Skip Heitzig - John 18
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So at the risk of sounding a bit mushy, let me just say I love you. I love this church, and you may remember in the gospel of Luke, it says that when His hour had come, Jesus sat down with his disciples and he said with fervent desire, "I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." And I always look forward to the Lord's table, the Lord's supper, with you all. So with fervent desire, all week, I have looked forward to this, the Lord's table with you tonight. We're in the Gospel of John, we're in chapter 18, if you would prepare your bibles for that text, and prepare your hearts. We'll go to the Lord in prayer.
Lord, at this moment, we push away all of those competing thoughts, all of those voices we have heard either from other people, or from within our own hearts that would condemn us or deprecate us, your property that you purchased with your own blood. And we stand before you as sons and daughters, those who are cleansed by a once and for all act that renders us not guilty from heaven's court. In a few moments, we're going to take these elements that speak of that finished transaction on the cross, something our Savior commanded that we do often in remembrance of Him. But we pray, Lord, that you would just clear the decks from our thought life. Help us to hone in on what your spirit is saying to us in our lives at this moment. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Now, we know that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord, to those who are the called according to His purpose. That is Romans 8:28, one of your favorites. It's a soft pillow for a tired heart. It's the truth we lean on. It's the truth we rest upon, because it tells us of the sovereignty of God. And one of the most encouraging truths in the universe is that God is sovereign. He is in control. There's nothing out of his control. God never goes, oops. God never says, uh-oh. He's in total absolute control.
Charles Spurgeon said there's probably no other teaching or truth or doctrine that is more comforting to the child of God than that of His sovereignty. And we have seen it displayed on the very night we have been studying about the Passover evening, with Jesus and his disciples. In fact, the whole Passover season, we have seen where Jesus is not a victim of circumstance, he's orchestrating the circumstances. He's the director.
Like when he says to his disciples, go in the village opposite you, and you'll find a donkey tied up. Bring the donkey to me. And when somebody asks you, what are you doing? Just say, the Lord has need of it. And they'll let it go. And they went, untied the donkey, and wouldn't you know it, somebody was around going hey, what are you guys doing? And the disciples looked at each other like, let's try that line. The Lord needs it. OK, take it.
Now, wouldn't that be great if you could walk on a car lot and just say, I think the Lord needs that one. I'll take the keys. Then, when it was time to celebrate the Passover meal and they were wondering where that was going to take place, Jesus said well, when you go into the city, you're going to see a man carrying a clay pitcher of water. Go ask him where the room is to be prepared. And the owner of that house is going to show you a large furnished upper room. There, make ready. And so they did, and so they ate. And Jesus taught them, and we've been studying that.
And then, at the end of that episode, when the Lord on the divine time clock knew it was now time to get this show on the road, he said, arise. Let us go from here. And they rose up. And then, as we have been studying last time, the Lord was walking his men from the upper city of Jerusalem down the descent of the Temple Mount toward the Kidron Valley, which faces the Mount of Olives.
And he's going to take them there beyond the Kidron brook into the Garden of Gethsemane. Why? Because he has a rendezvous to keep. He has an appointment to keep. Judas is behind the scenes thinking he's come up with a conspiracy to get Jesus arrested so that he can get 30 pieces of silver. But this was all prophesied. This was all arranged. And Jesus fully knew. And he wasn't a victim, he was a volunteer. He said, "no one takes my life from me. I lay it down of myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have the power to take it up again." So he is in sovereign control of this evening and all of these circumstances of the Passover.
And so in chapter 18 verse 1, when Jesus had spoken these words, that is that prayer that we saw last time, when Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples over the brook Kidron, where there was a garden which he and his disciples entered. I wonder if later on, surely not at this moment, but if later on, the disciples would have put two and two together, thinking back to this night, the night they walked with Jesus down that decent and over the brook Kidron and into the Garden of Gethsemane. And I wonder if they wouldn't have thought of 2nd Samuel, chapter 15.
