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Jesus Before Pilate

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When is the last time, you marveled at the death of Jesus? You were overwhelmed with His willingness to endure what He did, in order to save you. The more we grow in grace, the more the scenes we’ve been studying, especially these last few weeks in Mark’s Gospel, should become precious to us.
Throughout this 14th chapter, Jesus’ body has been anointed for His burial, by a woman’s self-sacrificing act of worship.
We have seen the scene of the Passover meal, the Last Supper…as it became the First Lord’s Supper, or Communion.
We looked into the scene in the garden, where Jesus was weighed down under the load He was about to carry....and the disciples who seemed oblivious as to what is on the horizon.
Then last week, we saw Jesus remain faithful to the mission of His Father, while people lined up to falsely accuse Him. He was found guilty for blasphemy, and sentenced to death. He was spit upon and hit....yet He remained true to the mission at hand.
And at the same time this was going on, Peter failed to stand up to the pressure he faced from some servant girls and bystanders. Peter was crippled by his fear of man, when his circumstances and the people around him became big and important in his estimation. The glorious Savior was no longer the focal point.
And how often are we guilty of losing sight of the glorious nature of the Savior?
We take our eyes off of Him. We cease to be amazed by Him. We are no longer wowed by His death…and all it accomplished.
In the April 2019 edition of Tabletalk magazine, Burk Parsons wrote the following:
“One of my greatest fears for the church today is that we will become bored with the cross of Christ. I am concerned that any mention of Christ and Him crucified is leading many professing Christians to say to themselves: ‘Yeah, I know all about Jesus dying on the cross for my sins— let’s move on to something else. Let’s get past the basics, and let’s deal with bigger theological issues.’ I firmly believe that Satan is set on trying to destroy us, but he’ll settle with just getting us to lose our astonishment of Christ and Him crucified.”
With him, I agree wholeheartedly…both that this is a fear, and that this is what Satan would be content with. And I don’t believe that’s only true within churches that say those things explicitly. I believe WE feel that inside of us as well. That impulse to want something more, something fresh, something innovative and awe-producing.
But brothers and sisters, I’m not sure what could be more awe-producing than Jesus the Christ, especially as we consider Him in these scenes before us.
So since our tendency is to lose sight of, and therefore lose the awe of, Who it is we serve, and why it is we serve Him, our Lord has revealed Himself in His Word in passages like the one we have before us to consider this morning.
TURN THERE WITH ME TO .
In this portion of Mark’s gospel, we are reminded of the suffering our Savior endured to purchase our pardon. We are taught in this passage, that Jesus was obviously innocent, yet, He humbly received hatred from the crowd and the sentence of death from the Romans. And the manner in which He received this sentence, even caused a Roman Governor to marvel.
In this passage, the obviously innocent Jesus humbly receives hatred from the crowd, and the sentence of death from the Romans. And He does so in a way that causes a Roman Governor to be amazed.
This injustice, brings about Divine justice
This act of wickedness from humans, brings about righteousness from God
This death of the Savior, brings life to the sinners
How much more should you and I marvel, as we are able, by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, to grasp the theology behind the suffering? That in this scene, the Innocent One, is declared guilty, by the guilty ones....and this is part of the work that brings salvation to a people that no one can number.
This bad news, is the core content of the good news of God
And if you want a “goal” for the sermon this morning, it is this…to hear God’s Word highlight the work of Jesus in a way that should cause our eyes to be pulled from the glitter and glam of this world around us, and fixated instead upon Jesus.
Or put more concisely…to draw a line from Pilate in John’s gospel, as he pulled Jesus before the crowd after His beating…he said: “Consider the Man.”
That in this scene, this injustice brought Divine justice.
The sermon this morning, I pray, causes us to “Look Upon Jesus.”
This act of wickedness from humans, brought righteousness from God
That the Innocent One, is dying in the place of the guilty ones
That the sentence of death for the Savior, brought the declaration and reality of life to the believer
And the goal of this sermon this morning, is in many ways the goal of the gospels themselves, to cause us to LOOK UPON JESUS…to trust Him…to rest in Him.
Mark 15:1–15 ESV
1 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. 2 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” 3 And the chief priests accused him of many things. 4 And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” 5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. 6 Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. 7 And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. 8 And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. 9 And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. 12 And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” 14 And Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Jesus has now been taken before Pilate. Mark leaves out a portion of what takes place to Him, when He is taken to Herod and returned to Pilate. But Mark gives us the necessary details. The Innocent One, is declared guilty, by the guilty ones.
