John 20:1-10 “Risen Hope and Faith”

July 26, 2017

What a great opportunity to reflect on the reality of the Risen Lord. There are many benefits of preaching through books of the Bible, and this is one of those benefits, we get to approach the empty tomb of Jesus, in the text, and it is just prescribed for an Easter service. In fact, one should reflect on the risen Lord often in their walk with the Lord. What a wonderful promise we are given, because He lives, we live, because He walked out of the tomb, we can have new life in Him. Without the reality of the resurrection, the life of Jesus, including His death and crucifixion would not make any sense. All the miracles and teachings of Jesus would just be some railings of a madman had not Jesus rose again. The resurrections authenticated all the prophetic scriptures of a Messiah, and it authenticated the teaches of Jesus. After a period of uncertainty, shredded hopes, and fleeting faith, now will come the greatest event in the history of the world. This is the event we know as the resurrection. First, a resurrection of our Lord from the grave, then a resurrection of hope, faith, and assurance that God has not forgotten humanity, He hasn’t left this world to die and be swept away by its own sin. 

Last week, the images penned by John, were ones of vivid recollection. Jesus went through such and ordeal on the cross that it sent His whole body into shock, so much so, that when He died, He was hungry, dehydrated, loss much blood, and around His heart was a canopy of fluid that came out with the blood when the soldier thrust the spear into His side. Jesus went through so much pain, they had to invent a word to describe it. The word we use is the word excruciating, this word means, “out of the cross.” John wrote what he saw and witnessed and made sure to ground his witness in scripture. Below the cross was a variety show of emotions, for we saw people that were broken and disheartened, and those that seemed to enjoy seeing death and hopelessness. People that were not happy unless others around them were unhappy and disheartened. People that were so unhappy about their plight in life, they wanted to drag others into their pit of despair with them. This was seen in the Romans and the religious hierarchy. We saw Roman soldiers that were moved more by the cast of a dice then they were by thousands of people dying daily. We saw people that were we so savage when it comes to their way of life, that if anyone moved them out of their comfort zone, there’s was going to be a fight, and this was seen in the religious Jews that John mentions. But, below that cross, was also noted two individuals that stayed close to the Lord, Mary and John, maybe just maybe something might happen, maybe God would bring Him down from there. He had done miracles before, He rose a man Lazarus from the dead, why can’t He come down? But we should be praising God right now that it pleased the Lord to bruise the Son. Isa 53:10  Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 

Today, we will see anew, risen hope and faith. That which seemed crushed on the cross will be resurrected in the empty tomb. If Jesus did not rise from the dead, the Christian faith is a foolish fantasy. However, if the resurrection of Christ did occur, it confirms His life, message, and atoning work. 

I. A Light Shines In Through the DarknessJoh 20:1  Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.

  • No doubt that this was a trying time for the disciples and for the mother of Jesus. Matthew 28 and verse 1 adds the women Salome to the party. John focuses on Mary, On the first day of the week, Mary came to the tomb early, more than likely, there was still darkness over the land. She and the ladies mentioned in gospel accounts, Luk 24:10  Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles,  We might call this a “deep dawn,” right before there is any light, or just enough to see the path. 
  • Because Christ had been buried in a hurry, for the Sabbath coming soon, these ladies wanted to prepare Jesus’ body for proper burial.  Mary makes her way to the tomb and she was taken aback when she saw the stone had been rolled away. There are places in scripture where we learn pieces about the characters and are inspired by their actions. Yes, Mary was a product of the fall and still sinful. Yes, Mary did not realize that Jesus had risen, and just like the darkness that was still on the land, so was her she spiritually. But in this moment, we also see a characteristic of devotion and dedication. Devotion is not an outdated ideal, it is a much-needed attribute. Mary, got up at the crack of dawn, to attend to the body of Jesus. She finds the 2 ton stone rolled away, a task that only the Lord could do, and she is recorded in this way… Joh 20:2  So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him." That last statement informs us that they had no idea that they would find an empty tomb, they figured that the religious Jews would have taken the body. Simon Peter was broken because of his denial of the Lord, and now comes words of uncertainty. Even though John does not include the other women in this narrative, we know they are there because of the other gospel accounts and because he uses the word “we” as Mary explains the events that transpired at the tomb site. The darkest day in all of creation gives way to the brightest. Joh 20:3  So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb.

I try and imagine what the followers of Jesus went through, I try and place myself into the narrative. I am a firm believer that God wants us to interject into the scripture, not interject onto but into. If  God’s word is to speak to us, we have to be thrust into its grand narrative. Try to see what Mary sees on the path, try to understand her as she tries to make sense of that empty tomb,  try and set a frame work of devotion and servitude in your own life as Mary exhibits it to us as the modern reader. On that day and every day that follows, the only thing that will ever make sense is that Jesus is Risen. The resurrection of Jesus is the best explanation of the empty tomb. Listen church, you have been given the greatest gift you will ever receive. The gift of eternal life through the Messiah Jesus. There is no reason, in this great day of information and resources, to be ignorant of the things of God. The lord has given us so many tools to help us grow in our faith. Mary was in darkness, both physically and spiritually, but the risen Lord will open her eyes, and He will reveal to you as well, is will and way found in the Word of God. I am the type of person that believes God will grow His church to know Him more and His word more. If the Holy Spirit is living within you, don’t let me hear you ever say again, “we are just too dumb to understand,” if God can’t teach you then you don’t want to be taught. In Christ, there is the light of special revelation. We can have a hope and trust in God that people on the other side of the cross can’t claim, before when there was cloudy understanding of God, now, through the resurrection there is certainty. Who wants to grow in their faith? Who in here will never say again, I am not smart enough to learn more about God? Again, if the Holy Spirit can’t illumine your understanding, you are either lost or lazy. Which is it?

The Bible speaks of the urgency in the narrative and states: Joh 20:4  Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.

Joh 20:5  And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Joh 20:6  Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, Joh 20:7  and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.