When David, because of a revolt of his son, Absalom, was betrayed by his trusted counselor, Ahithophel. He was betrayed by his friend and then rejected by his nation. And so David crossed over the brook Kidron, up the Mount of Olives, and out to the wilderness. And I wonder if they wouldn't have thought, wow. Isn't that amazing that David did that, rejected by the nation, betrayed by a friend. Jesus, the son of David, rejected by the nation, betrayed by a friend.
And then even to make that similarity more similar, Ahithophel went and took his own life, just as Judas will take his own life. But at this point, Judas is somewhere in the distance. He's with Roman soldiers. He's with temple officers. And they're coming to get him. So Jesus crosses over the Kidron brook like David did.
But something would have been interesting, you'd never see it if you were to cross over the Kidron Valley today, and you wouldn't have seen it during David's day. But during Jesus' day when the temple was up on that 35 acre complex, that plateau we know as the Temple Mount, when the temple stood there, every Passover when the lambs were killed, the blood of those animals was drained into the altar. And we are told that a stone receptacle collected the blood and a conduit went from underneath the Temple Mount into the Kidron brook. And it was a lot of blood.
The historian Josephus tells us that on one of the Passovers during this era, not during this particular Passover, but one that happened 30 years later, there were 256,000 lambs slain in Jerusalem in one single Passover. And I'm bringing that up, because what I want you to picture in your mind is the Lamb of God is crossing over a brook that was filled with the red blood of lambs that could not take away sin. And he saw that. And he knew what that meant. And he knew what he had come to fulfill. Like Hebrews said, the blood of those lambs could never take away sin. But the Lamb of God would and did. And he crossed over that with the disciples. They didn't pick up on that at the moment. They were just following Jesus.
And they come to a garden, a garden we know as Gethsemane, it means the olive press. It was, after all, the Mount of Olives. And on the Mount of Olives was an olive farm. There were several of them, and there were presses because olive oil was like gasoline is today. It was for fuel. It fueled oil lamps. It was used for anointing. It was used in cooking. The country lived off of it. And so there on that spot was a press where olives were crushed to get the fruit out, the olive oil.
Jesus goes to that place of crushing, the olive press Gethsemane, as the sin of the world is being placed upon him. And he voluntarily accepts the cup as he will say, if I get to it. "I will drink this that the father has given me."
It's interesting, and I think John brings it up for a reason, that there was a garden. Did you know that life began in a garden? The Garden of Eden. But did you know that eternal life began in another garden? Gethsemane. When Jesus said, not my will, but your will be done. That's when it all began. Life began at a garden. New life began in the garden of Gethsemane.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam sinned. In the garden of Gethsemane, the last Adam, that's what Paul calls him, the second Adam, the last Adam, Jesus, conquered sin. Overcame it by the willingness to go to the cross. In the Garden of Eden, Adam hid from God. In the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus presents himself to the father. And life, having begun in a garden, will also end in a garden.
In new Jerusalem, there is a garden-like environment with the tree of life. That's for another study. We don't have time to even remark. And Judas, verse 2, "who betrayed him also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. Then, Judas, having received a detachment of troops and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons."
The garden of Gethsemane was Jesus' spot to hang out. It was quiet. It was one of his favorite places to go with his disciples. He did it a lot. Luke tells us that during that week of Passover, he was teaching in the temple and healing, and then he would go away and he would sleep on the Mount of Olives. It was in the garden of Gethsemane that he was camping out. He loved to go there. And because it is one of Jesus' favorite places, it has always been one of mine. And because of that, almost every time I've gone to Jerusalem, I like to take a walk from the upper city through the Kidron Valley, into the garden of Gethsemane, just to be reminiscent of all of this that we are reading.
Now, Judas comes with a lot of people, many troops. We are told he received a detachment of troops and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees. Matthew just says a great multitude. It was a cohort, a cohort is a tenth of a legion, or that would be 600 men. We don't know if this was a representative group of the cohort, but evidently, it was a large group. And why would they bring a large group to arrest somebody like Jesus, the lamb, so gentle?