This has been building throughout Mark’s gospel…it has been building throughout this 14th chapter…and it is laid out for us here in this passage.
How much more should you and I marvel, as we are able, by God’s grace and the power of the Holy Spirit, to grasp the theology behind the suffering? That in this scene, we have the Innocent, again being found guilty and sentenced to death. The Innocent One, is declared guilty, by the guilty ones. And in the mysterious workings of God’s sovereign design of all human history....
Jesus the Innocent One, is declared guilty by the guilty ones. The scene in which this takes place is marked by: accusations, manipulation, trepidation, and all falling under divine-determination.
And as we consider this passage, and are called to Look Upon Jesus....those will serve as the 4 points of the sermon this morning: Accusation; Manipulation; Trepidation; and Divine-Determination.
This injustice, brings about Divine justice
Those will serve as the 4 points of the sermon this morning: Accusation; Manipulation; Trepidation; and Divine-Determination.

1. Accusations

This act of wickedness from humans, brings about righteousness from God
By now, Jesus is well acquainted with being falsely accused. On trial in the Roman court makes things no different.
This death of the Savior, brings life to the sinners
It appears from verse 1, the religious leaders…the Sanhedrin…the governing body over the Jewish people, gather in the early morning after last night’s rush trial of Jesus, to determine how to present charges that will cause the Romans to put Him to death.
This bad news, is the core content of the good news of God
And the one charge that Pilate seems to pay most attention to, is the charge that Jesus declared Himself to be a king. That charge, Pilate must consider.
And if you want a “goal” for the sermon this morning, it is this…to hear God’s Word highlight the work of Jesus in a way that should cause our eyes to be pulled from the glitter and glam of this world around us, and fixated instead upon Jesus.
Mark 15:2 ESV
2 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.”
Or put more concisely…to draw a line from Pilate in John’s gospel, as he pulled Jesus before the crowd after His beating…he said: “Consider the Man.”
Jesus’ answer is not an answer of ambiguity. Jesus is affirming the claim.
The sermon this morning, I pray, causes us to “Look Upon Jesus.”
John records the details of this conversation that Mark doesn’t, and we know from that account that Jesus clarifies to Pilate that His kingdom is not of this world. Jesus’ kingdom is a heavenly kingdom.
But the chief priests keep the accusations and charges coming. Mark doesn’t give us details as to what they are…he just tells us there are many
Mark 15:3 ESV
3 And the chief priests accused him of many things.
Verse 10 tells us that Pilate knew Jesus was innocent. He knew the only reason the Jews were bringing Him to him, wasn’t because of loyalty to Rome…but out of jealousy and envy. So he seems to urge Jesus to defend Himself.
Mark 15:4 ESV
4 And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.”
But LOOK....upon Jesus.
Mark 15:5 ESV
5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
He no longer…He no more…gave a reply
And Pilate was amazed; astonished; he wondered at this
History teaches us that Pilate was a cruel, ruthless ruler. He is a Governor in Judea which wasn’t top of the political ladder by any stretch of the imagination. And the thing that rocks his entire world…the moment that makes him “amazed,” is this innocent Nazarene silently, humbly receiving these accusations from the Jewish religious leaders.
APPLY
What about you and I?
Do we marvel at His silence here?
He never called upon the angels to rescue Him. He never reveals His power and brings about all of their deaths by one spoken word. I mean, it’s by God’s own power their life is being sustained, even as they are raging against Him.
Charge after charge; accusation after accusation…yet Jesus sits silently
Isaiah 53:7 ESV
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth.
Oh how we should stand amazed
I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene…and wonder how He could love me, a sinner condemned unclean.
We should marvel at this scene…
And there should also be a stirring of hearts to love Him more…to want to serve Him more…to want to be more like Him
That as we live out our lives and carry His name upon us…we too, upheld by the power of the Holy Spirit, will pray that we respond to accusations with a primary emphasis on allowing the Lord to vindicate us, instead of attempting to vindicate ourselves.
I realize there’s a time for defense when the reputation of the gospel is at stake in the accusations…as for Paul in 2 Corinthians....but..