  • John outran Peter to the tomb, here is the author of the account we read, the same one that rest his head on the chest of Jesus at the table. Can you imagine, looking into that tomb and seeing those burial clothes laying there. The words of Jesus no doubt rang true. As if to shatter the myth that someone come and stole the body of Jesus, John sees, separated from the linen, was the face cloth, nicely folded. Why is this important, what kind of thief would take the time to tidy up before they left? It would be like someone breaking into your house, tracking mud on your nice carpet, then before they put the goods into their car shampooed the carpet. The body was not stolen, Jesus was alive. If the sight of this didn’t shake them to the core, then nothing would. With all of the elements in place, the words of Jesus about His death and resurrection coming back to their remembrance, with the clothes placed in such a way, and with the heavy stone being rolled away, we find that sometimes,
  • II. Seeing is Believing: Eyewitness plays a very important place in the will of God for His church. There is the need to establish the church and the written canon of scripture, but before these come into existence, there needed to be a jarring of faith within those that clung to Christ as Lord. Jesus said to Thomas after the resurrection, just a few verses down, Joh 20:29  Jesus said to him, "Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Because God has to speak to us as babes, and because our faith, beliefs, and mind has been distorted by the Fall, there are times in the scriptures when God has to show the miraculous so that we might believe. Such is the case with verses 8-10 that read: Joh 20:8  Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; Joh 20:9  for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Joh 20:10  Then the disciples went back to their homes.
  • Even though John did not understand the full extent of the resurrection, when he saw the linens, He believed on the Words the Jesus spoke earlier and through His ministry. Up until this moment, it did not click, they did not understand the scripture, Psa 16:10 For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, you will not allow your holy one to experience corruption.

Because the witness and power of the Holy Spirit had not dwelt with the church yet, the Lord establishes a witness with eye witnesses accounts. You and I cannot sit down with the physical Lord today and carry on a verbal or audible conversation with Him, we can speak to the Lord and with the Holy Spirit in conjunction with His word we can communicate with Him and have certainty in our faith and beliefs, but for the early church God wasn’t finished laying out His divine and special revelation. Thus, we have the phrase “seeing is believing.” Today, we take what we know of scriptures and by reasoning through them and inferences, we can piece together a reasonable response to any sceptic that might discount the physical resurrection of Jesus. SO, why do we believe Jesus Rose again?

  1. "Jesus predicted His resurrection, if you believe the Words of Jesus, then you believe what He said about His death and resurrection. (Matt. 16:21; Mark 9:9-10; John 2:18-22).
  2. The Old Testament prophesied it, and because they have been fulfilled through Jesus, the resurrection stands as historically valid. (Psalm 16:10; compare Acts 2:25-31; 13:33-37).
  3. The tomb was empty and the grave clothes vacant and folded, if those who opposed Christ wished to silence His disciples, all they had to do was produce a body, but they could not (John 20:3-9).
  4. There were many witnesses to the resurrected Christ. They looked on His face, touched Him, heard His voice, and saw Him eat. (Matt. 28:16-20; Luke 24:13-39; John 20:11-29; John 21:1-9; Acts 1:6-11; 1 Cor. 15:3-8).
  5. The lives of the disciples were transformed. Though they fled and even denied Christ at the time of His arrest, they later feared no one in their proclamation of the risen Christ (Matt. 26:56, 69-75).
  6. The resurrection was the central message of the early church and still is. The church grew with an unwavering conviction that Christ had risen and was the Lord of the church (Acts 4:33; 5:30-32; Rom. 5:21).
  7. Men and women today testify that the power of the risen Christ has transformed their lives. We know that Jesus is alive not only because of the historical and biblical evidence but also because He has miraculously touched our lives."

Are you waiting to see something tangible before you believe and trust Jesus? You will wait until eternity and it may never happen. See, we line up with God on His terms on not ours. It is the Lord’s salvation to dispense as He wills and we can’t demand anything from Him. We first trust in Jesus by faith as He draws us unto Him, then…He gives us the assurance and the evidences we desire. You might be here this morning, and the Lord has revealed to you, right now, that His gospel is true and you need saving, wont you trust Him? For the church, there should never be a moment in our lives when we desire to stay in the darkness and be ignorant of the things of God. I want to be like Mary, or John, that rushed to see, that even though they didn’t understand it all, they rushed in to see a work of God. How about you, will you rush in, out of darkness, to see more of God?

 

 

 

 

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“Deceased Hope and Buried Faith”

July 17, 2017

I can visualize the many faces there at the foot of the cross of Jesus on that day when he was crucified. Many congregated on that hill, expected their Messiah to exhibit more power and authority than what they perceived. Rather, on the surface, Jesus seem to be defeated. Think about it, there was an expectation for Messiah, to rule forever, and not to be beaten and ridiculed, and crucified until death. Now, as they looked upon Jesus they saw all of their hopes for deliverance swept away like the wind. A Roman Crucifixion was a place where people just don’t come back from, there is no rubbing a little ointment on the wounds and everything would be fine. When one is crucified by the Romans, they were done, finished, your life was over, and there is chance of recovery. It was stated by the Jewish historian Josephus, that one did escape the clutch of a Roman crucifixion. The story goes, “During the siege of Jerusalem, in AD. 70, three of his friends were taken prisoner by the Romans when he was absent, and were crucified. When he returned in the evening to the Roman camp, he immediately went to Titus and obtained their pardon; they were taken down from their crosses. The doctors were unable to restore two of them to life, but the third survived. Now, the first two had been nailed but the third had only been tied to the cross with ropes. One can thus see that a variation in the method of crucifixion could effect the length of the time which it took to cause death. Those who were bound with ropes, says Josephus, died less rapidly than those who were nailed, and could be more easily revived.” The cruelty of the cross is part and parcel with our sins that placed our Lord on it. The cruelty of our sins demanded a cruel sacrifice, and only God Himself would be able to rectify the rebellion and sin that has been thrust upon the world.