Well, they had tried to arrest him while he was in the temple, if you remember a couple of times, and they were unable to do it. He just vanished out of their sight. Not only that, but Jesus, well, he stirred things up twice in his ministry, once at the very beginning, once at the very end. He walks into the temple and overturned the tables by himself, ran people out by himself. And that authority they saw and they knew. And so they thought let's bring backup, as if that would do any good.
And so they brought backup. And they probably brought so many troops, because it's not that they were afraid that Jesus was going to pounce on them, but there could be a revolt. You may remember that one of the biggest fears of the leaders was that if they were trying to arrest Jesus in a public place, that it would cause a rebellion in the Temple Mount. So to protect from that, they brought backup.
Jesus, therefore, now, look how this is words, Jesus, therefore, knowing all things that would come upon him, he went forward and said to them, "whom are you seeking?" They answered "Jesus of Nazareth." He said to them, "I am He." Are you looking at your Bible? Can you see that sentence? Is He italicized? It's because it's not there in the original. "Whom are you seeking?" "Jesus of Nazareth." "I am."
I am. The Greek construction Ego, I, me. Ego, I, me. If you had a Septuagint version of the Book of Exodus and you were reading the spot where Moses was at the burning bush and God commissioned him to be the leader of Israel, and Moses scratched his head and said, what's your name? When they ask me, the children of Israel say who sent you? What name do I give?
If you were to read that in the Greek Septuagint, God says, ego, I, me. I am who I am, same construction. An unmistakable use by Jesus of the divine title known by the Hebrews as the tetragrammaton, the divine name Y-H, V-H, or W-H, yah-weh. "I am," he said. And Judas who betrayed him also stood with them. Now, when he said to them, "I am," they drew back and fell to the ground. See, this is not a victim. This is a volunteer who is in absolute control, and just by speaking a word, can make people fall down just like the Bible says. He will destroy the lawless one in the end times with the breath, or with his word. He'll just speak a word and it's over.
So just his word commands them, and they fall backwards. And he said to them, "whom are you seeking?" And they said, "Jesus of Nazareth." So this is take two. Jesus answered, "I told you that I am. Therefore, if you seek me, let these, the disciples, go their way that, that the same might be fulfilled, which he spoke of those whom you gave me. I have lost none." Where did he say that? In the previous prayer in John 17. He says, Lord, all that you have given me, none of them have I lost except for one, the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled.
Later on, they remembered that, by the Holy Spirit prompting John. And he wrote that down, that it might be fulfilled which he spoke, "all that you gave me, I have lost none." There is a psalm that is a messianic psalm. And when I say that, it has always been regarded from its inception almost by Jewish people for centuries, generations, as messianic. And that is the second psalm. Let me read it to you and see if this doesn't just sound familiar.
"Why do the nations rage and the people plot a vein thing? The kings of the Earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord and against his Christ or anointed, saying, let us break their bonds in pieces and cast away their cords from us." Let's get rid of God's control. Let's usurp his power and authority. Let's have it our way, our agenda. We'll do our thing. We'll govern ourselves, and do what we want.
Now, listen to God's response. "He who sits in the heavens shall laugh. Ha, ha, ha," God would say, as puny man shakes his fist, and says, he who sits, God didn't even get up. He just sits back. God rules the universe with his feet up. He doesn't even get up. He didn't cringe in fear, he's just like (YAWNS) that's all you got?
"The Lord will hold them in derision. He shall speak to them in his wrath and distress them in his deep displeasure. Yet, I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion." Wow. The rulers gathered together against the Lord. It's speaking of this convocation coming together against God. It sounds like a massive international ACLU convention or something, trying to push God out of life. God laughs, God has got it all in control.
And so here, that the same might be fulfilled. Then, verse 10. "Then, Simon Peter", you remember him? We love him, don't we? "Simon Peter, having a sword", so I don't know if he got it from one of the soldiers or he had concealed carry or what, but he's got a sword, he drew it and struck the high priest servant and cut off his right ear. The servant's ear was name, yeah, they named their ears back then. It's a weird thing you may want to try it. The servant was named Malchus.
