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Crucify Him

Matthew 27:11-26   |   Shaun LePage   |   March 9, 2008

Crucify Him

Matthew 27:11-26   |   Shaun LePage   |   March 9, 2008

I.       Introduction

A.    Mobs notorious for perverting justice; demanding what they want right now—no regard for well-reasoned justice based on evidence beyond reasonable doubt. Mobs become judge, jury and executioner by the authority of their own passions and anger and violence. We’ll never know how many black men were lynched by mobs in this country without a fair trial. How many of us will ever forget watching videotape of a mob of cops beating Rodney King or watching “live” more than two days of riots in LA in 1992 after those cops were acquitted—mobs killed 53, injured 2K, burned 1100 buildings—R.King “stop…day in court”; Recent international news—riots in Berlin, Belgrade, Nairobi, Paris

B.    Nothing new under the sun: Men of Ashdod heard Nehemiah leading Israel to rebuild walls of Jerusalem, threatened mob violence; More than once in Acts “uproar…mobs”; Of course, Pontius Pilate fear of “stirred up crowds…‘crucify Him’” let the mob have its way

C.    Revisiting the unjust trials of Jesus serves a number of purposes—more later

D.    Review: Start of Ch26: “crucified” (2); “betray” (21); “fall away” (31); “disown 3X” (34); Gethsemane “Father…your will be done…3X sleeping” (36-46); arrest / trial before Sanhedrin / false testimony; “Then the high priest…(read vs.62-64); Peter and Judas

E.     The six trials of Jesus (full picture from studying all four Gospels).

1.Trial #1: Annas, high priest deposed by Romans, but Jews knew office for life

2.Trial #2: Caiaphas, high priest appointed by Romans, concluded “blasphemy”

3.Trial #3: Sanhedrin (Jewish Supreme Court), agreed with Caiaphas

4.Trial #4: Pilate (Roman governor of Judea—south); permission to execute; “innocent”

5.Trial #5: Herod (Luke; Roman governor of Galilee—north); Jesus from Galilee “silent”

6.Trial #6: Pilate again (today)—perverted justice under threat of mob violence

II.     Body—Matthew 27:11-26—Other than Jesus, Pilate is central character

A.    (11-14) Pilate’s Questions

1.     (11) “Are You the king of the Jews?” “Yes, it is as you say”; once again, not misunderstood; did claim to be king of the Jews; refused to acknowledge Him as king

2.     (12-14) “accused…chief priests/elders…no answer”; Again, fulfilled Is 53:7 “as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth”; Q: Why speak to Pilate (cf., Jn 18:33-37) but not Jews? Pilate new audience; Jews already heard claims; waste of time (time when we need to choose silence; frustrating, but some just quit listening); also “kingdom not of this world” (Jn 18:36) shows Jesus not “dangerous revolutionary”

B.    (15-23) Pilate’s Squirming

1.     (15-18) “Squirming” to find a way to keep from condemning an innocent man, but also appease the crowd—Why? Jews had gotten Pilate into trouble with Caesar before by rioting in the streets; on probation (of sorts) one more riot might convince Caesar he couldn’t handle the Jews/ lose governorship; less concerned about doing right thing than keeping his job; (15) “Custom” to release prisoner at “the Feast” of Unleavened Bread (week that followed Passover day); choice between Jesus and Barabbas (v.17; Mark & Luke identify Barabbas as a murderer; repeated offer at least twice, v.21); (18) knew motivation of Jesus’ accusers was envy. Jesus’ popularity no secret in Jerusalem. Obvious to everyone Jews envied popularity; Why a choice between Barabbas and Jesus? trying to get out of making a decision. Surely—he thought—crowd would not choose Barabbas—known murderer over Jesus (obviously innocent). Pilate was wrong.

2.     (19) “judge’s seat”; official place for passing judgment—irony: admitted Jesus’ innocence (v.23) while sitting there still handed Him over; “wife…message” (19). Strange! Only Mt—God apparently gave dream, last chance for Pilate to do right thing.

3.     (20-23) “chief priests/elders…persuaded the crowd” like a match to a forest fire; release Barabbas, crucify Jesus (v.22); Pilate stunned! Not just dealing with envious religious hypocrites—now the “crowd”! At some point, crowd does not require coaxing of chief priests/elders: “They all answered” (v.22) and “all the people” (v.25). crowd became full accomplices; “full responsibility” for Jesus’ “blood” (death) (v.25).

C.     (24-26) Pilate’s Decision

1.     (24) “getting nowhere…uproar” Pilate’s squirming didn’t work—had to make a decision; Would He deliver justice whatever the cost? No! He decided to wash his hands! tried to wash away his guilt with water (24). “I am innocent…” but saying something doesn’t make it so—Ex 23:6-7; Pr 29:4 (stability gained thru justice)

2.     (25) “Let His blood be on us…” Why would they say this? It’s a mob! Lk 23:34; Rich with irony; 26:28—could be forgiven because of “blood” (Pentecost—3,000!)

3.     (26) “released Barabbas…flogged…”; New International Standard Bible Encyclopedia: “It consisted of a handle, to which several cords or leather thongs were affixed, which were weighted with jagged pieces of bone or metal, to make the blow more painful and effective…The victim was tied to a post and the blows were applied to the back and loins, sometimes even, in the wanton cruelty of the executioner, to the face and the bowels. In the tense position of the body, the effect can easily be imagined. So hideous was the punishment that the victim usually fainted and not rarely died under it.”; then “handed him over to be crucified” as predicted—despite verdict of innocence.

4.     Where was God? Jn 19:10,11; able to stop it, but His plan; not surprised Acts 2:23.

III.   Closing: With whom do you identify in this passage?

A.    Unlike Pilate, don’t fear sacrificing everything to do what is right. God’s plan often includes sacrificing something: job (like Pilate), popularity, position, friendship, etc. Pilate got booted anyway; later ticked off Caesar somehow, lost job. Doing wrong thing didn’t help. J.Elliot (missionary to violent Auca Indians killed by same): “He is no fool to give up what he cannot keep in order to gain what he cannot lose.” God rewards giving up short-term treasures (cannot keep) with eternal treasures (cannot lose) do what is right!

B.    Unlike the crowd, don’t buy into “mob morality”. We can be “persuaded” to oppose the will and ways of God; 1 Tim 4:1-2 we can “fall away”; 2 Tim 4:3-4 (solution? 2 & 5)

C.    Unlike the Jewish leaders (chief priests and elders), don’t lead deceptively. refused to acknowledge Jesus as King; not ignorance—dishonest doubt (refused to believe) and led others astray. Many lead/teach, Q: “lead people toward or away from God?” only thing worse than doing evil is getting other people to do evil with you. Be warned: Jms 3:1

D.    Like Barabbas, be released. Barabbas first person “saved” from death by the Cross of Christ—on death row, but Jesus was His substitute. guilty lived, Innocent died in his place. what Jesus’ death accomplished (spiritual level) for us. 1 Jn 4:9-10; Rm 6:23? “free gift”;  Barabbas earn freedom? earn his way off death row? No and no; receive that free gift!

E.     Like Jesus endure suffering, rejection and injustice. God’s plan often includes mobs and betrayals and jerks. If we refuse it, we may be refusing the greater good God can bring about through it. Hebrews 12:1-3. Jesus is the Author of our faith—the One who wrote the book on the life of faith. Thank God!!! He looked past the suffering, rejection and injustice to the joy that would come as a result. How can we “endure suffering, rejection and injustice” and “run with endurance”? “Fixing our eyes on Jesus (at the finish line!!)…Consider Him…not grow weary and lose heart.”

Closing Prayer…

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