The last word’s Jesus spoke to His mother and one of His disciples was a command, He said Joh 19:26  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"Joh 19:27  Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. The mother of Jesus and disciple John nearby, waited patiently at the feet of Jesus as He hang close to death. Imagine the hopelessness they felt, imagine the overwhelming hurt of a mother as she had to watch her Son die a slow death. You know, this can make a good reminder to all children out there that still have their mother’s nearby. Even in anguish, even in having the weight of the world pressing down upon our savior’s shoulders, He remembered. No suffering, however great, can extinguish love. Christ’s sufferings surpassed all conception, yet they did not dismiss His mother. He seemed to forget His agonies in that brief moment.  Children learn a lesson from this. “Personal inconveniences is no reason for neglecting your parents.”

Here they are, hopeless, saying all is lost, but there is a coming hope. I am reminded by the gospels, that when I look around at see all is lost, I quickly find God is still on the throne. When I am depressed with the state of the world, God reminds me that He is sovereignty and no man will ever chart the path and destiny of this world. Rev 21:6  And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. Rev 21:7  The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. Rev 21:8  But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."

He reminds me often and in many ways, the world is His and He loved you enough to send the very best, His Son. No reason for you to hang your head down in defeat, there is no reason to see hopelessness, for my Jesus is risen from the grave. In the next couple of weeks, we will examine the blessed resurrection in furtherer detail. I am so glad my savior died for me, how about you. With His death, there is extinguished hopelessness…That goes without saying, there are times when we have genuine feelings of defeated, and there are times when we see nothing but hopelessness. G. K. Chesterton said, “Hope means hoping when things are hopeless, or it is no virtue at all...As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength.” My friend, our hope and hope is in the risen Lord.

The last word’s Jesus uttered before His death were, “It is finished.” Meaning, His purpose has been fulfilled. He came to die for sin and that is what He did.

  1. A Sign of Cleansing: Joh 19:31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away.
  • You might have realized by now, the whole process of crucifixion was not a neat and tidy ordeal. Many times the bodies were left upon the cross until they died of suffocation. When the crucified could not hold their body up any longer, they would slump forward and die a cruel death of asphyxiation. They would simply suffocate to death.
  • The Passover was closing in, and to hurry the process, the religious Jews wanted the bones broken. The Roman soldiers would take this big hammer and smash the bones in the legs until they broke. It is amazing how spiritually dead these people were. To say they need the dead off the cross so they could be part of something that reminded them of God’s protection and cleansing is like saying I want to rob a bank so that I can give a good tithe to my church. It just didn’t make much sense.

 Joh 19:32  So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. Joh 19:33  But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.

They broke the legs of the two thieves. As we read this, we are reminded of the promise that the lamb of God, the sacrificial lamb would have no blemish, no broken bones, there was no imperfections found in Jesus. There is no mistaken, Jesus was deceased, and with His death was also the dashed hopes of a Messiah. It seemed as if the enemy had the upper hand.

Joh 19:34  But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water.

  • As one can imagine, there have been many theories surrounded the symbolism and also what medically happened in the moment when clear watery fluid and blood poured out of the pierced side of Jesus. If we were to use the words of a physician at the cross, he would say something like, “The blow of the lance which was given to the right side reached the right auricle of the heart, perforating the pericardium.” Due to the high levels of stress that Jesus went through, the beatings, the hunger, the dehydration, the loss of blood, there accumulated around the heart, canopy of fluid and the spear broke through it first, then the heart. Some say that Jesus literally died of a broken heart. I have read explanations of the blood and water and have come to the conclusion. Medically, we have a good idea what happened, but what may be the spiritual implication. I asked myself, “in scripture, what is the significance of water and blood? I found that in both case, blood and water are seen through the lenses of a cleansing. One can say, because of the death of Jesus, ones sins may be washed away. That my friend is the hope we see on the cross. To John this was such a miraculous event that …

Joh 19:35  He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth—that you also may believe. Joh 19:36  For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: "Not one of his bones will be broken." Joh 19:37  And again another Scripture says, "They will look on him whom they have pierced."

  • Here are two references that John uses, He grounds what he witnesses with the prophetic scripture. In short, he just doesn’t use his experiences, He uses scripture. The first place John references is found in Psa 34:20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. The second is Zec 12:10  "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. John is imply, believe my words and witness for theses events have been foretold.

Yes, under that cross was feelings of hopelessness, dread for the future, but in one moment, a foreshadowing of hope. What I see in the blood of Christ is the washing away of sin, in the sacrifice is cleansing. It was the cry of David that said,  “Wash me!”

John the Baptist exclaimed, “Wash!”

Peter was admonished in that upper room by Jesus, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” Without our being washed clean, we all die from the corruption of sin. As the classic song asks, “are you washed in the blood of the lamb?” Are your sins forgiven? Here is the beauty, Christ wants you to be clean, He wants you to walk upright, sober minded and stable in Him. Are you tired of having the decaying stench of sinfulness infest your spirit, be washed by the sacrificial blood of Christ…there is hope.

  1. Did They Believe? Joh 19:38 Later on, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus (though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews), asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission, and he came and removed his body.
  • I am amazed by two men in this portion of the narrative, these two men attended the body of Jesus, even when it seemed all hope was lost. Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin, makes the pages of all four gospel accounts. It must be noted, there was something important about Joseph for him to be noted in the gospels. Even though John states that Joseph feared the Jews, he is also noting in courage in the fact that he went to Pilate in order to remove the body of Jesus. Jesus must have made an impact on this man for him to step out, even after Jesus died. For many, the death of Jesus would only prove He wasn’t who He claimed to be, so why bother. Did He believe in Jesus, his actions say “yes.” So he hurried to get down the body of Jesus before the Passover. John writes of a second man that is important to the story. Also a secret disciple of Jesus for he went to Him at night…

Joh 19:39  Nicodemus, the man who had first come to Jesus at night, also arrived, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes weighing about a hundred pounds. Joh 19:40  They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it in linen cloths along with spices, according to the burial custom of the Jews.

  • For both Joseph and Nicodemus, this was a huge risk for both of them. The Jews could have easily said the gentlemen we co-conspirators with Jesus. If we look at their actions, we conclude it cost them something to serve Jesus. The amount of spices brought were costly and used to prepare the body for burial. It is estimated that the amount of myrrh and aloe is 65 pounds in the modern western way of measuring, a hefty amount at any rate. Jesus was lifted up on the cross and proclaimed to be King by Pilate, and now the burial is one that would have been used for a King. Jesus received a King’s burial.