So Jesus said to Peter, "put your sword into the sheath, shall I not drink the cup which my father has given me." we love Peter. Peter was a great fisherman. Peter was a poor swordsman. Peter wasn't precise. He wasn't aiming at his ear, are you kidding? Peter is going ballistic. He's all ISIS on these people. He wants to cut their heads off. He's going for Malchus just like to do him under. He misses, being a good fisherman, not a good swordsman, and cuts his ear off.
This could have been a problem. If Jesus does not heal him, and he will, there would have been four crosses on Calvary. This is a capital offense. Jesus says, "put your sword up. Shall I not drink." see, once again, he realizes this is the Father's plan. This is sovereign will. God's sovereign will was being worked out that evening. God had a plan, and everything's going perfectly to plan. Now, yes, the soldiers have their plans. The officers have their plans. Judas has his plan. There is a conspiracy afoot, but their plan and God's plan is coming together. In fact, God is using their plan, they're like little pawns on his chessboard, simply to enact his sovereign plan. That's all that is. God's plan is that his son provide forgiveness.
Now, Peter is there. Peter is the guy with the sword. Later on, bless Peter's heart. That's what they say down south when something's wrong with somebody, bless his heart, later on, Peter will get this in his head. He'll get this in his heart. He didn't get it now, he's got a sword. Pretty soon, the sword will be down, the Bible will be open. And Peter will say to the people of this city in Acts chapter 3, speaking of Jesus, Him, Jesus, Him being delivered by the determined purpose and fore-knowledge of God you have taken by wicked hands, crucified, and put to death.
You killed him, you put him to death. You are responsible for your choices and your actions, but this is all part of God's divine sovereign plan fore-knowledge of God. The purpose of God was enacted. Finally, Peter, it'll click for him. But at this point, Peter's hurting inside. He's hurting inside. This is a reaction to something Jesus told him. Remember, Jesus said, Peter, I know you love me, or you think you love me more than you really do. And you swear that you'll never deny me and you'll always follow me. You remember Peter said, these guys are flakes Jesus, but you can count on me. I'm with you to the end. I'll never deny you, I'll always be with you. Well, you're going to deny me three times actually tonight.
And he denied his denial. No, I'll go to death with you. Even if all others do it, I won't. He is trying to prove Jesus wrong by taking out the sword. I am here for you, I am going to take over. I'm going to muster my way through this, hack my way through this. How often we're like Peter, trying to hack our way through lives, trying to just get stuff done with an axe, instead of letting the Lord, who tells us, I got this covered, I got it handled, let him show himself.
Then, verse 12, the detachment of troops and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him, and led him away to Anis first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year. Now, it was Caiaphas who advised the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people. And Simon and Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple, this we think is John, the author of this book.
Now, that disciple was known to the high priest and went with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest. But Peter stood at the door outside. Then, the other disciple who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to her who kept the door and brought Peter in. Then, the servant girl who kept the door said to Peter, "you are not also one of this man's disciples, are you?" And he said, "I am not."
Now, let me try to do this quickly. There was not one trial by Jesus. He's arrested now. And he's going to go to trial. But there's not one trial. There are, in fact, six separate trials, mark them. The first one is before Anis, the previous high priest still wielding great influence in the nation. The second trial is before the actual high priest, the one in power, the son-in-law of Anis named Caiaphas.
So he goes to Anis and Caiaphas. And those are like pre-trials. They're trials, but pre-trials. The third trial is with the whole ruling body of the Jews, the Sanhedrin very, very early in the morning. So there are three trials that are religious trials. The next three are civic trials. And the first one or the fourth one in the list of six, he goes before Pontius Pilate. Pontius Pilate sends him to Herod Antipas. Herod sends him back to Pilate, Pilate renders the final verdict. So six trials altogether.
