Summary: The truth of Good Friday is revealed after the but.
It was supposed to be a day marked with celebration, but it was a day defined by tragedy.
It was supposed to be a day friends gathered together, but it was a day that friends scattered.
It was supposed to be a day when people paused to remember what God had done for man, but it instead people would mark this day to remember what man did to God.
This spring our theme at Cornerstone is “After the but comes the truth”.
But is such a powerful word, only 3 letters however it is the hinge that turns the entire meaning of a statement.
For example, Martin Luther King Jr said, “If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
After the but, comes the truth.
The bible uses the word but over 4500 times, so we shouldn’t have a lack of material. This morning I want to look at a statement that occurs in the book of Acts.
They are the words of Paul and they spell out the Easter story in a mere 115 words.
Paul is preaching to a crowd in Antioch and he is telling them the Jesus story. And he finishes by telling them how the story ends. Which is a pretty good way to end a story.
And in these 115 words there are two buts. Which is perfect, there is a but for today and a but for Sunday.
Let’s begin our weekend with the words of Acts 13:27-28 The people in Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize Jesus as the one the prophets had spoken about. Instead, they condemned him, and in doing this they fulfilled the prophets’ words that are read every Sabbath. They found no legal reason to execute him, but they asked Pilate to have him killed anyway.
They found no legal reason to execute him, but. . . And after the but comes the truth, they asked Pilate to have him killed anyway.
So, who were “They”? Well, according to the account, they were the people in Jerusalem and their leaders.
Just a week before the people of Jerusalem welcomed Jesus into their city on the day we now call Palm Sunday.
No doubt these were some of the same people who less than a week before had waved palm branches and cried hosanna to the highest, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
And now just five short days later, just a scant 120 hours and the crowd's voice has changed from a melodious hosanna in the highest to a venomous crucify him.
The people of Jerusalem. How could the religious leaders of the day have stirred the people into a murderous frenzy? No longer were they shopkeepers and butchers, shepherds and tailors but now they had become a blood crazed mob. Why? How?
How could it have happened?
The people of Jerusalem 2000 years ago weren’t a lot different than the people of Halifax are today, or for that matter the people of Jerusalem 2000 years ago weren’t a lot different than we are.
We are told that when the Dutch master Rembrandt painted the crucifixion scene, he painted his own face into the crowd that thronged about the foot of the cross to remind himself that it was for his sins that Christ died that agonising death on the cross.
The People Could Have Embraced Jesus, But . . . For three years Jesus had taught the people, for three years Jesus had healed the people, for three years Jesus had feed the people, and for three years Jesus had offered the people of Jerusalem his grace and his forgiveness.
But regardless of how the people of Jerusalem had felt when they welcomed Jesus on the previous Sunday some of the same people were openly hostile to Christ and his claim to be the son of God on Friday.
They would have been more than happy for Jesus to go around healing the sick and feeding the hungry but when he claimed to be the son of God and challenged their morality, they were outraged.
One of Jesus’ closest friends records in John 12:37-38 But despite all the miraculous signs Jesus had done, most of the people still did not believe in him.
But it wasn’t just the people, the people were just pawns for their leaders.
At the centre of the plot against Jesus were the religious leaders of the day. Which seems a little odd that those who professed to serve God would be the ones who seemed the most intent on killing God’s Son.
But there had been conflict almost from the beginning as Jesus challenged the status quo.