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A Corrupt Court for the Christ

Gospel of Luke  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

Injustice at the hands of men - John MacArthur
Human courts have an uncanny knack for turning justice completely on its head. The wicked frequently prosper while the righteous suffer wrongfully.
Nowhere is that seen more graphically than in the arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus Christ. No victim of injustice was ever more innocent than the sinless Son of God. And yet no one ever suffered more agony than He did. He was cruelly executed by men who openly acknowledged His faultlessness. Yet at the same time Barabbas, a murderous, thieving insurrectionist, was summarily set free. It was the greatest travesty of justice the world has ever seen.
Luke 22:
Luke 22:66–71 ESV
When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes. And they led him away to their council, and they said, “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.” So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”
PRAY

The Christ Brought to the Council

When day came - This detail is important because those who are prosecuting Jesus are trying to give the impression that Jesus is being treated fairly. There were to be no court hearings at night. Therefore, they have been waiting for daybreak to for the “official” proceedings.
The assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes. - This language refers to the Sanhedrin, which was the governing body for the nation of Israel. There were seventy men on this council and they came from different parties and power structures from within the nation.
Robert Stein writes:

The Sanhedrin was the highest Jewish ruling body in Israel and was granted control by Rome over virtually all internal Jewish matters. It contained seventy members and a president, who was the high priest. The Sanhedrin membership consisted primarily of two groups: (1) the Sadducees, who were the leading priestly families and lay aristocrats, and the Pharisees, who were teachers of the law and (2) middle-class laity, made up the “elders” mentioned in 20:1.

And they led him away to their council - They move Jesus from the residence of the high priest to the meeting place of the Sanhedrin. One could call this the council chamber.
And they led him away to their counsel -

The Council, Corrupt and Confused

And they said, “If you are the Christ, tell us. - In Luke account, he reveals that the council is acting as a group in questioning Jesus. They want him to tell this if he claims to be the anointed One, the promised One or the Messiah.
R.C.H. Lenski comments:

In order to understand this reply we should remember that in the thought of the Sanhedrin “the Christ” or Messiah had a nationalistic, highly political, purely earthly meaning. Jesus could never affirm that he was “the Christ” when his hearers were thinking of such a Christ. On the other hand, he could not say no, that he was not “the Christ,” for this would be understood as though he were in no sense the Christ whereas he was the Christ in the true sense of the word. The question itself had, first of all, to be cleared up.

But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe - This is Jesus’ statement about the entrenchment and depth of their unbelief, as well as their misunderstanding of the Scripture. Jesus realizes that no answer is going to benefit the souls of these men.
But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe - This is Jesus’ statement about the entrenchment and depth of their unbelief, as well as their misunderstanding of the Scripture. Jesus realizes that no answer is going to benefit the souls of these men. There was no desire to learn or interact, but only the intention to condemn and destroy. If there was sincerity, they still would not trust that he was the Messiah, because of the nature of his ministry and his suffering.
There was no desire to learn or interact, but only the intention to condemn and destroy. If there was sincerity, they still would not trust that he was the Messiah, because of the nature of his ministry and his suffering.
And if I ask you, you will not answer. - Jesus is still highlighted their lack of sincerity in seeking out his identity. Luke has already recorded incidents for us that prove their utter hypocrisy. For example:
Luke 20:1–8 ESV
One day, as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple and preaching the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes with the elders came up and said to him, “Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.” He answered them, “I also will ask you a question. Now tell me, was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?” And they discussed it with one another, saying, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘From man,’ all the people will stone us to death, for they are convinced that John was a prophet.” So they answered that they did not know where it came from. And Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”
Luke 20:41–44 ESV
But he said to them, “How can they say that the Christ is David’s son? For David himself says in the Book of Psalms, “ ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.” ’ David thus calls him Lord, so how is he his son?”

The Christ and His Coronation

But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God. - In this phrase, Jesus is making a very clear claim based upon some Old Testament concepts concerning the Messiah.
Psalm 110:1 ESV
The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
Jesus
Daniel 7:13 ESV
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him.
Psalm 110:1 ESV
The Lord says to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.”
Jesus uses “from now on” as a time marker that refers to a point of future fulfillment. Jesus pulls from the enthronement language of to announce his reign at the right hand of God the Father. This was a clear claim to have the same power as God.
Jesus also makes a reference to the Son of Man from .
Daniel 7:13–14 ESV
“I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
How are these allusions to the Old Testament important in this context?
Though he does not give a direct answer to their question, he does make a clear assertion that he will receive the messianic throne.
Jesus clarifies the nature of his messianic role. He places his enthronement as God’s Messiah in the transcendent sphere of God’s presence. He makes certain that there is no political, physical rule as they expected.
Jesus predicts publicly his future destiny. He will not be undone, displaced or thwarted by the suffering now or in the immediate future.

Christ Condemned by the Council

So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” - In this question, the Sanhedrin is trying to get Jesus to make an explicit statement. They want him to say, “Yes” or “No”. However, they seem to be also linking Jesus’ enthronement language to another Old Testament passage, , in which the anointed One is given the throne at Mount Zion and designated “son of God”
Psalm 2:6–7 ESV
“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you.
They are asking, “Are you claiming the closeness and intimacy of divine sonship?”
Again Lenski is helpful here:

The issue is always as it is so decisively worded here at this supreme moment: “Thou, art thou this Son?” That this man Jesus, this bruised, beaten, captive, helpless man who is now in their power, that he should be this Son, very God in human form, is to these Jews a thing that is at once incredible and blasphemous in the highest degree. It was because of this claim of Jesus regarding himself that they had passed the death sentence upon him at the night session.

And he said to them, “You say that I am.” - Jesus’ response is his commitment not to answer these men in the manner that they demand. Why?
And he said to them, “You say that I am.” - Jesus’ response is his commitment not to answer these men in the manner that they demand. Why?
As we have already seen, they do not sincerely desire to known and recognize his messianic role.
There has been plenty of evidence concerning his authority and connection to God the Father. They have chosen to ignore this evidence.
Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? - Based upon this response from the ruling counsel, Jesus’ answer is taken as a positive affirmation. They take it that he claims to be Messiah. Luke does omit the call for other witnesses to make a charge against Jesus, because he focuses on the conclusion of the counsel, which they highlight in the next phrase.
We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.” - In the presence of the entire Sanhedrin, Jesus has made messianic claims and has not clearly refuted any accusations against him. Therefore, he stands self-condemned. They will use the a political angle of this theological claim to bring Jesus before Pilate in the next of phase of his movement toward the cross and execution.

Practical Application

Carnality leads to the corruption of Scripture and truth.
Carnality causes people to miss the beauty of Christ.
Carnality does not stop the purposes of God.
Piper: “God did not just overcome evil at the cross. He made evil serve the overcoming of evil. He made evil commit suicide in doing its worst evil.”
Carnality will be overcome by the Messiah: wrath or grace.
Carnality can be overcome by the mercy of the Messiah
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