Sermons

Summary: The most beautiful face in the universe forever will be the face of Jesus, for this is the face that made it possible for man to return to paradise and to fellowship with God.

You never know when something embarrassing will happen

to you. We are constantly on guard, for we do not like to be

humiliated. Mrs. Howard Field was walking to a near by

funeral home for the funeral of an old acquaintance when

she saw an Easter bonnet that caught her eye. She went in

and purchased it. She felt it was improper to carry it into

the chapel, so she asked an usher to take care of it for her.

You can imagine her dismay when she saw it being placed

on the coffin with the flowers. At the grave site she hoped to

recover it, but she was too embarrassed to do anything, and

so she watched her new Spring hat lowered into the ground.

She hardly knew the woman being buried, but she was

weeping as sincerely as the immediate family.

Her embarrassment was real but hidden. In other

situations we cannot hide, and we are embarrassed by what

is beyond our control. The poet gives an example-

I sat next to the Bishop at tea;

It was just as I feared it would be.

His rumblings abdominal

Were simply phenomenal,

And everyone thought it was me.

Then there are the deliberate efforts to get a laugh at the

expense of others. It can be funny to embarrass others. This

is the motive behind roasts and many other types of humor.

We do this frequently as men. It is part of our sense of

humor. Sometimes it borders on the cruel, however. For

example, Bernard Shaw was browsing in a secondhand book

shop when he found a copy of one of his own books peeping

out at him from a dusty shelf. He looked at the inside cover

and found it was an autographed copy he had given to a

friend. He bought his own book just so he could return it to

the friend with these words on the flyleaf- "With renewed

compliments of Bernard Shaw." You can imagine the

embarrassment of the friend.

The desire to humble another can be just good fun, and

when people are friends it can be good for a laugh, even for

the one embarrassed. But there is also sadistic side of this

that we see dominating the whole scene of the trial of Jesus.

John chapter 19 is just one embarrassing scene after another

as the church and state try to manipulate each other by

means of humiliation. Pilate represents the state. He is the

power of Rome, the secular Gentile state. In the other

corner of the ring are the chief priests and officials of Israel.

They are the church, or the religious establishment in the

legal conflict over the issue if Jesus is worthy of being

sentenced to death.

It is one of the greatest paradoxes of history that the state

tried hard to release Jesus, but the religious leaders would

not let the state do what was just, but used the power of

humiliation to compel Pilate to send Jesus to the cross. Let

me share with you the clear facts of this great paradox of

that pagan secular state trying to do the right thing, but the

clever religious people thwarted justice, and manipulated the

state to join them in the evil plot to officially murder the only

perfectly innocent man who ever lived.

Pilate was a pagan, but he knew when a man was

innocent, and he knew Jesus was just such a man. In fact,

the Gospels tell us Pilate acknowledged seven times that

Jesus was innocent. We see three of them in our text. In

verse 4 Pilate said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing Him

out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge

against Him." In verse 6 he says it again, "As for me, I find

no basis for a charge against Him." In verse 12 we read,

"Pilate tried to set Jesus free." The Gospels confirm that

Pilate found no fault in Jesus, and that he did seek to release

Him. Even his own wife had a dream about Jesus and

warned Pilate not to sentence Him. He tried every trick in

the book to set Jesus free. He even gave the people a choice

to let Barabbas or Jesus go free. He thought for sure they

would choose Jesus rather than a known violent killer, but

they did not.

The record is clear, Jesus was killed by religious people

and not secular people. The religious leaders forced Pilate to

give the order to Crucify Jesus. They embarrassed him into

it. Here were the people who had the promise of God to

have a Messiah sent to them, and they demanded that the

state put this Messiah to death. There is no guarantee that

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