Joh 19:41  A garden was located in the place where he was crucified, and in that garden was a new tomb in which no one had yet been placed. Joh 19:42  Because it was the Jewish Preparation Day, and because the tomb was nearby, they put Jesus there.

  • Once again, in accordance with the scriptures, Jesus was laid in the tomb of a rich man. Isa 53:9 Then they made his grave with the wicked, and with rich people in his death, although he had committed no violence, nor was there any deceit in his mouth." It is evident, that the actions of these two men proved that they believed there was something special or even other worldly about Jesus Christ. For these two men to step outside of what they have been fed for all of these years is a huge step of faith. Or maybe, they rightly saw the Old Testament as a proper forecasting of the Messiah, maybe they actually saw the correct interpretation and Messianic significance of redemption. Regardless, they stepped out in light of danger.

There is something about the death of Jesus that spiritually stimulates them further. When those that were Jesus’ disciples were scattered and scared, these two stayed and stood by in courage.

 

Just as Jesus was laid in another man’s tomb, He died for another’s sin and not His own.

 

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John 19: 17-30

July 15, 2017

I cannot think of another time to meditate upon the death of our Lord Jesus than before or during communion. For, we are reminded of the beautiful sacrifice of our Lord Jesus. Last week we spoke of the love seen in the beatings, in the pulling out of His beard, we were brought to close examination of our lives in light of the saviors sacrifice, but it would not be a sacrifice unless the Lord died. Today, we recall once again, we remember anew, the death of our Lord Jesus. With both the communion table and the scriptures, we remember the death of Jesus and the significance it has on us as individuals, and on the cosmos itself. John Calvin defined this sacrament as “a visible sign of a sacred thing” or as a “visible word” of God. The Lord’s Table, according to Calvin, are inseparably attached to the Word. The sacraments seal the promises found in the Word. “The Lord has given us a table at which to feast, not an altar on which a victim is to be offered; He has not consecrated priests to make sacrifice, but servants to distribute the sacred feast.” So, we gather around both today, in high expectations, that the Lord will grow us in His grace and knowledge, and save those that need saving from sin. We have many scriptures to examine this morning so let us begin:

  1. The King on The Cross: Last week, the high priest presented Jesus before Pilate in hope he would crucify Him. They wanted Jesus executed and out of the way. The supposed spiritually minded to the things of the law were blind to the Kingdom of God. After Pilate had our Lord beaten, he presented Jesus to the crowd as, “behold the man, and the lamb,” and in John’s narrative, the irony is thick throughout. Joh 19:17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha.
  • Jesus went out bearing His own cross. There are other gospel accounts that speak of the Cyrene who helps Jesus carry His cross, but the point in the narrative is the cruelty and weight of the cross, and yet Jesus clung to it freely. The place of the skull, or Golgotha seems appropriate. Seeing that this death is the result of sin, and a skull is a sign of death. If one was to glance upon this hill from afar, you might see something like this

 Joh 19:18  There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them.

  • Jesus was crucified between two robbers, both reviled Jesus the same way. There is indication from scripture that they both mocked Him at some point, or looked unfavorable upon Jesus. The gospel of Luke tells us that one of the robbers rebuked Jesus saying, if you are the Son of God save yourselves and us, and the other said, Luk 23:42 And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. This is the guy I want to be. The one that is willing to say, God be gracious to me, I deserved to die a slow and agonizing death, but please remember me.

 Joh 19:19  Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." Joh 19:20  Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. Joh 19:21  So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, "Do not write, 'The King of the Jews,' but rather, 'This man said, I am King of the Jews.'" Joh 19:22  Pilate answered, "What I have written I have written."

  • This inscription over the head of Jesus made the High Priest and the religious angry. The Romans perfected the Persian are of Crucifixion, they were masters of this form of execution, and it is estimated somewhere in the thousands. There were many people that gathered around the cross that day. Jerusalem at this time was a cultural hotbed for many people. You had the Romans, the Greeks, and of course the Hebrew. The inscription, even though it was just a title to for the cross, was more of a beacon for the nations, in some regard, it was a sign for the world saying, “Here is the King of kings.”
  • Here again are the religious leaders being angry. These were the people that would try to lynch the pastor is he picked a wrong color of paint for the walls. These are the kind of people that would split a church, those that were too selfish and inward focused to see the Kingdom of God. They disputed with Pilate and Pilate pulled his authority and said, what I have written, I have written.” As if to say, “what I have written stays written.” What Pilate wrote was equivalent to the Kingly edict, and could not and would not be over turn, and no truer words were inscribed on that cross than, “King of The Jews.”

Today is a special day for us, this is a day when we can survey the ministries at the church. This day gives us an opportunity to sign up and serve where you know the Lord is calling you to serve. While we look upon that cross and the inscription over the head of our Lord, we see Him as savior, Lord and King, and what do servants to for the King? They serve Him until death. No one will ever supersede the servitude exhibited by our Lord. No one will ever out serve Jesus. You have people in here today that are serving so that we could enjoy this time in God’s house. You have deacons who serve their families, they visit when they are sick or are in need, you have musicians that lead worship with theologically rich songs that point us to Jesus. You have the Word of God, being presented as studied weeks and even months in advance, but Jesus out serves all. Jesus, King of Kings, died so that you can live in Him and serve Him unto death. This is the portion of the narrative in John, which should move us into deep contemplation and reflection. I have come up with a remedy for the burdened and broken hearted. Are you in Christ and yet are living in depression…serve Jesus and His church. Are you struggling with crafting your family to be a gospel centered and spiritually mature family….serve Jesus and His church? Are you tired of being sick and tired…serve Jesus and His church. Are you tired of feeling insignificant in the body of Christ…serve Jesus and His church? In short…serve the King as a faithful servant, don’t worry about being adequate, God make the adequate.

