April 23, 2000
As we know, Christ had his last supper with his disciples, and when they were finished, they went out into the garden. The Jewish religious leaders were looking for the opportunity to kill Christ because he was a threat to their power and hold over the people. They could not take Christ publicly because the people love him and his message. So as Christ went to the garden with his disciples, Judas went to the religious leaders to tell them where they could take Christ without creating a public uproar.
I believe it is important to note that the last lesson Christ taught his disciples was a lesson on humility, serving one another.
They went out from the last supper to the mount of Olives, where the Lord prayed while the disciples slept. In his prayer, he submitted to his Heavenly Father, and an angel appeared, strengthening him for what he was to go through. He then returned to where the disciples were, and woke them up. Then Judas came with the religious leaders. They came with swords as though they were capturing a thief. In defense of Christ, Peter cut off one of the soldier's ear, and the Lord put it back on. Even though Christ did that miracle for his enemies to see, they still carried out their plans.
Note: Facts, even miraculous facts, WILL NOT change the minds of unbelievers.
They took Christ to the high priest's house, and Peter followed back out of sight. A young woman saw Peter and said that Peter was a follower of Christ, a charge which Peter denied three times.
Note: Luke 33:32, Christ had told Peter that he would strengthen others after he was converted. It was going to take a traumatic experience to convert Peter. That traumatic experience was Peter's denial of Christ, vv. 33, 34. Peter wept bitterly over what he did, and he was never the same after that event.
What kind of a traumatic experience does it take for us to be converted to where we can strengthen one another?
Christ was then mocked and beaten. Blindfolded, his enemies wanted him to "prophecy" who hit him.
The religious leaders asked him again if he was the Son of God. Christ said that he was. And thus they condemned him to death for blasphemy:
John 10:33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
The religious leaders had to have Rome's permission before they could kill the Saviour. Pilate represented Rome, but Pilate would not accept their claim of blasphemy against Christ, so he did not want to approve the death. So the religious leaders tried to present Christ as a threat to Rome's power and authority. They claimed Christ tried to set himself up as a king, and that he was a tax protester who urged the people not to give tribute to Caesar.
Pilate questioned Christ, and found no fault in him. But the religious leaders wold not accept a "not guilty" verdict, so they put more pressure on Pilate to crucify Christ. Pilate wanted a way out of the mess he now found himself in, so he sent Christ to Herod, who was Rome's ruler in Galilee, where Christ was from.
Herod had wanted to meet Christ, for he had heard about him for some time. Herod hoped to see Christ do a miracle, 23:8. But we know that would have done no good, for the miracle of healing the ear did not change the mind of those determined to put him to death.
Though Herod asked many questions of Christ, Christ did not answer him. Herod found nothing in Christ worthy of death, but he did not stop the crucifiction. He sent Christ back to Pilate, and Herod and Pilate became friends, 23:12.
Note: Christ unites enemies -- they either unite together against Christ or for Christ.
V. 18, Pilate again sought to release Christ, offering to beat Christ. Tradition required a condemned criminal to be released at the time of the feast. Since Christ had done no wrong, Pilate hoped the crowd would chose Christ over the robber, Barabbas. But no, they demanded Barabbas, and that Christ be put away from them.
V. 24, so Pilate yielded to the pressure, and gave the sentence against Christ demanded by the religious leaders.
Note that the world will tolerate anyone except a faithful Christian. That is why the world chooses to have child killers in the class rooms rather than the Ten Commandments on the wall or prayers in the school. I AM NOT SAYING THOSE THINS WILL SOLVE THE PROBLEM WITH THE SCHOOL SYSTEM, but removing them did not help the situation any.
V. 26, Christ was led away to be crucified, along with two other criminals who were to be put to death for their crimes, and he was crucified between those two criminals. And while on the cross, one of the criminals repented and came to Christ, vv. 32-43
After Christ died, a follower of Christ, Joseph, asked for the body of Jesus. He took the body, and buried it in h is own new tomb.
Luke 24:1-9, the women went to the grave to prepare the body, and anoint it further with spices to cover the smell of decay. But Christ was not there -- he was risen from the dead.
AND TODAY WE COMMEMORATE THAT RESURRECTION. Today we should remember what the resurrection means to God's people:
Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. 5:1 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2 By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Verse 25. Who was delivered. To death. God the Father delivered Christ into the hands of his enemies. (Acts 2:23.) It was God's plan to do that very thing, as we see in Romans 4. Even Abraham understood God's plan to deliver the Messiah into the hands of his enemies for his death, Romans 4:1-22.
For our offences. On account of our crimes. He was delivered up to death in order to make expiation for our sins. (Expiation - Compensation for a wrong. Another word is atonement, atonement for our sins.)
And was raised again. From the dead.
For our justification. In order that we may be justified, or brought into acceptance with God.
Justification pardons sin, and makes us accepted to the Father in Christ Jesus. (Eph. 1:6.)Justification reconciles us to the Father.
(Illustrations) Matthew 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 1 Corinthians 7:11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
(Applied to us) Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. Colossians 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled
(Applied to others) 2 Corinthians 5:18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 2 Corinthians 5:20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
It was by Christ's death that he made atonement for our sins - paid for our sins. (Atonement, Compensation for a wrong.)
Because of the crucifiction, God the Father can treat us as righteous.
What about the resurrection?
The resurrection completed Christ's work. Though atonement, or payment, was made by his death, it was his resurrection that made his work complete. Without the resurrection, there would have been no atonement - the resurrection was the Father's stamp of approval on the work of Christ. The literal, bodily resurrection of Christ proved that he did all that the law required to be done in order to pay the price for the sins of his people.
Without the resurrection, Christ's suffering and his death on the cross would have been no good. His work would have been imperfect if he had not been raised up from the dead.
Christ submitted to death as a sacrifice, and it was needful that he should rise. It is through his resurrection that death is conquered and our enemies subdued. It was through the resurrection that Christ's work was complete.
Christ's resurrection proved that his work was accepted by the Father. What he had done for the salvation of sinners was approved by the Father when he rose from the dead.
Christ gave himself up for our justification by his death. Our justification became sure when he rose from the dead.
Christ's resurrection is the fountainhead of all out hopes, and of all our efforts to be saved:
2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hathabolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
Christ's resurrection gives us a real, active or living hope:
1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
In other words, our hope is not in a dead man such as Mohamad, but in a man who is living today just as much as you and I.
The fact that Christ was raised from the dead is the ground for our hope that we also shall be raised from the dead, and accepted by God in that day.
The fact that Christ was raised from the dead and that all who love him will be raised also, becomes one of the most efficient motives for us to seek to be justified and salvation. There is no higher motive that can be presented to induce man to seek salvation than the fact that he may be raised up from death and the grave, and made immortal.
Only in Christ's resurrection can we find proof that man will be raised one day. In Christ's resurrection, we have the pledge that all his people will rise:
1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
John 14:19 Yet a little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me: because I live, ye shall live also.
Does the hope of the resurrection live in you this morning?
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