers of Jesus. Especially when you realize that these witnesses did not even tell the truth. Because if you notice, Jesus never actually said those words. They are twisting what Jesus said. This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. Tha is not what Jesus said. Its different enough that the apostles are justified in calling these men false witnesses. These men are misleading people about what Jesus said.
And false witnesses do that, they will make a lie, but sprinkle it with a little truth. It’s a shame. Jesus knows these men are telling lies. And of course, these priests and elders know they are telling lies too. Because they were the ones seeking false witnesses.
And once again, Jesus is refusing to cooperate. He is silently protesting their evil. He is letting their actions show everyone just what kind of people they are.
And once again, they are angry that he won’t play along with them. They are angry that he won’t play along with their travesty of justice. They are angry that he won’t even acknowledge their legitimacy. He won’t do anything to grant them credibility. And let read in verse 62 how they react.
62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?
These men have said some disturbing things Jesus. What is this about? Tell us the details. We have a right to know.
But Jesus is being quiet. He is letting them do their thing. But they won’t leave him alone.
They keep coming after him, trying to get him to talk. Trying to get him to say something they can use against him.
And their utter dishonesty is on display in this verse. These men are not interested in what Jesus has to say. They are not interested in an explanation. They are only interested in getting to their verdict. They are only interested in trying to make what they are doing appear legitimate. The truth don’t matter to Caiaphas. All that matters is that they make Jesus look bad before they kill him.
They are evil men. These kind of things can only come out of an evil heart. It only take a few evil hearts working together to drag everyone else along with them. But Jesus is having no part of it.
63 But Jesus held his peace, And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.
And here at last, Jesus finally says something
64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.
65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy.
My! This is really an incredible thing. It proves here they are not at all interested in any explanation Jesus may give. It never even crossed the high priests mind that Jesus could be telling him the truth. And that’s how it is.
Some men’s minds are so dark, they are so deluded by the system they are in, that no amount of truth is ever going to change their mind. Their hearts are so full of the sin of pride, they would never even consider it a possibility that could be wrong. The thought that Jesus could be telling them the truth is so far outside of their realm of thinking, its not even a consideration. Its not even a possibility.
If what Jesus is saying is true, it is going to upend their lives. And they can’t handle it. They don’t want to even consider it.
And you see the absolute rage they react with, when they hear the truth. Jesus words cuts so deep into the false beliefs of these men. It cuts so deep into their corrupt desires. They cannot even for a second consider that he might be telling them the truth.
So they rip their clothes. They put their fingers in their ears. And they start crying blasphemy. Blasphemy. And you know, when people start calling the truth blasphemy, there is not a whole lot you can do for them. Their minds are too warped. They are so far down a path of wrong thinking, there is nothing you or I can do to rescue them.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. They are going to have to choose pull the fingers out of their ears, and open up their eyelids – and look and hear. And as long as they have their eyes and ears closed, there is no point in even trying to show them anything. They will refuse to hear. They would do the same thing if Jesus Christ himself was there telling them the truth.
And look here at verse 66. What does the high priest say.
66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.
That is what the council said. He is guilty of death. Because he told them the truth. And they hated it. Did you know men will kill and destroy you for speaking the truth? That is what happened to Jesus. Jesus is the answer. Jesus is the way. Jesus is the hope. And there is no other.
And that is what Jesus was trying to show people. That is what we today are trying to show people. But men hate that. Because they have things besides Jesus they want to insert in there. And they attack and destroy Jesus and the people who preach Jesus
Because it is a threat to them.
I think of everything Jesus had did. The sick who were healed. The poor who were helped. The broken hearted who were uplifted. So many lives had been helped by Jesus, so many good things were done. Jesus wanted to be their friend. But they chose to be his enemy.
Instead of seeing Jesus as someone who was trying to help them. They saw Jesus as a threat, a threat to their power, a threat to their influence. A threat to their plans
Jesus did nothing at all to deserve their abuse, their cruelty, their rejection, and their death sentence. But they didn’t care.