  1. The Gamblers: Below the foot of the cross, while Jesus hang His head in death, there was a gambling session going on. One that was foretold in scriptures long ago. Joh 19:23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, Joh 19:24  so they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be." This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, "They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots." So the soldiers did these things,
  • There are two different groups of people in this crowd. Those that were numb or unresponsive to the claims of Jesus, and those that were broken because of Jesus’ death. Those that were so insensitive to the crucifixion and those that were truly broken. Let us first handle those that are numb or insensitive. I have worked with funeral homes enough to know, there are some that have dealt with death so much, which they come off as insensitive to the family and those around them. On one occasion, I heard one funeral home employees say, during a service, “I wish she would hurry, we have to get out of here.” I cannot think of another gesture that would be more insensitive than to roll the lots for the garments of our Lord. Roman soldiers that have performed crucifixion so many times, that they were more move by the dice than by death. Why did John include this action by the guards? To show the scriptural and prophetic importance. As seen in “the Psalm of the cross,” Psa 22:18 they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots. clothing they cast lots. To the guards, this was just a game, nothing more than another days work. On the other side of the cross were those that were broken…

Joh 19:25  but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Joh 19:26  When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold, your son!"Joh 19:27  Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!"

  • Important to Jesus was the keeping of His mother. He tells John to look after His mother.

And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. Joh 19:28  After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), "I thirst."Joh 19:29  A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. Joh 19:30  When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, "It is finished," and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

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John 18: 28-40 “Not of This World”

June 27, 2017

At the time I begin jotting down some ideas for this week’s sermon, my stomach is a Little upset. It may have been that I filed my stomach up with a good breakfast and two bottles of water before we left, and the winding road up and down the mountain twisted and churned my stomach like a washing machine. I am resting in the van and the team is heading through the ancient ruins of Ingaperica. As I sit in the van looking out across the mountain side, I am reminded, God owns it all. He painted the skylights in the heavens, He swept the mountain peaks up to their highest with His might. He owns it all, even the many cows and pigs grazing and rooting on the countryside. I had entered into a world, in all of its vastness, which reminded me. No matter what we think we own, no matter what little plot of land we think we have complete control over, God really owns every square molecule. If that measure makes sense. I am also reminded of a very theologically rich truth, a theologically and philosophically rich and robust truth. Here it is so write it down, “Jesus loves the little children.”

On July 9th, on Expo Sunday, the Ecuador mission team will craft a worship service to share what the Lord did in their hearts, and with the children in the villages. We had many God appointed encounters and we will share what we can, and have just a small amount of pictures as well. Mission trips do something to you. For some, you know you are going to try and make an impact for Christ on some people in another land, but Christ impacts you through it all. In a brief moment of time, we get to see the world, in real time, the way God sees them, in need of the savior.

As Christ followers, we have got to remember, this world is not my home. Jesus said similar words during His trial. As He stood before Pilate He said, “My Kingdom is Not of This World,” and that is the title of today’s sermon.  I want to propose a few questions throughout the message. “Have you gotten too comfortable with the comforts of this world?” Have you been too comfortable in your cultural bubble? My prayer is that God would invade that bubble, and do so very soon.

  1. Too Good For The King: 28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor's headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor's headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover.
  • When we talk about Jesus as King, we want to focus on Hi in this way: He is King of kings and Lord of lords. As Andreas Kostenburger wrote, “Jesus was the otherworldly king who had come to this word as a witness to the truth; He was the one who would one day serve as as its judge, but who was to give His life for the sins of the world.” The temple guards led Jesus from the high Priests home, (which was unlawful anyway), to the headquarters of the governor Pontius Pilate. The scriptures say the Jews didn’t want to get close to the headquarters, a place where the gentile dogs live, for they thought they might be unclean. Praise the Lord God didn’t see clean and unclean in terms of ethnicity. All this business with unclean people was a misrepresentation of the Hebrew Scriptures, just read the book of Jonah. Jesus sees all people in need of a savior. They would not go into the office of Pilate, as if stepping in would add any more dirtiness to the filth and depravity they carried around anyway. The fact that I mention this so harshly, or even mention it at all, is because sometimes we act the same way. There are people all over the world that are hurting and lost, even in our own neighborhood, but we think we are too good to talk to them, or even invite them to church. Sin, sickness, addictions, etc., Jesus didn’t die on the cross so we could be comfortable locked in our own little Kingdom. A Kingdom where we have the draw bridge up, the moat is full, the doors are locked. You might say, our church isn’t like that, but I guarantee there are some that wants to limit access to the Kingdom and that is sin my friend there is no other way to put it. These guards would not even go into Pilate’s headquarters. Then get this, as to add irony to the narrative, go to get ready for the Passover. They were dirty before their feet even hit the ground in the morning, much less getting close to a Gentile. They thought that somehow, participating in the Passover would make them clean. Not so! In fact, many people today rely on ceremonies and traditions to make them acceptable to God. Many people are still in sin, and still act as if taking communion, coming to church, or getting baptized makes one clean. Those things are worthy of participation and used in worship. If you are a Christ follower and have been saved. It is only the blood of Jesus and His sacrifice that makes one clean.

29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”

A young man had a fire and a zeal to serve the Lord and to be on the mission field.  He felt the call, even at a young age, to go to a foreign country and share Jesus with them. He prayed about it and knew the Lord was calling Him to go, and so he sought his Pastor’ counsel. He sat down and shared what the Lord was doing in his heart and life, and told him he felt called to foreign missions. Amazingly, the Pastor was not in full agreeance with the young man’s calling. He said, “I think you are too young to go to another country instead of encouraging the boy, He seemed to crush his hopes and dreams of working for the Lord. Having enough wisdom, even at his young age, the boy looked at the obviously inner focused pastor and said, “I might not be a pastor, and I might not be a biblical scholar, but when the Lord says GO I Go. It wasn’t long afterwards, the pastor retired due to infidelity towards his wife, and the young man went on the mission field in China. What is amazing about the story, this young man started a revival in his church by being obedient. People were being saved, people that thought they were in Gods will and saved but were in fact lost. To be part of Gods work is to understand this, we are not too good for Gods mission, nor do we build up a little impenetrable kingdom of our own.