Now, first he goes to Anis, not do the high priest. The high priest is named Caiaphas. Anis is not the high priest. He is the father-in-law of the high priest. But to complicate things further, Anis used to be the high priest. He was the high priest put into power under a provincial ruler named Quirinius. Do you know that name? You do know that name. Every Christmas, you read that name. Luke chapter 2, Caesar Augustus gave the decree the whole world should be registered. This decree was given while Quirinius was governing Syria.
That Quirinius allowed Anis to be the high priest. But around 15 AD, he was deposed by another provincial ruler named Valerius Gratus, the predecessor of Pontius Pilate. He pulled him out and put in Caiaphas, his son-in-law. Now, why is that important? Because high priests don't have terms. They don't get voted in for four years or eight years and then you get a new one. They're a high priest for life. But the Romans are in charge, so they pull out the high priest, put in a new one that they can control a little bit easier. But Anis still wields power and influence.
And the reason they went to Anis first, let me tell you why I think it is, Anis controlled the business of the temple. All the doves that were bought and sold, all the lambs that were bought and sold, all the money changes that were in the temple courts, all of that belonged to Anis. And Jesus twice had upset his business. So Jesus comes before Anis first. Then, to Caiaphas the high priest, then to the Sanhedrin, as I mentioned.
So verse 18. "Now, the servants and the officers who had made the fire of the coal stood there, for it was cold. And they warmed themselves, and Peter stood with them and warmed himself. And the high priest then asked Jesus about his disciples and his doctrine. Jesus answered, I spoke openly to the world." Now before I get to that, Peter has denied Jesus already, has he not? He's going to deny him again. And our Lord told him he would.
Now, let me speak on behalf of my brother, Peter. Preachers love to rag on Peter. Preachers love to make Peter their whipping post. And you know, Peter he did this. And here's all the mistakes Peter made, can I just say there's going to be a long line of preachers in heaven waiting to apologize to Peter for all the things we said about him. And I'll be in that line, because I've had my share of sermons on Peter.
And yes, he denied the Lord. But listen, he's in the courtyard. The other ones have fled. Only John and Peter are there. At least, listen, this guy is courageous. I know he denies Jesus. There's a lot of reasons we could look as to why I've got my own theories. But Peter's a guy that took the sword out. Not a good plan, but that's not a lack of courage. That's like I'm willing to die now. And he's following Jesus to the center of action.
So for all the bad things you want to say, you at least have to grant Peter that he's there. And by the way, it's not over for Peter. Even when he denies the Lord, Jesus knew he was going to deny him. That's part of the control. That's part of the sovereignty of God. Jesus said to Peter it's recorded in the gospel of Luke. Peter, Satan has been asking for you that he might sift you like wheat. But I prayed for you. And when you are restored, strengthen your brothers.
He'll be restored. Jesus loves to restore failures. Are you a failure? You're in the right place. You're about to take the right elements. You're about to come clean and be covered. And you might feel far from God, but God is never far from you. You can call on him. You can turn back to him right where you are, one step.
Well, the high priest, verse 19, asked Jesus about his disciples and his doctrine. Now, look what Jesus says, very interesting. "I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in the synagogues and in the temple where the Jews always meet. And in secret, I have said nothing. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard me. What I said to them indeed, they know what I said. And when he had said these things, one of the officers who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, do you answer the high priest like that? Jesus answered him, if I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil. But if well, why do you strike me? Then, Anis sent him bound to Caiaphas, the high priest."
Our Lord Jesus, knowing all things, also knew that in that trial before Anis and the proceedings that will follow, that this was an illegal trial. He knew this was not fair. He knew that this was not according to their law. According to Jewish law, you can never have a court proceeding on a capital offense the night during or before a festival. This is Passover. In fact, for that matter, you can't have a court at night at all. You have to wait for the next morning.
Also, the high priest can never directly question the defendant, because they had laws protecting against self-incrimination. It was a prelude to our Fifth Amendment. When somebody says, I plead the Fifth Amendment. I will not answer on grounds that it might incriminate me. That was part of Jewish law as well. So all of this was rigged, and Jesus knew it. So what he's saying is call a witness. You need to have witnesses here, you can't directly question me according to your law. You always have to have witnesses. Call your witness. I've said nothing in secret.
