LIFE OF CHRIST

 

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LUKE 22:66-23:25

ON TRIAL

Life of Christ #55

 

We continue our studies in the Life of Christ.

Last week we saw Jesus submit Himself to God’s will in the Garden of Gethsemane.

We also saw Him betrayed by Judas and arrested.

 

This week we are seeing Jesus on trial.

Believe it or not there were actually 6 trials that Jesus went through in a matter of hours.

 

 

This morning we are going to condense things a wee bit and basically use the account of Jesus’ trials found in Luke 22 and 23.  Here we find that Jesus was tried by the Sanhedrin, by Pilate, and by King Herod.

 

Actually although Jesus was indeed on trial, the people trying Jesus were also on trial to see what they would do with Jesus. And there were also issues on trial here.

 

WITH THE SANHEDRIN THE ISSUE WAS BELIEF

Luke 22:66-71

 

The Sanhedrin was the Jewish Supreme Court made up of 70 people led by the High Priest.

From the time that Jesus first appeared and started doing wonderful miracles, the Sanhedrin and all of Israel was confronted with the issue of belief. John 1:11

 

Early on Jesus had stirred things up when he first kicked the money changers and merchants out of the temple. This was a direct attack on the income source of the high priests’ family who ran the “rackets” so to speak. Jesus was asked what authority He had to cleanse the temple.  His response in John 2:19 was …Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

 

Of course Jesus was talking about His death, burial and resurrection. They would destroy His body and He would rise again.

 

When Jesus did miracles on Saturday, which He seemed to do often, the Jews were not happy because he allegedly worked on the Sabbath violating the Sabbath rest.

 

The religious leaders also didn’t like it because Jesus was always exposing their hypocrisy and making pronouncements against them.  Jesus was righteous they were not.

 

As we have already said during the night Jesus appeared before a man named Annas. He had been the high priest and was now the father in-law of the high priest.  It appears to me that he was the real power among the religious leaders.

 

After appearing before Annas, he went before Caiaphas, the current high priest.  Before him and others in the Sanhedrin Jesus was tried the second time.

 

It was here that witnesses were brought in.  In order for Jesus to have been properly convicted of a crime the stories of both witnesses had to agree. John 14:55-59

 

Caiaphas was desperate because of his unbelief to find a way to have Jesus killed.  And Jesus who had always been superior to the Jews when their were discussions in the past actually helped Caiaphas, by doing what the Son of God always did, speaking the truth. Mark 14:60-64  

 

But this was a night trial.  It was not legal.  So the decisions of the night needed to ratified first thing in the morning.  It was a formality that needed to be observed.

This is the trial that Luke is referring to in Luke 22:66-71.

 

Vs. 66 – As soon as it was day the Sanhedrin met.  Finally having Jesus in their possession they would not be satisfied until they had railroaded Jesus right to the cross!   

 

Vs. 67 – They asked Jesus if He was the Christ, that is, the “Anointed One”, the Messiah.  Jesus knew the issue.  The issue in this trial was belief.  And they didn’t believe in Him. They had rejected Him.

 

If Jesus gave them the right answer, which He already had a few hours before, they were not going to believe.

 

There are people like that today. No matter how clearly you explain the Gospel, they don’t want to believe in Christ.

 

Vs. 68 – Jesus was saying that if He asked them questions that would help them understand Jesus’ answer they would not answer them. As I said, they did not want to believe.

 

They were bent on the destruction of the Lord Jesus. They were not going to release Him.

 

Vs. 69 – Now Jesus makes a very definitive statement about His identity. He uses one of His favorite titles for Himself, “the Son of Man”.  That title comes from the Book of Daniel referring to the Messiah, who Jesus was. Daniel 7:13-14

 

In this verse Jesus looks at His death, burial, resurrection and ascension into Heaven as a done deal.   

 

“From now on”, Jesus is saying, “I will be at God’s right hand.”  He was going back from where He had come and would wait until it was time to come a second time to earth to establish His Kingdom.

Hebrews 1:3, Psalm 110:1

 

Vs. 70 – The Sanhedrin probably asked this question with glee.  Jesus who had been so elusive in the past was now playing into their hands, so they thought.   

 

So they asked Him, “Are you the Son of God?”

 

Basically, Jesus answer was, “You said it. I am.”

 

Vs. 71 – Jesus was accused and convicted by them of blasphemy, claiming to be God. 

 

He told them the truth.

They could have believed Him.

They didn’t.

 

Their belief was on trial. They pronounced Jesus guilty, but they were guilty of unbelief.

 

Listen!  If you have never put your belief, your faith in Jesus Christ as your Savior you are guilty of unbelief! John 3:36

 

And Christian, when we fret, worry, and doubt, we too, are guilty of the sin of unbelief!

 

What a slap in the face for the One who died for you! Matthew 13:58

 

WITH HEROD THE ISSUE WAS SINCERITY

Luke 23:1-12   

 

Vss. 1-2 – The Jews were not legally allowed to kill anyone.  Therefore they had to bring those they wanted executed before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate.