Imagine you....setting that example of trust in God, before your children; or before your co-workers…of silently hearing accusations, waiting for the Lord to vindicate....I imagine, they would be amazed as well.
Our Lord held up perfectly against the accusations…consider our next point...

2. Manipulation

The religious leaders’ hatred of Jesus, has them motivated to bring Him to death. So, they manipulate the crowd into calling for His crucifixion
Mark gives us some background information in verse 6…perhaps because this practice was no longer going on when he wrote his gospel
Mark 15:6 ESV
6 Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked.
The Romans were experts at keeping the people whose land they had overtaken, subdued. This is one way in which he did so here…he granted pardon to one prisoner during this feast time.
Then Mark gives us some background on one of the prisoners that will become front and center to the story.
Mark 15:7 ESV
7 And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas.
Mark 15:7–9 ESV
7 And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. 8 And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. 9 And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?”
Real and obvious crimes against Rome
So the crowd present, approach Pilate, and ask him to do what he normally does (v.8), and it might have even been true that Pilate thought this was his way out of dealing with Jesus (since he knew He was innocent).
But he quickly finds out, there are other motives
Mark 15:8–11 ESV
8 And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. 9 And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead.
Stirred up: anaseio; stir up; to provoke
It means to cause someone to feel some strong emotion; or to cause someone to do something
Was this crowd the same crowd that worshipped when Jesus entered Jerusalem? That’s very debatable.
Is this the crowd who rejoiced when Jesus entered Jerusalem? Or is this a different crowd? I think the evidence would point to it being a different crowd.
The crowd that has been FOR Jesus, remained somewhat in favor of Him, as late as chapter 12
Mark 12:37 ESV
37 David himself calls him Lord. So how is he his son?” And the great throng heard him gladly.
The Pharisees were seeking the perfect opportunity to arrest Him, so as not to cause a riot amongst the people
Mark 14:2 ESV
2 for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.”
Jesus has always been a polarizing figure
John 7:43 ESV
43 So there was a division among the people over him.
But what is clear, is that this is a group of individuals who are able to be stirred to action by religious leaders, against Jesus the Christ
But ultimately, for the main point of the passage, it doesn’t matter which group it would be....because what we see is a group of individuals able to be stirred to action by religious leaders, against Jesus the Christ
It’s possible, they could have thought they were doing what was right…they could have been manipulated by the religious leaders to such a degree, that they believed they were doing God’s work…but THIS is the real truth
Acts 3:13–14 ESV
13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,
That’s the reality…that they were stirred to action. And in the final analysis, this was their action: “PLEASE RELASE A MURDERER…AND MURDER THE INNOCENT.”
Mark 14:11–12 ESV
11 And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him. 12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”
Mark 15:11–12 ESV
11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. 12 And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?”
Mark 15:11–13 ESV
11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. 12 And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 And they cried out again, “Crucify him.”
Mark 14:
And even when Pilate brought to the forefront the reality of Jesus’ innocence, they didn’t respond in a manner that signified a pursuit of truth and justice…they simply increased the volume of their request.
Mark 15:14 ESV
14 And Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.”
They were a people manipulated by religious leaders, to call for the death of the King of glory…the One their own Psalms praise and adore! The One who is the subject of , which we read earlier.
Apply
And what we know to be true, is how much of a tendency we have towards the sin of manipulation ourselves…on both ends. To manipulate, and to be manipulated.
We have the tendency to emotionally manipulate others…whether that’s in our marriages, or in our friendships
And we have the tendency to be emotionally manipulated ourselves....manipulated, stirred to action, sometimes in ways we FEEL are right with God…but in all reality, they are opposed to God
Think of the many individuals (including ourselves previously) who convince others to follow their bad theology, simply because they are able to make them FEEL something during the service…or they experience something…or they witness supposed miracles.
None of which are reasons to follow a belief system. But oh how easy it is for us to give in.
Paul gave this warning to the Corinthians
2 Corinthians 11:3–4 ESV
3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
2 Corinthians 11:13–15 ESV
13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.
2 Corinthians 11:3 ESV
3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:
Brothers and sisters take heed....and don’t give into the desire to FEEL some awe-producing feeling, that causes us to lose sight of all the Savior has already accomplished that should produce a sense of awe within us.
