Faithlife Sermons

The Coronation of Christ: What Would You Do?

2019 Lenten Sermon Series  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  14:54
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Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at the arrest, trial, and condemnation of Christ. All of these events fall within a few hours on one fateful day, a day where the world changed forever. The time that we have spent looking at these events has challenged us to look at how we mock and deny Christ, how we put Christ on trial every time we deny knowing him, and now, today, we witness to Christ’s final mockery and how the Roman soldiers made a crown and gave him regal robes to wear but not because he was king but because they too denied knowing the man for who he truly was.
I have given you many things to think about and today is going to be no different…I pose this question in all seriousness because next week, we will join the joyful chorus of Hallelujah to our King, Hosanna in the Highest! But before we get there, there is one more challenge to face. With that in mind, I ask you this question, you have heard all the evidence, you have heard what the people around you are saying, and you know how it all ends…but it is still appropriate to ask…is Jesus the King or is he just the King of the Jews? You see, for many in today’s society, I think they see Christians, those who should still be shouting Emmanuel, God With Us, we often act like Jesus is just the King of the Jews...

The Story for Us Today...

So the story for us to consider today, takes us into Pilate’s home as he is seriously trying to figure out how to appease the Jews, who are on the verge of causing an uprising and how to not convict an innocent man. At the very beginning of the passage that Debbie read, we hear three different ways that Jesus is mocked and rejected…first, we hear of Jesus being mocked by the soldiers as they placed a “crown of thorns” on his head and gave him faded scarlet robes, which appeared to be purple like regal robes. If you read the story in Matthew, it actually says that the soldiers mocked him. Here in John’s recording, we hear how they chanted “Hail, king of the Jews!” and repeatedly slapped him.
Then we hear about how Pilate just wants Jesus out of his hair. We have heard multiple times how Pilate can find no reason to put Jesus to death and yet when he presents Jesus for the last time, the people keep shouting “Crucify Him, Crucify Him!” Now, I can see Pilate’s perspective here…he wants his “subjects” to be happy with his decision but he also needs to keep Caesar happy as well. He is literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. As he sits on the judgment seat, he must put both perspectives into play…I can hear his thoughts even now, “How do I keep these people from killing an innocent man and still maintain my dignity and integrity with Rome? If I say that this man has committed a crime he did not , then do I lose my reputation with the Jews and Rome? It is a tough situation but in the end, he ultimately sends Jesus to his death on the cross.
The third group we hear in this passage are the Jews themselves who reject Jesus, period. They want nothing to do with his teaching or what he stands for. They are still awaiting their Messiah even though he walks in their midst. They have their hearts so closed to the possibility that what they want and have desired and awaited for centuries is standing right in front of them. They just simply cannot see who Jesus was. And, technically, they are committing the very crime that they accused Jesus of committing by saying they have no king other than Caesar. Listen to the first commandment, I am the Lord, your God, have no other gods before me. Therefore, God is their king and by claiming that Caesar was king was basically saying that Caesar was God and therefore blaspheming against God. Now, I am not saying any of this to place the blame on Jews or to say something against our fellow brothers and sisters in faith, but what I am saying is that Caiaphas and the Chief Priests could not see further than the ends of their noses long enough to see that they were sentencing the man who was their Meshiac, their Messiah, to death. They did not want to believe that Jesus could actually be who he said he was and that he came to set us all free from our sins. It was the Chief Priests and the Sanhedrin that sent an innocent man to die in the most miserable and humiliating way.
And so we have our three groups…let’s see how their actions are being echoed down through the ages until today...

Jesus Christ is King

We hear in our story that the Roman soldiers made up a crown and gave Jesus regal colored robes to mock him. They did this because they really had no idea about who Jesus was. O, sure, maybe they heard some stories but to them, there was no one higher than Caesar, their military god and leader. For us today, the Roman soldiers are like the many who have never heard about Jesus or his life or what his death meant for us. They are the people who laugh at us for having faith and believing in the fact that Jesus came to give his life so that we could have life eternal.
The thing with these folks is that they mock us because they don’t understand or know or for some, even have the capacity to try to understand what our faith means to us. Does this mean that we mock them back or treat them with contempt in our hearts. No, absolutely not…these are the people who need to hear that because we are saved by grace, we are guaranteed eternal life. These are the folks who need us to love them unconditionally and to show them how to share God’s love with others. They need to see that even though Jesus suffered, the cross holds for us the promise of eternal life. With me?