For them, it was just pragmatism. It was them, or it was Jesus. That was their way of thinking. And since they were in the judgement seat, they were going to choose themselves. And so they condemned an innocent man. But the truth is, the ones they condemned was actually themselves. They were just too blind and too proud to realize it.
There is one thing about verse 66. And this is something I wonder about. I will share it with you. Because I think it adds just another layer to the level of corruption of these men.
It says here that the council said kill Jesus. It doesn’t say that a single person in that council rose up to defend Jesus. Not one person. So where was Nicodemus? Where was Joseph of Arimathea? Where was the men on the council who believed on Jesus?
I can’t believe that those men sat by and let them condemn Jesus without saying a single word in his defense. I can’t believe they sat there and went along with this judgement.
So I will tell you what I think. I think they were not there. I think these wicked men were careful who they invited to the council. There were men who had a right to be there. Men who had a right to speak in Jesus defense. And men who would have done so. But they purposefully excluded.
Caiaphas and Annas had been spying around to figure out who Jesus’s friends were. And they were careful to not invite any of them when the decisions were made. And by the time Nicodemus and Joseph figured out what was going on. It was too late.
And if that is right, it’s just one more indication of how corrupt these leaders were. And I will say this. I don’t know everything. There are things in the bible that I think its very likely, but its not quite clear. And I don’t feel bad to talk about things like that. I just want to make sure I present it to you that way. It could be this way. Or maybe not. And you are smart people, you have the spirit of God same as I do, and you can make up your own minds.
Have you ever heard a preacher say that before? Not where we come from, that’s for sure. That is part of the reason things were in such a mess.
It’s a preacher’s job to tell you the best he knows. And its our job to think about what he says, and let the spirit of God show us as an individual what to do with it. And as a preacher, I need to realize that and trust God to work in your life as individuals. I am not your God. I am your friend, who is pointing you to God. And I am not trying to get between you and him.
Preachers are supposed to respect people’s individual relationship with God. That is the very thing we are supposed to be helping people to grow in. But there are a lot of preacher who do the exact opposite. They stunt people’s spiritual growth. Instead of teaching people to walk in the spirit and be dependent upon God. They teach you to be dependent on the preacher.
A good preacher is there to point you to God. Not to point you to themselves. Any preacher that does that, points to themselves, you need to run away from them. He who speaks of himself seeks his own glory, said Jesus. I don’t ever want to be in that category.
But at any rate, I wonder about Nicodemus and Joseph, and just where they were when all this was going on. And if I had to guess, I’d say they had been left out on purpose. And if you have a better thought, you are entitled to it. God bless you.
But getting back to the message here. These corrupt leaders had stacked the deck at every level before this thing ever began. And corrupt is the right word to use for people who behave that way. There is absolutely nothing godly, or righteousness, or appropriate in the way they went about this thing. It was a seek and destroy mission, and this trial was just a show to give it a cloak of righteousness.
And you know, probably every last one of these people went to hell for what they did. The false witnesses. The handpicked council. The corrupt leaders. They are probably every last one in hell today, suffering for what they did to our innocent savior.
Better to have a millstone hung around your neck and cast into the sea, than to offend, or harm, the least of these. Their cloak of righteousness fooled a lot of people. But it never fooled for God, not for a minute.
67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands,
68 Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?
They hurled terrible abuses at our Lord. They humiliated him. They degraded him. They mocked him. They treated him like he was worthless. They spit at him, they foamed at the mouth with rage. The man who had told them. They had turned the temple into a den of thieves. The man who told them they were whited sepulcher hypocrites. The man who told them they were oppressing the poor and the widows and needy. The one who seemed to get so angry and took a whip to drive out the moneylenders from the temple
They hated Jesus for all of that.
And all that seething hatred for Jesus came to the surface. That pent up rage and hate came pouring out them. Against the innocent man that had dared to tell them the truth. And after they got done beating and mocking and humiliating Jesus they sent him off to the dungeon to spend the night. And there in that dungeon, our innocent savior laid, suffering, waiting for what was to come next.
1 When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:
Their sham trial was over. Now it was time to get on with killing Jesus. They just had to find someone willing to do their dirty work. So here they send him to Pilate in verse 2.