LOOK…upon Jesus
He never manipulated His followers…He never needed soft music, light shows, and smoke machines
And..He was never manipulated by anyone…by Satan in the wilderness, or by Satan’s children the Pharisees
He was perfect in every way....look upon Him....trust in Him....rest in Him…strive by God’s help, to be like Him
The Innocent One is found guilty by the guilty ones…in a scene that is marked by accusations, manipulation, and thirdly

3. Trepidation

“Fear or hesitancy because of an anticipated outcome”
Pilate is our main focus under this heading
Pilate seems hesitant to bring judgement against Jesus, because he knows Jesus is innocent
Mark 15:10 ESV
10 For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.
Mark 15:9–10 ESV
9 And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.
If he was operating in the manner he should, he would be seeking justice in this scenario. He would make his determination based upon the evidence, not on political expediency.
Romans 13:1–2 ESV
1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
Romans 13:1–4 ESV
1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.
Romans 13:5 ESV
5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
Romans 13:3 ESV
3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,
This is the role of civil government. They are to execute judgement as God’s servants, God’s ministers. They are to ensure that lawbreakers are punished, and law-abiding citizens are not.
Romans 13:4 ESV
4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.
Yet, much like many government officials in the world today, including many in our own government…Pilate failed to fulfill this task.
He is fearful of the crowd’s reaction if he doesn’t give into their requests.
Mark 15:15 ESV
15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Mark 15:14–15 ESV
14 And Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
What a line that is.... “wishing to satisfy the crowd”
Political expediency, won out over moral responsibility
He then releases Barabbas…and scourges Jesus
A beating with a whip that took place prior to execution
The whip would have strands, and on each one was embedded pieces of bone and glass
Each blow would tear the flesh…inflicting great levels of pain, and many times killing the individual
Pilate had a crippling fear of man, that caused him to be the one who would sentence Jesus to die....and be a part of the crucifixion himself. Pilate represented Rome in this trial....and his memory has been immortalized in Scripture, as well as in the ancient creeds of the church
Christians for centuries have recited, “crucified under Pontius Pilate.”
But Pilate is not only Rome’s representative…in many ways, he represents us all
Apply
“We cannot say that such perversity is impossible, for it is a factor of daily experience; and the particle for in verse 10 makes nonsense unless we take some such common sense explanation. Pilate was no unnatural monster; he was a man in so many ways like all others. This is what makes his story such a warning, and also so credible.” ~Alan Cole
The sad reality is, as we were looking at Wednesday night, we too wrestle with crippling fear of man
Whether it’s wanting people to “like” the image we portray on social media
Or it’s us as a congregation, desiring to appear “successful” to other congregations
Or it’s a desire to appear successful in my career path or gifting or calling…so I see my current position as a stepping stone, instead of the place God has called me.
Whatever the area....like Pilate…we become fearful to make decisions based upon the truth of God’s Word alone, but instead out of fear of others....and there is no way to consistently live our lives that way, without operating contrary to God.
But LOOK…upon Jesus
He knows what’s coming. His flesh has certainly felt the struggle. But His will remains the same....He’s going to do what the Father has sent Him to do.
- The world will think it’s foolish…the Jews will consider it a sign He wasn’t who He claimed to be…but those are not reasons to quit for our Lord
WHAT a Savior! One to look upon, believe in, and seek to be like....
Willingly…He goes on…with no trepidation
The Innocent One is declared guilty by the guilty ones…in a scene with accusations, manipulation, trepidation…and finally consider, the...

4. Divine Determination

I said it last week…I’ll say it this week....I’ll probably say it next week as well. NONE of this, is by accident, or chance
This is the pre-determined plan of God to bring about salvation for His people
Genesis 3:15 ESV
15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
This is Jesus, the Seed of the woman, coming to bruise the head of Satan
I remind you, that none of this is by chance
Acts 2:33 ESV
33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.
Acts 2:23 ESV
23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.
All of this, is according to the definite plan of God…the foreknowing of God
We’ve considered already
We looked last week at
Isaiah 50:6 ESV
6 I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.
We’ve heard read in our Scripture reading time during the service …where we read
Psalm 2:2 ESV
2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
We read in ....the very words Jesus will soon quote while upon the cross
Psalm 22:1 ESV
1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
This Psalm is filled with imagery of the cross…and as we’ve seen His enemies surround Him already, they will continue to do so…just as God had inspired David to write hundreds of years before
Psalm 22:
Psalm 22:11–12 ESV
11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. 12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me;
Psalm 22:11–13 ESV
11 Be not far from me, for trouble is near, and there is none to help. 12 Many bulls encompass me; strong bulls of Bashan surround me; 13 they open wide their mouths at me, like a ravening and roaring lion.