Well, they reacted. It was an ad hominem attack. They slapped him, struck him. "Simon Peter", verse 25, "stood and warmed himself. Therefore, they said to him, you are not also one of his disciples are you? They asked them that before. He denied it and said, I am not. One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of him who's ear Peter cut off said, didn't I see you in the garden with him? Peter then denied again, and immediately, a rooster crowed."
Let me plant something in your mind. Next time you think of Peter the Apostle, I want you to think of three phases of his life, three phases of his ministry, how's that? Peter was at the fire, he's warming himself by the fire, cozying up, cuddling up to the world that is amassed against Jesus. So he's at the fire, number one. Number two, he's under fire. You're the guy right? You're the guy. You were with him. You're one of his disciples. No, no, no.
So Peter was at the fire, Peter under fire. Number three, Peter on fire. When he gets restored again, when Jesus sees him at the shores of Galilee and recommissions him again, this boy will be on fire. And you'll see it in the book of Acts. Filled with the Holy Spirit, witness of the Resurrection. And he is on fire. But right now, he's hurting. He denied, and immediately a rooster crowed.
"Then, they led Jesus from Caiaphas to the praetorium. And it was early morning. But they themselves did not go in the praetorium, because lest they should be defiled, but that they might eat the Passover. Pilate then went out to them and said, what accusation do you bring against this man?" There's an old saying that says if you can't find a lawyer who knows the law, find a lawyer who knows the judge.
The Jews had a problem. They could not adjudicate in capital cases and have a positive verdict. They could not enact the death penalty, that had been taken away by the Romans. They knew that. They found him guilty, they wanted him killed. But they could not kill him because of Roman law. And so the best thing to do is take it before the one who can lay his gavel down and bring a positive rendering in this case, and get this man killed.
So they come to Pontius Pilate where? It says the praetorium. Now, the praetorium is a structure. If you go to Jerusalem, you can see it. You can see the remnants of the building. And it's been added to, but it's essentially the same size. It was this huge castle-like structure attached to the Temple Mount on the Northeast side of the Temple Mount. And why was it there? Because during festivals, millions of people from all over the world came for sacrifices and for festivals. The Romans were afraid of an uprising, so they stationed extra troops at festival time. And they had this tower that overlooked the Temple Mount so they could see any activity and be on it right away.
So the Antonia fortress is where troops were stationed during the festival. Not only that, but Pontius Pilate is there. He didn't live there. Listen, Pilate was smart. You know he lived? At the beach. His headquarters was at Caesarea by the sea, a beautiful spot, great weather. Not bad waves, by the way. But whenever there was a festival, it was part of his duty as the Roman governor procurator to go back to Jerusalem, get stationed there, and watch over the proceedings.
Well he's a gentile. And according to Jewish tradition, the dwelling places of the gentiles are defiled, are contaminated. So they want Pilate to give them what they want, which is a guilty verdict for Jesus. But they won't go inside the praetorium. He's got to come out to them, which doesn't set well with them. That's why he wants to dismiss the case. Plus, being Passover, one of the rituals before Passover is to go through the house and get all the leaven out of the house. You take leaven out and you search for it. It's a very elaborate process. It's called the Bedikat Chamtez, the removal of the leaven, the search for the leaven.
And so to go into a gentile's palace or house, I'm sure it's going to be leavened, defiled. So they want to be ceremonially clean. How hypocritical can you get? I want to break the sixth commandment and get a guy killed for no good reason at all and break all of the laws of the court, but I want to make sure that I'm not defiled so that I can celebrate the Passover.