2 And when they had bound him, they led him away, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.
Turn over to John 18, and we will pick up the story there
Jesus Before Pilate
28 Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the Passover.
Again, I just want to point out the hypocrisy of these corrupt men. To them holiness was just some outward thing. It is what you could call ritual holiness, or symbolic holiness. They were very concerned about that ritual symbolic holiness. And if they went into the judgement hall, they would be symbolically defiled.
So on one hand, they had the symbols of holiness. But on the other hand, there were totally lacking in the real thing that those symbols pointed to. The ritual holiness of the law was just a pattern, it was just symbolism, pointing to something greater that was to come. It was pointing to a true holiness that would come from the heart.
But these men had no understanding of true holiness. They only understood symbolic and ritual holiness. They were concerned about not defiling their symbolic and ritual holiness. But it never crossed the minds their minds that they were already defiled by the murder in their hearts.
Their hatred of an innocent man. Their desire to make someone suffer. The lust for power that made them stomp out Jesus. They were already defiled. They were not defiled with ritual and symbolic uncleanness, like going into a judgement hall. Even worse, they were defiled with genuine uncleanness, the kind that comes from an wicked heart.
These men were a long way down a wrong road. They were badly confused. They had confused the symbol with the genuine article. They were so wrapped up in the types and the patterns and the symbols. They had completely lost sight of what it was all pointing to. They had confused the symbols for the genuine article.
Jesus has already told these men this. If you go back to Matthew 23, Jesus preached a whole sermon to these very men, explaining these things to them. And this verse demonstrates just how fundamentally they misunderstood the bible. And it was through that misunderstanding that they justified all the evil things they did. And that is why they could not let go of it.
Because to admit that their whitewash was not good enough. Meant acknowledging they had black and ugly hearts. Hearts of men who were no doubt abusive to their wives.
Abusive to their children. Guilty of all kinds of lusts and deviancy. Hearts full of pride and arrogance. Men who stole money, from their churches, from their jobs. Men who abused all kinds of people around them, in the most disgusting ways. Their whitewash was there to fool themselves as much as anyone else. Because they were not prepared to admit to what was in their life.
They had murder in their hearts. But their phylacteries were beautiful. They were destroying an innocent man. But they paid their tithe of mint and cummin. They fasted at prayed every week. But they devoured widows houses. They had no concern at all with genuine holiness. The had omitted the weightier matters. They were only concerned with symbols of holiness.
And that is one more characteristic we can see in these wicked men. They have an obsession with ritual and symbolic holiness. Yet they have a total lack of genuine holiness. And as a result, Pilate has to go outside to even talk with them. Because they can’t go into his palace lest they be defiled.
29 Pilate then went out unto them, and said, What accusation bring ye against this man?
30 They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.
Now, catch here yet one last characteristic of these religious devils that we will look at tonight. Catch there how these men accuse Jesus to Pilate. They base this whole thing on their own reputation. They say, Our reputation is good enough that you should trust us
Take our word for it, Jesus is a dirt bag. Can you recognize what they are doing here? They are making a power play with Pilate. They are banking on their own authority and their own reputation to push through and get their way.
Really, that shows that the they feel like they are above the law. They don’t need to follow the proper rules or the proper channels. They think they deserve a special treatment. They have a special set of rules they can follow. They want Pilate to just dispense with the correct way of handling things. Lets just expedite this thing, and get it over with. There is no need to investigate, our word is good enough, go ahead and kill him Pilate.
Have you ever met anyone like that? They make terrible accusations, they deal out harsh judgement, but they have no evidence. And they expect you to just take their word for it, because they are a somebody. And if anyone asks a question, they respond just like these men did to Pilate. “If these things were untrue, do you think we would have said them? How dare you question us?”
This is just one more symptom of how corrupt these men are. Jesus never got angry and anyone who asked him an honest question. And he always was willing to answer people. Even the ones who came around tempting him. And I say again, if you see anyone carrying on like the murderers of Jesus. You need to get away from those people
They are dangerous.