Jesus didn’t operate with one agenda, with the cross as plan B…hoping to avoid it and dodge it, then He was somehow surprised in the garden when they came to arrest Him. No…the cross has always been plan A
Jesus came with the cross as the finish line of His earthly race....the resurrection and ascension as the crowning event of finishing the race.
Jesus came with this purpose and this plan laid out before Him.
Mark 10:45 ESV
45 For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
So the accusations, the manipulation, and even Pilate’s trepidation…were all a part of the Sovereign design of God....and carried out by Divine determination.
These free and real choices made by the individuals in this scene, were in some mysterious way…ordained from eternity past by God
And…this Divine determination to bring this to pass....was in order to save us from our sins....even sins, in the areas of accusations, manipulation, trepidation, and lack of determination for our God.
This was all a part of God’s plan...Sproul rightly points out in his commentary:
“Pilate failed in his leadership by doing the politically correct thing. This was a travesty of justice and one of the most wicked acts in human history. However, even in that very moment, Pilate was putty in the hands of God, a tool to bring about the redemption that God had ordained from all eternity.”
There was nothing that would, or could, thwart the plan of God. Jesus came…not to make salvation a possibility for some to reach out and attempt to grab ahold of....Jesus came, to save.
He was determined from eternity past....to purchase the pardon of His people. He was determined to become the Savior.
Apply
And Christian family....that should overwhelm us. When we look upon Jesus, we should, like Pilate, be amazed.
There should be this sense of awe…of wonder....of being taken aback by a God who does not need us, for He is all-sufficient within Himself. YET…out of His great love, has come to us rebels to set us free from sin’s bondage and deliver us from His own just, fair, right wrath.
But it even gets more personal than that doesn’t it?
For, there was not only Divine-determination for Jesus to come and die....but there was a Divine-determination for the Holy Spirit to convince us personally, of the saving work of Christ.
Think of your own story. How you ran from Christ
Think of how many times you heard about Jesus…or Christianity…even if it was in the general sense, yet you shrugged it off
God sends His own Son....a few thousand years go by, you come along, and you shrug it off as if it’s no big deal
We can debate the topic of “free” will all we want....but I thank God He didn’t leave us alone after we made those free choices to shrug off His salvation
That God is in heaven waiting on our choices, then He will respond to them
That God is in heaven waiting on our choices, then He will respond to them
Thank God that’s not true…because we have all lived in rebellion to Him and to His Gospel
We all rejected Him....yet He continued to pursue us
We resisted the clear truth, as did Saul of Tarsus…until one day the light shined into our hearts, like it did with Saul on the Damascus road
Brothers and sisters, quite frankly, if it were not for Divine determination for you and I personally…none of us here would be saved.
Praise God, He broke down our defenses…He overcame our rebellion…He gave us a new heart that desired Him, so that when He called....we responded.
Praise God we can pray for our lost loved ones, and not pray, “Oh God, please do for them whatever their heart desires at the moment so that you remain fair and a gentleman,” but we can cry out, “Oh God, have mercy on our loved one. Overcome their defenses. Save their soul. Grant them a new heart. Grant them repentance and faith.”
Because somewhere…someone…prayed that for you and I.
Perhaps, you’ve been prayed for in that manner…and you’re here today as an unbeliever. Today…can be the last day that’s true of you.
God has created you, and you have rebelled against Him. You are a sinner....you deserve God’s justice to be delivered upon you forever. YET....Christ has come. And His life, His death, and His resurrection, was substitutionary.
Meaning, it was in the place of…EVERYONE…who turns from their sins to trust in Christ for salvation.
There’s no magic prayer…there’s no special place in the building. There’s no need to make the conviction of your heart visible to everyone in the room…there’s a simple call that we don’t add to or take away from....repent, and believe the gospel....if you do, you will be saved!
Brothers and sisters, God has orchestrated the events of your life to bring you here, to this point, today. God was determined to bring us here together…God was determined to save us…and He is determined, by the Holy Spirit through the Word, to conform us more and more into the image of Jesus Christ.