 

Now complaining to Pilate that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy would have no impact on Pilate.  Pilate wasn’t concerned about religion. He was concerned about the Roman law and keeping the peace.

 

So they made up charges against Jesus.

They claimed that Jesus “perverted the nation”, that is deceived them.

 

They said that Jesus taught not to pay taxes. That was an outright lie! Matthew 22:21

 

They claimed that Jesus was claiming to be a King in the political sense.  Jesus played down His kingship most of the time.  His Kingdom on earth is yet to come.  He wasn’t seeking to rule then or upset the Roman government.

 

Vss. 3-4 – Pilate was no dummy. Matthew 27:18  

 

So Pilate says, “I find no fault in this man.”

That should have been the final word, and Jesus should have been set free.

 

Vs. 5 – The religious leaders were not giving up. They became more incensed.

   

Vss. 6-7 – Pilate had a politically charged issue on His hands. He knew that these leaders could cause a riot that would cost Pilate His career.

 

When Herod was mentioned, Pilate checked to see if Jesus was from Galilee where Herod was the Roman representative.

So Pilate sent Him to Herod, getting, so he hoped, this “hot potato” off his hands.

 

Vs. 8 – This Herod was the one who beheaded John the Baptist to please His wife.  John had preached against the adultery that Herod and His wife had committed by getting married. Herod basically stole his half-brother’s wife.

 

Herod was delighted to finally meet Jesus.

It was what Herod had wanted for a long time.

But Herod’s problem was sincerity.

Herod wanted to meet Jesus for the wrong reasons.

 

Herod wasn’t concerned about His own spiritual well being.  He wanted to see Jesus work a miracle!

Herod had no spiritual interest. He wanted to be entertained.

He lacked sincerity.

 

Vs. 9 – Herod asked all sorts of questions. Herod talked a lot.  Jesus knew Herod’s lack of sincerity.  Jesus knew the condition of Herod’s heart.

 

At one time Herod had been under conviction when he talked with John.  But now Herod was hardened. He had no sincere interest. He did not deserve an answer from Jesus.

He got none.

 

Vss. 11-12 – So Herod humiliated Jesus and sent Him back to Pilate.  Herod did not find Jesus guilty of anything!

 

There are people who come to church or watch religious shows on the television in order to be entertained.

They like the music.

They like the preacher.

They like the show.

But they are insincere.

They have no desire to do what the preacher says.

They have no true commitment to God.

They are insincere.

Make sure that you are not one of them.

 

WITH PILATE THE ISSUE WAS INTEGRITY

Luke 23:13-25

 

Let’s give Pontius Pilate a little credit.

He knew the score.

He knew Jesus was innocent.

He knew that Jesus should be set free.

He even was warned by His wife. Matthew 27:19

 

In verse 4 we saw Pilate proclaim Jesus’ innocence.

 

Vss. 13-16 – This is the second time that Pilate proclaimed the innocence of Jesus.  He stated that even Herod found nothing worthy of death.   

 

His plan was to have Jesus beaten and released.

Even the beating wasn’t warranted, but Pilate was trying to appease the Jewish leaders.

 

Vs. 17 – It was a common practice for Pilate to pardon a prisoner at Passover.  He saw this as His opportunity to release Jesus.

 

Vss. 18-19 – There was a great uproar instigated by the leaders. Matthew 27:20

 

They wanted Barabbas, a revolutionary and a murderer to be released instead of Jesus

 

Vss. 20-22 – Pilate again talked of releasing Jesus for the third time he proclaimed Jesus’ innocence.

 

Vs. 23-24 – The response was so radical, so violent, that Pilate acquiesced.     

 

Instead of standing for what he knew to be right, he gave in and sentenced Jesus to death.  Oh, Matthew tells us that he washed his hands of the matter, saying that he was innocent of Jesus’ blood.  But he wasn’t. He gave the sentence of death for Jesus.

 

Pilate lacked integrity.

He knew what was right and did what was convenient.

He kept the peace.  He nipped a riot in the bud.

 

But He condemned the innocent Son of God to death.

For convenience sake and for his own self interest He gave in.

 

How often do you lack integrity?

How often do you do what you know is wrong in order to save your skin, or save a little money?

 

Do you ever keep silent instead of protecting a person you know to be innocent?

Do you ever lie about your income to “Uncle Sam” in order to save you and your employer tax dollars?

Do you ever pretend to be righteous when in reality you are cheating in some way? James 4:17

 

WITH THE SANHEDRIN THE ISSUE WAS BELIEF

WITH HEROD THE ISSUE WAS SINCERITY

WITH PILATE THE ISSUE WAS INTEGRITY

   

What if God put your belief on trial?

What if God put your sincerity on trial?

What if God put your integrity on trial?

 

How would you do?

Is it time for you to repent?

 

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