  1. Too Good To Persecute (Dirty Work):  Joh 18:30  They answered him, "If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you."

Joh 18:31  Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law." The Jews said to him, "It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death."

Joh 18:32  This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die

This is a classic case of getting someone else to do the dirty work, or to get a scape goat. We quickly see, they were not even willing to execute Jesus. They were willing to point the finger, but we’re coward when it comes to executing Jesus. They wanted someone to do their dirty work. Pilate was a man of business, a man that wanted to know exactly what the defendant did to merit such a request of execution. He must have done something to force the religious leaders out of obeying their own laws. Exodus 20:13, “thou shalt not kill.” They didn’t care if the gentiles broke the law of god, I mean, “they Jews are God’s chosen people.” They misunderstood what that meant for centuries. Despite the Jewish nature of the whole narrative, the method of crucifixion will be used to kill Jesus, as reality that Jesus already predicted. Joh 12:32  And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. Joh 12:33  This he said, signifying what death he should die. 

There was a committee that didn’t like the Pastor was running things. They gathered all the people that had the same idea about him and decided they wanted one person to address the pastor first. They gathered all the appropriate people for their “noble cause,” but they themselves were to dignified to go to the pastor with their concerns. They finally got themselves a scapegoat. This person was respectable in the church sent the person on their way to execute the deed. This person went to the pastor and stressed the disapproval. I believe the cause of upset was they thought he spent way too much of the churches resources. The pastor sat and listened intently to all of the grievances, he didn’t utter a word. He paused at the end of all of the grievances, looked at the young scapegoat and said this to them, “Kingdom focused people don’t enlist others to do their dirty work, they come seeking health and what is right for the kingdom of Jesus.” The Pastor had flaws just like everyone else, but don’t call up a rallying squad to execute. Listen, have enough faith that God will work it out, so much so, that He will give you boldness, even when confrontation is difficult. The very first thing we should do when we have an issue with a brother or sister is most of the time the last. Jesus died so we can be Kingdom people, He stood before Pilate persecuted so that we could be Kingdom people.

III.             Too Good TO Proclaim Him King:  Joh 18:33  So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Joh 18:34  Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?"Joh 18:35  Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?"

  • Pilate asks a very simple question, “Are you the King of the Jews?” In true Rabbinic fashion, Look at Jesus’ reply. Did Pilate come to this realization on his own or just what He was told? What Jesus is doing, in some regard, is showing that of the spirit and that of the flesh. He asked the disciples, “Who do the people say that I am,” and Peter said, “thou are the Christ the Son of the living God.” Peter’s confession was one that could only come from the spirit. Likewise, Jesus is asking, although He knows, where did he come up with the notion that Jesus was the King of the Jews? Jesus own people turned Him over to the Roman government because He disrupted the corruption in that was in the temple, He constantly called them out for their false interpretations of the law, Jesus stirred the pot with righteousness, and being confronted made the Jews angry.

Notice the last part of the question, “what have you done?” That’s the whole point, Jesus did not have any offense other than being right and true. That’s the whole point of the cross of Christ Jesus, which is what makes the cross so crucial in His sacrificial work, Jesus was innocent, but His own people wouldn’t proclaim or see Him as the way of atonement, or amends with God almighty. Here is the thing, we don’t make amends with God, and He makes us righteous and pure in His sight. We offer nothing. They were too good to proclaim Him as King and they were separated from God, so Christian, what is your excuse? If you are saved, sanctified and secured in Him, you will lift up the name of Christ. One of the effects I see coming from the trip to Ecuador and many more, is that it teaches us to be mission even in our own back yard. Tell, the neighbor about the love of Jesus, even if you might have a hunch he knows Christ. God is moving, why aren’t you?

  1. Jesus Proclaims His Kingdom Borders: First, Jesus, as co-creator with God the Father owns all this world. Second, we have Kingdom borders similar to Jesus. Joh 18:36 Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."Joh 18:37  Then Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice."Joh 18:38  Pilate said to him, "What is truth?" After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, "I find no guilt in him. Joh 18:39  But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?" Joh 18:40  They cried out again, "Not this man, but Barabbas!" Now Barabbas was a robber.
  • If Jesus Kingdom was of ancient Israel or the Roman Empire, He could have had His servants fight. Jesus answers the way we all should. Here is the thought, “this world, and the ways of it, are not my home.” We don’t rest in the ways of the world and all of its depravity, we rest in the Kingdom of God. Jesus could have easily rallied some troops, in the garden He could have commanded His people to raise up arms, but He didn’t. He could have ensued a right but He didn’t, because this world, and the way of this world, is not His home, and it isn’t for the Christian either. We spend such a short time here on earth and we become some of the most wasteful people with the time God has given us.
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“Will You Deny Him?” John 18: 25-27 ( Graduation Sunday 2017)

June 5, 2017

Once again I would like to say congratulations to class of 2017. I know it has been a long journey for those graduating from high school and College. I must confess, I was not the ideal student in school. My days in school was filled with moments of rebellion and trouble making. My brother quickly learned of the rebellious reputation of his older brother. He signed up for shop class, the teacher was calling out the roll, got to my brother's name, looks up and sees the family resemblance. Teacher asks him, “are you related to Larry Stephens? My brother said, “yes, he's my brother.” I want to tell you, that teacher looked right at him and said,” I have had one Stephens in my class and I’ll not have another.” He kicked him out. I can tell you a thing or two about the Grace of God. I can think of the apostle Paul when he said in 1Ti 1:12  I thank the Messiah Jesus, our Lord, who gives me strength, that he has considered me faithful and has appointed me to his service. 1Ti 1:13  In the past I was a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a violent man. But I received mercy because I acted ignorantly in my unbelief, 1Ti 1:14  and the grace of our Lord overflowed toward me, along with the faith and love that are in the Messiah Jesus. 1Ti 1:15  This is a trustworthy saying that deserves complete acceptance: To this world Messiah came, sinful people to reclaim. I am the worst of them. 1Ti 1:16  But for that very reason I received mercy, so that in me, as the worst sinner, the Messiah Jesus might demonstrate all of his patience as an example for those who would believe in him for eternal life.