So Pilate comes out. Pilate went over and said to them, "what accusation do you bring against this man?" They answered and said to him, "if he were not an evil doer, we would not have delivered him up to you." Then, Pilate said to them, "you take him." He wants to dismiss it. He didn't want to have anything to do with a religious squabble. You take him. "And judge him according to your law. Therefore, the Jews said to him, it's not lawful for us to put anyone to death." Now, they are showing their hand. They want him killed. We've already taken him to our court, we've already given him the sentence guilty, we just want you to run through the paperwork, get it done.
Now, notice what it says, that "the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke signifying by what death he would die." remember, he said, "if I be lifted up, I'll draw all men to myself." Jesus said that. You know what he was speaking of, right? The cross, the lifting up of the cross, not lifting somebody up in worship. He meant being lifted up on a Roman cross and being stapled to it.
Now, why is this significant? Because Jesus predicted he would die by gentile, not Jewish, means, by a cross. Jews didn't crucify people. How did they enact capital punishment? Stoning. They would stone a person to death. But to signify by what death he would die, Jesus already announced I'm going to be killed on a cross. All of this is happening again, all under God's control for you. This is God loving you, controlling the outcome of this to pay for your sin and for mine.
"Then, Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus and said to him, are you the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, are you speaking for yourself about this? Or did others tell you this concerning me?" Very interesting response. Are you the King? Now, Jesus turns the tables and asks him a question. Why? He's after his heart. He's after even this pagan, Roman, calloused, and history paints him as a very callous, cynical, truculent individual. Are you King of the Jews? Are you asking this as a Roman, or are you asking this out of rumor? Are you asking this because you realize that I might be? That's the idea of the question back to Him.
"Pilate answered, am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you to me. What have you done? Jesus answered, my kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now my kingdom is not from here. Pilate therefore said to him, are you a King then? Jesus answered, you say rightly that I am a King. For this cause I was born. And for this cause, I have come into the world that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice."
Our Lord is saying, I'm a King, but not a political King. I'm a King, but not a military King. I'm a spiritual King, and I will be the eventual King of all Kings. I'll rule this world one day. But until then, it's a spiritual kingdom. My kingdom is not of this world. He's the King today. He is a King of sorts. Is he the King of your heart? Is he the King of your life? He wants to sit on the throne of your life as King, as Lord.
Now, eventually, he is going to take over the world. The political world, the military world, it's all going to be under his jurisdiction one day. One of the best versus, one of the best verses in Revelation, in fact, all of the New Testament, is Revelation 11:15, when the announcement comes. The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ. And he will reign forever. That day is coming, Pilate, but until then, he's a spiritual King. So now, Pilate's in a quandary because Jesus said this. He said OK, my kingdom is out of this world. You know, if he would have just said yes, I am the King of the Jews, then Pilate could have got him for insurrection. But what do you do with a spiritual King? He's in the corner going oh, man. What do I do with this? This is a hard trial, oh man.
Now, to make matters worse, his wife had a dream. By the way, just a few words about Pilate. You know, Pilate was not a Roman. he works for the Roman government, he's a Roman procurator, governor, prefect, provincial ruler. But he was not a Roman. You know, he was Spanish. He was born in Seville, Spain. He joined the Roman legions as a child. He was not a good leader. He was really flunky.
The only reason he got the job here in Judea is he married the granddaughter of Caesar Augustus. Her name was Claudia Procula. And one evening, Claudia Procula got a weird dream. And Claudia sent a note to her husband, uh, leave this guy alone. I had a nasty dream about him. I don't know what's going on, but hands off. He should have listened to his wife. A lot of men should, but he didn't.
But please, before we finish the chapter, notice the wording of Jesus in verse 37. "For this cause, I was born", now, watch this, "and for this cause, I have come into the world." Two things are at play here. You are delving into the incarnation of Jesus from his own lips. I was born like everybody else is born, unto us a child is born. But unto us a son is given. I came into the world. It connotes preexistence and incarnation.
I was born, and it was that birth, that was the means of me who existed from eternity past to come into the world. It's a very interesting grammatical construction. "Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice. Pilate said to him, what is truth? And when he said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, I find no fault in him at all." That's a way of saying case dismissed. He didn't want anything to do with him.