Divine-determination should cause us to marvel, that our Lord would ever be determined…to save sinners like you and I. Pray…that He will work in us His will and good pleasure, that will lead us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
Conclusion
So, I ask you again…when’s the last time you have marveled at the death of Jesus? When’s the last time your heart and mind have been overwhelmed at all that He has done to save you?
Pilate marveled when he considered Jesus’ response to the accusations. We should marvel when we consider the entirety of this scene, and how ALL of it was by sovereign design.
How the Innocent One, is declared guilty by the guilty ones. How that sentence of death upon Jesus, brought the declaration of life to all in Jesus.
And when the whole of our hearts and minds are occupied with the Savior, our love for Him, our desire to see Him glorified, our willingness to obey…grows more and more.
There is no other subject upon which to look, that is any deeper…or any more awe-producing…than Jesus the Christ.
There is a Puritan prayer with these lines... My heart melts at the love of Jesus,   my brother, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh,   married to me, dead for me, risen for me; He is mine and I am his,   given to me as well as for me; I am never so much mine as when I am his,   or so much lost to myself until lost in him;   then I find my true manhood. But my love is frost and cold, ice and snow; Let his love warm me,   lighten my burden,   be my heaven; May it be more revealed to me in all its influences   that my love to him may be more fervent     and glowing; Let the mighty tide of his everlasting love   cover the rocks of my sin and care; Then let my spirit float above those things   which had else wrecked my life. Make me fruitful by living to that love,   my character becoming more beautiful every day. If traces of Christ’s love-artistry be upon me,   may he work on with his divine brush   until the complete image be obtained   and I be made a perfect copy of him,     my Master. O Lord Jesus, come to me, O Divine Spirit, rest upon me, O Holy Father, look on me in mercy   for the sake of the well-beloved.
O FATHER OF JESUS,
MAY THIS BE OUR PRAYER, AS WE CLOSE THIS MORNING...
Help me to approach thee with deepest       reverence,   not with presumption,   not with servile fear, but with holy boldness. Thou art beyond the grasp of my understanding,   but not beyond that of my love. Thou knowest that I love thee supremely,   for thou art supremely adorable, good, perfect. My heart melts at the love of Jesus,   my brother, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh,   married to me, dead for me, risen for me; He is mine and I am his,   given to me as well as for me; I am never so much mine as when I am his,   or so much lost to myself until lost in him;   then I find my true manhood. But my love is frost and cold, ice and snow; Let his love warm me,   lighten my burden,   be my heaven; May it be more revealed to me in all its influences   that my love to him may be more fervent     and glowing; Let the mighty tide of his everlasting love   cover the rocks of my sin and care; Then let my spirit float above those things   which had else wrecked my life. Make me fruitful by living to that love,   my character becoming more beautiful every day. If traces of Christ’s love-artistry be upon me,   may he work on with his divine brush   until the complete image be obtained   and I be made a perfect copy of him,     my Master. O Lord Jesus, come to me, O Divine Spirit, rest upon me, O Holy Father, look on me in mercy   for the sake of the well-beloved.
Help me to approach thee with deepest       reverence,   not with presumption,   not with servile fear, but with holy boldness. Thou art beyond the grasp of my understanding,   but not beyond that of my love. Thou knowest that I love thee supremely,   for thou art supremely adorable, good, perfect. My heart melts at the love of Jesus,   my brother, bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh,   married to me, dead for me, risen for me; He is mine and I am his,   given to me as well as for me; I am never so much mine as when I am his,   or so much lost to myself until lost in him;   then I find my true manhood. But my love is frost and cold, ice and snow; Let his love warm me,   lighten my burden,   be my heaven; May it be more revealed to me in all its influences   that my love to him may be more fervent     and glowing; Let the mighty tide of his everlasting love   cover the rocks of my sin and care; Then let my spirit float above those things   which had else wrecked my life. Make me fruitful by living to that love,   my character becoming more beautiful every day. If traces of Christ’s love-artistry be upon me,   may he work on with his divine brush   until the complete image be obtained   and I be made a perfect copy of him,     my Master. O Lord Jesus, come to me, O Divine Spirit, rest upon me, O Holy Father, look on me in mercy   for the sake of the well-beloved.
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