I learned fast that graduating from high school, although it was difficult at times, was the easiest part of this thing called life.

I want to challenge the class of 2017 and I want you to bear with me as I do so. I do not think we as Christians need to walk out of any worship setting without being challenged by God’s word. If one leaves a worship setting and they have not been challenged, then one must wonder if they have been to worship. One must ask, has the Word been adequately and rightly divided if I walk away feeling adequate in myself? Today demands much more than some twinkle toe sermon that dances around sin and depravity, what we need is more meat and potatoes preaching and teaching. Do you think when you guys get in the dorms that a fruity little sermonette will do in feeding your soul? No, we need the truth. It cannot always be Prim and proper, sometimes our toes must be stepped on in some regard at every worship service.

I want to offer some advice to you guys today that I believe would be effective both in college and in a new-found workplace. We must think of everything in our life through the lens of scripture. And when we do not line ourselves up with God’s word, we often find that life becomes way more complex and more of a struggle than it needs to be. So, the end of the sermon today I want to offer a few words of guidance on the college level and then also for those entering a newfound workplace.

 If we would call the life of the Apostle Paul up to this moment, we know that his life was one of ups and downs much like all our lives. In chapter 18 of John’s gospel, we see on display, some of Peter’s actions. We saw how he was very fast to pull out a sword and to striking a soldier, we saw how he was in the presence of Jesus at his first hearing and how he denied the Lord Jesus and denied him comfortably. There is much that can be said about Peter’s denial and how everyone of us in some way can relate to Peter. In other words, Peter can teach us a lesson about our allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ or the lack thereof. How does this offers a word for us? How this offers a word for us today, is it allows us to answer the question “do we deny Jesus and if so how often?” Do we live a life that revolves around daily denying Jesus? And if this is the case, then does that in imply that we are not really Christ-followers at all?

College graduates high school graduates how you display Christ to the world is so vitally important. They’ll be moments in your college life when you will be pressed, or your beliefs will be pressed. They’ll be times when your professors will stretch your faith. They will doubt your faith, they might even be times when you will be called out in front of the class as being a Christian. And yes, that does happen more often than what we would like to admit to.

For those entering the work force, there will be times when your faith in Jesus will be challenged. There will be those moments when you are offered a shortcut and to take it would be sin.

  1. Do not get to comfortable in this world: It is very easy to fall into hanging with the wrong crowd. Sometimes, the occasions call for us to rub elbows and minister to the down and out, the sinner. In fact, evangelism is contingent on the gospel of Jesus rubbing elbows amoungst sinners. There is no getting around this fact. You are not good enough, no matter how noble you might think you are, to get around the fact that Jesus called us to go into the world. That being said, this does not mean we recline and get comfortable around sin. Let’s look at Peter, Joh 18:25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. Some people asked him, "You aren't one of his disciples, too, are you?" He denied it by saying, "I am not!"  John summarizes the other gospel accounts by saying “some people,” inquired of Peter if indeed he was a disciple. Peter had denied Him once before Jesus was brought to the high priest Annas. Have you ever had someone cut you off in traffic, and they knew they were wrong, totally their fault, and they avoid eye contact? Likewise, Peter is symbolically putting his head in the sound, he doing like some of the liberal media and covering their ears and saying. There is an occasion in the gospel of Matthew, Mat_26:73  After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you." Your Galilean accent gives you away. They obviously recognized him as one of Jesus’ disciples.

I begin to think about the implications of Peter’s standing with Jesus over the whole scope of Peter’s ministry. Peter had some ups and downs, there is no doubt about that, but there Lord Jesus obviously restored Peter. Peter became a might preacher for Jesus. I begin to think about this accent thing, and about the actions of Peter and what gave him a way as a follower. I want people to associate me with Jesus by how they see me live my life, and how I proclaim Jesus, just like Peter’s accent gave him away. When you get out in the world as students of workers, will people see enough Jesus in you to say, “you are one of His aren’t you?” This works two ways though. For when you proclaim to be a follower and act otherwise, the world notices it as well. Church, the reason many don’t come against your faith and beliefs is because we haven’t put it on display enough. People, put Christ on display, put the gospel out and in front of your lives, and employ the Holy Spirit to enable you to live it out. The flip side of people seeing enough Jesus in you to identify you as a disciple, the same objective to works o shame you as well. The world is watching and waiting for you to shame Jesus. It is no secret, it is nothing to hide, if you live for Jesus long enough, you will shame Him in some way, but we have an advocate that we identify with that will cleanse us and bring us back into a vibrate relationship with Him if we will just cling and call to Him. Look at how identity in Jesus works in reverse, Joh 18:26  Then one of the high priest's servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, "I saw you in the garden with Jesus, didn't I?" Didn’t you walk with Jesus who was supposed to be a peace maker and yet back there you tried to cut off a man’s ear? Joh 18:27  Peter again denied it, and immediately a rooster crowed.

Here is Peter, denying the Lord Jesus, the very same Son of God that was part of creating universe. Apart for God almighty and His involvement in our lives, we would be like Peter, denial and all. When you are pressed because of your association with Jesus, will you deny Him or stand faith. If we were to fast forward a few days from this arrest scene. We see a vastly different Peter. We read about the apostle Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, preaching in power and boldness. Act 2:40  Using many different expressions, Peter continued to testify and to plead with them, saying, "Be saved from this corrupt generation!" Act 2:41  So those who welcomed his message were baptized. That day about 3,000 people were added to their number.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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John 18: 19-24 To Slap The Face of Christ- May 28th 2017

May 29, 2017

Message was recorded on May 28th, even though in the sermon it is mentioned as "May 29th"

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“Will You Deny Him”- John 18:12-18

May 15, 2017

 I remember reading about a little snippet of a little boy that was to recite some scriptures for Sunday Morning. His verse to remember was Joh_8:12  Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." He got up before the congregation to recite this verse and drew a blank, he could not remember it for anything. Looking down at his mother sitting on the front row, she mouthed out the verse. Still, he couldn’t make out what she was mouthing, so he leaned in to read her lips and he finally got it, he finally understood. He looked up and said, “My mom is the light of the world.” No, No, but thank the Lord for mom’s who teach their children God’s word.