It's sad that he asked the question what is truth, but he didn't hang around for the answer. He walked out. A lot of people do. A lot of people say, man, I just want to find the truth. I'm just interested in the truth. But they are predisposed to believe there is no such thing as absolute truth. This is the cry of postmodern philosophy. What is truth? Nobody can know absolute truth. There is no such thing. Your truth is different than my truth. And it's on a sliding scale.
So what is truth? Bot, that's a typical politician too, by the way. What is truth? Because to people in offices like this, truth is a sliding scale determined by spin. You can spin anything to make it say anything. What is truth? Verse 39. Let's finish this up, take the Lord's supper. He goes back, says to them, "but you have a custom that I should release to you someone at the Passover. Do you therefore want me to release to you the King of the Jews? They all cried again, saying not this man, but Barabbas."
Now, Barabbas was a robber. When it says robber, it does not mean a petty thief. Doesn't mean he walked into a 7-Eleven, stole a pack of gum and cigarettes and he was out. This guy was a vile criminal. This guy deserved the death penalty. He was an insurrectionist. Barabbas or Jesus? "Not this man, but Barabbas." Interesting note. you know what Barabbas means? "Bar" is son in Hebrew. "Abba", anybody know what "abba" means? Father or daddy, "abba". You'll see little children Israel, abba, abba means dad or father, daddy. Barabba or Barabbas means son of a father. That's all it means, son of a father.
According to origin, the Alexandrian Egyptian scholar of the second and third century, the first name of Barabbas was Jesus, common name Yeshua. So the choice is between Jesus Barabbas, and Jesus the Messiah. Do you want Jesus, the son of a father? Or do you want Jesus, the son of the father? That was their choice. And they chose for not Jesus, the son of the father. And that is what happens every day across this planet. People make the choice for anyone but Jesus, the son of the father. And they did.
But he's not a victim. He's a volunteer. He's not a victim of circumstance. These circumstances aren't just happening around him. He is controlling them. I want to close with this, and then we'll have the communion board come up and we'll pass this out.
This is a young boy's understanding of biblical truth. He writes, he said, after the Old Testament came the New Testament. Jesus is the star of the new. He was born in Bethlehem in a barn. I wish I had been born in a barn too, because my mom is always saying to me close the door, where were you born, in a barn? Boy, would it be nice to say, as a matter of fact, I was. During his life, Jesus had many arguments with sinners like the Pharisees and the Democrats. Jesus also had 12 possums. The worst one was Judas Asparagus.
Judas was so bad that they named a terrible vegetable after him. But Jesus was a great man. He healed many leopards, and even preached to some Germans on the Mount. But all those guys put Jesus on trial before Punches the Pilot. Pilot didn't stick up for Jesus. He just washed his hands instead. Anyways, Jesus died for our sins then came back to life again. He went up to heaven, but he'll be back at the end of the aluminum.
His return is foretold in the book of Revolution. I'll tell you, this kid got a lot of stuff wrong. But he got a couple things right. Jesus died for our sins and is coming back to rule and to reign forever. The issue becomes is the ruling in your heart right now? As I pray, I'm going to ask the communion board, our leaders of the church to come forward. And we'll pass these out.
Father, thank you for the simple truth that Jesus died for sin, rose again from the grave as he predicted and as the scriptures predict, and he's coming back as the King of Kings, as the Lord of Lords. When every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess. And though Jesus once said, my kingdom is not of this world, otherwise my subjects would fight. One day, the Lord Jesus will return to just take over. Until that time Lord, would you reign, would you rule in our families, in our place of business, in our personal thought life, in the decisions that we make? In our marriages, with our friends? With our neighbors? Would you reign? Would you be Lord and King? Would you rule? Thank you, Lord, for what these elements speak to us of. And we are doing it in obedience to the commandments of our Savior, to do it often in remembrance of Him. Speak life and forgiveness and love, restoration and acceptance to those of us gathered here through these elements, we ask in Jesus' name, Amen.