Because before this story is over, these religious leaders are going to drag the whole crowd along with them into condemning an innocent man. They’re not going to stop until every single person around them has the blood of an innocent man on their hands. That is how evil systems work. They don’t simply want to control you. They don’t simply want you go along passively. But they want to turn you into accomplices. And they do that because they feel like they need people on their side to be justified. And the more accomplices they have, the better they feel about their crimes
But the truth is, they’re just dragging other people down the hell with them. That is what corrupt leaders are doing when they pressure the people around them to do the dirty work. They are turning you in their accomplices. And how many people do we know
Good people. Honest people. But they submit to pressure. And they allow themselves to become accomplices to evil. They go along with wicked plots to destroy the righteous. God sees that. And one day, there will be reckoning. You can count on that.
You know as I bring this message to a close. I can understand why Jesus had the emotional experience he did in Gethsemane. This is not an easy thing he was facing
It is the hardest thing anyone has ever done. He was carried around from judgement seat to judgement by evil men. With no compassion, no love, and no mercy. Men who were bent on destruction. Men who were determined that nothing would get between them and their mission to destroy the innocent holy one.
And through all this, we have got a pretty good look at how corrupt these religious leaders were. They did evil slimy thing. And any reasonable person should have been able to look at their actions, and realize they were wicked and corrupt men. The things they did, the way they acted – it could only come from an evil heart.
A figure in the shadows secretly controlling the high priest. A mockery of justice. They had verdict before they even have a trial. They hand the whole counsel already arrayed there waiting for him, it was pre-planned. They excluded anyone who might sway things the wrong way. They did their work under cover of darkness, away from the crowd. They went out looking for false witnesses to use. The lied about Jesus. They twisted his words. They only talked to him to try and entice him to say something they could use against him. They condemned him for things he said privately to his friends. They used Judas, someone who was willing to betray Jesus confidence to bring him down. And when he told them the truth, they couldn’t even handle it. They treated him with total disrespect and dishonesty. Then they got angry at him because he refused to cooperate with them and give legitimize their corrupt methods.
They men were motivated by Satan. Because their actions were utterly ungodly in every respect How in the world could anyone in their right mind sit by go along with what they did? But before it was over with, they swayed the whole multitude. They turned everyone around them into accomplices in their evil plot. Going with the crowd can be a very dangerous thing. There’s lots of ways to judge things that you see. But Jesus told us to judge them by their fruit.
All We have to do is hold up the actions of man and compare them to the Bible, what pattern do they fit. Whose template are they following. And if the shoe fits, wear it. And when you see a wicked and a corrupt pattern, and you see bad fruit, you have every right to judge something as a a bad tree.
And it don’t matter if it’s the high priest of the temple in Jerusalem, there is no excuse. And God is not beyond tearing down entire systems and starting over. And the moment you think you are at the Pinnacle, and God can’t cut you out and move on. Then I have to say, you’ve already cut yourself out. Because God won’t work in a system that thinks that way. And that is exactly what happened to these evil Man we have read about tonight.
And when I think of how Jesus faced it all. When I think of how he suffered it all. And I realize he did it for me. That means something to me. It speaks to me of a great love. A love that is nowhere to be seen in his accusers. But a love that was in his heart for me and for you. A love that, even though his capture, was seeking to heal. A love that refused to legitimatize evil when he was surrounded by it. A love that was willing to suffer being lied about, abused, humiliated, and belittled, if it would open eyes and set men free. A love that was far stronger than his desire to call 12 legions of angels.
When I think of how he saved me, and what he had to go through to save me. It makes me want to live for him. It makes me want to live a life that will show people how wonderful my savior is. A life that will point others to Jesus. And to his amazing love.
And so today we lift up the name of Jesus. We stand by his side and put our faith in him and not in man. We are on the Lord’s side. And every tongue that will rise against us we will condemn in Jesus name, this is the heritage of the servants of the Lord. And truly we are his servants, we are walking in his footsteps. That has been the title of these message I have been preaching, footsteps of Jesus. And I titled it that because I hope that maybe we can see in our lives where we have been walking in his footsteps.
Praise the Lord. Let me close in prayer.