As you might have figured, today’s message is not a traditional Mother’s Day sermon. Unless there are verses from the Gethsemane arrest scene that can be applied to mothers, today will be a travel through more verses from the garden scene. In reality, I do not have to spend 30 minutes trying to tie these verses into Mother’s Day when I can talk about Jesus and how He affects all of our lives.

Last week, I most of our time considering what transpired at the opening of the garden scene. We spoke about the thick irony that is through the narrative, how this episode reflects upon a time when man and women walked with God in the coolness of the day. I am of course speaking about what transpired in the Garden of Eden. How humankind sinned against God and if you fast forward a few thousand years, you see the same level of rebellion and deceit seen through those in the garden with Jesus. Here are people coming up the hill side to arrest Jesus, who is the light of the world. These people carrying torches and lights, and weaponry. Those light bearers were coming to arrest the Light that came into the world to lift the darkening and blinding effects of sin. Jesus asks the arresting party of people who they seek, they replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” When Jesus answered the men here is what happened, Joh 18:6  When Jesus said to them, "I am he," they drew back and fell to the ground. Jesus’ response was very similar what they know about the “I AM.” Could it be that Jesus was using the language that can only be used when referring about the self-existing one?  

We spent much time talking about betray. If anyone in that garden had the right to pick up a sword it would have been Jesus. So, Peter slices off the ear of Malchus then Jesus heals Him. Instead of rightfully standing over Him and saying, “see, that’s what you get,” Jesus healed him. To compliment last week’s sermon, here is the verses that demonstrate Jesus healing the ear. Luk 22:50  And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.

Luk 22:51  But Jesus said, "No more of this!" And he touched his ear and healed him.

Today we pick up in the narrative with a sermon I have entitled, “will you deny Him?”

Joh 18:12  So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound him.

  • Jesus basically turned Himself in to the captain who was a commander over a legion of soldiers. The Lord could have very easily could have upset the crowds and they could have followed Peter’s lead and started slicing away as well. Goes to show, the end result of retaliation leads to a vicious cycle of harm and ill intent. From this point on in the narrative, it is very easy to see ourselves in Jesus place. Jesus was bound because we were bound in sin.

Joh 18:13  First they led him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. Joh 18:14  It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people.

  • We quickly see that both Annas and Caiaphas were involved with the sentencing of Jesus. Where did Caiaphas first unknowingly prophesy that Jesus should die for the people? Joh 11:48 If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation." Joh 11:49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, Joh 11:50  Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish." "You know nothing at all. I preached through these passages in a sermon entitled, “A View To a Kill.” Caiaphas had no idea the weight of the words that he said. Jesus would not only die for Israelite people, but people of every ethnicity, every tribe on earth, every dialect or language, every people group, Jesus died for the whoso ever will, He is no respecter of persons. Yes, one man had to die so that the whole world would not perish forever. Act_10:34  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

Joh 18:15  Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, Joh 18:16  but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in.

  • West of the temple mount, is the court yard of the high priest. We have one Simon Peter mentioned and another disciple that many believe to be the apostle John. Since only men were allowed in the inner temple, and since there was a servant girl watching the door, it would be safe to say that this was at the house of one of the arresting party, probably a religious ruler.

Joh 18:17  The servant girl at the door said to Peter, "You also are not one of this man's disciples, are you?" He said, "I am not."

  • The world, in the way of this girl, pressed in on Peter to test his allegiance. Was this a test for Peter to see if he would deny the Lord? Did the Lord use this chance to humble Peter. The lady sets Peter up with a lob pitch. She puts the ball on the “T” for peter and makes it easy for him to say “no.” She uses the phrase, “Art thou not,” and in the Greek, this would be a negative gesture towards Jesus. “Are you with HIM?” You know people in the world ask that of you all the time? People notice a different outlook of life according to you, and they notice. With a little digging, they come to find out you are a Jesus Christ follower and they ask, “Are you with Him,” or “you are one of them aren’t you?” The way we respond is pivotal in the rest of our walk, for each time we dismiss a gospel opportunity, it becomes easier the next. How many of us have said, even in our silence, “I am not with Him.” She speaks of Christ in the vulgar dialect of the Jews, calling him "this man"; not only esteeming him a mere man, but a worthless man.
  • We know of the scriptures that show Peter’s denial before the rooster crowed. Mar 14:72 And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, "Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times." And he broke down and wept.

Joh 18:18  Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

  • John shows us, that, up to a certain point, Peter was hard headed and rebellious, even in his denial. Sometimes the Lord has to knock us up side of the head to get us out of our funk we get in. To get us to think like Him and to acknowledge that His ways are always the better way. It took three times before Peter was broken.
  • F.B. Meyers said there are three lessons we can learn from Peter’s denial: (1) Let us not sleep through the precious moments which Heaven affords before each hour of trial, but use them for putting on the whole armor of God, that we may be able to stand in the evil day. (2) Let us not vaunt our own strength. We need more than resolution to sustain us in the hour of conflict. (3) Let us not cast ourselves down from the mountainside, unless absolutely sure that God bids us to do so. He will not otherwise give His angels charge to keep us.
  • Peter warms himself by the fire to escape suspicion, but the light reveals him yet again and he denies the Lord. This all was part of the Lord’s divine plan. Christ would be rejected so we may be accepted. In Act_4:11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.

How do we reject the Lord today? For the church, it is not living out your faith. For the person that doesn’t know Jesus yet, rejection and denial is already there. We reject the Lord today by living in willful disobedience and try to have things our way and catered to our preference. We reject the Lord by not reconciling with each other, by being stingy with the gospel, by not looking at adversity in the body of Christ and using it for the glory of God.

I would like to share a dream with you…

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