Jesus Christ’s Kingship is the Issue at His Trial

Pilate is really trying to get at the heart of who Jesus is. Pilate wants nothing more than to be sure that the man he is sentencing to death is truly the man who deserves death. Last week, I mentioned that Pilate had compassion toward Jesus and I really think he did but it wasn’t because he knew who Jesus was but rather that he did not want to be blamed for putting an innocent man to death. Pilate’s integrity was trying to win out. The problem is, like many of our own counterparts today, if we hear often enough that something won’t work or that we have tried that once before and it did not work that we go along with the loudest voices and just give up on what we know is the right thing to do. And so, like those around us who just don’t get it or cannot stand up for themselves in the face of adversity, we hear how...
Life Application Bible Commentary, John Pilate Hands Jesus Over to Be Crucified / 18:38–19:16 / 232

Pilate let his golden moment slip away. Three times he pronounced Jesus “not guilty” (18:38; 19:4; 19:6). He even tried to set Jesus free (19:12). But Pilate would not stand for truth or justice in the face of opposition. Instead, he tried to preserve his position at the expense of doing what was right.

Under pressure, we too may feel our power or security threatened. But unlike Pilate, we must stand for what is right even if the consequences mean personal loss. If we don’t, we will lose something even more valuable—our integrity. When we face tough choices, we can take the easy way out or with God’s help speak out for what is right. When we know what is right yet do not act on it, we sin (James 4:17).

All of this is because...
Life Application Bible Commentary, John Pilate Hands Jesus Over to Be Crucified / 18:38–19:16 / 232

THE TRAP CLOSES

Pilate tried to avoid or disarm the conflict over Jesus, but he waited too long to take decisive action. A mob mentality was beginning to form, and Pilate knew that events were almost beyond his control. Because Pilate had not really tried to beat the Jewish leaders, he found himself forced to join them. When we continually compromise with sin, we risk falling so deeply under its control that we cannot extricate ourselves. Pilate’s actions also demonstrate that we must never conclude that we have fallen so far that going along with sin is better than repentance.

The Crowd Rejects Jesus Christ as King

And so we get to the final group for this morning…the crowd that had gathered. This crowd, not unlike many of today who follow their leader into whatever situation and just blindly agree with whatever someone says, the crowd at Jesus’ trial have turned themselves into essentially and angry mob of people who cannot speak or see for themselves. Their leaders, however, I think, know exactly what they want and how they are going to go about getting it. So their stir up the emotions of those around them. They enrage the people around them by making Pilate look like a fool and making Jesus look like an enemy of the state.
Here’s the thing though...
Life Application Bible Commentary, John Pilate Hands Jesus Over to Be Crucified / 18:38–19:16 / 232

NO KING BUT CAESAR

In rejecting Christ’s rightful control over their lives, the religious leaders claimed Caesar as king. They acknowledged a human power that they thought would guarantee their own status. Instead, that power destroyed Jerusalem and the temple and killed 500,000 Jews. The next generation paid dearly for the sins of their leaders.

Today people still refuse to let God have any control or influence over their decisions. They make choices based on short-term goals. They grasp present “benefits” without regard for the long-term costs. We must not give allegiance or cooperation to leaders and systems that have no regard for God’s authority. Who or what holds the position of king in your life?

And ultimately, I guess, this is the question we need to answer before we approach the cross each year…are we willing to let others dictate what we see and believe or are we going to let the true king reside within our hearts. Because, truly, Jesus

Jesus is king for ever

Let us pray…Gracious, holy, ever-loving, and ever-forgiving God, forgive us for being like the mob who sent your Son to the cross and transform us into the people who cried at his feet and rejoiced at his resurrection so that we can pass those feelings on to those who need to hear about him and your love for us, Amen.
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