Summary: The pain & agony they felt was reaching its peak. And the thieves begin to speak again to Jesus. As they do, listen to their requests, & then listen to the answer that Jesus gives. (Powerpoint available - #111)
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
RIDGE CHAPEL, KANSAS, OK
(Powerpoints used with this message are available for free. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and request PP #111.)
A. This week begins what the world often calls "The Easter Season," when we make a special effort to recall some of the last events in the earthly life of Jesus, leading up to His crucifixion & resurrection.
Two weeks from now will be “Palm Sunday”, & Christians all over the world will be commemorating the procession into Jerusalem that occurred 1,981 years ago, a parade in which the crowds erupted in celebration with shouts of "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:9)
So enthusiastically did they honor Jesus that His enemies, the Jewish rulers, complained, "See, this is getting us nowhere. Look how the whole world has gone after Him." (John 12:19)
B. But in the midst of that celebration, as the crowds cheered & tried to make Him their king, Jesus must have been fighting a battle with temptation. He was being pulled in two different directions.
On one hand, Satan was saying, "See how the people clamor after you. They want to make you their king. Why wait any longer? You don’t have to go to the cross. It can all be yours right now!"
Jesus must have been sorely tempted to yield to the wishes of the crowd. It would have been so easy to say, "All right, you want me to be your king. I’ll do it! Give me a crown. Give me a throne, & I’ll wield the scepter!"
He knew that He could be a better king than anyone who had ever been king before. How easy it would have been for Him to establish an earthly kingdom right then & there - & completely eliminate the pain & agony of the cross.
But yet, on the other hand, the cross was absolutely essential for our sakes, because only by going to the cross could He pay the penalty for our sins, & prepare a kingdom for us that would never end. So He made the choice that day as He refused the efforts of the crowd to crown Him as their king.
C. Then came all the other events of that week – the cleansing of the temple, the plots of the rulers, their efforts to trap Him with trick questions, the upper room, the last supper, the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal by Judas, the arrest, the insults, the false accusations, & the illegal trials throughout the night.
With no opportunity for Him to rest, early in the morning they drag Jesus to Pilate’s Judgment Hall. But Pilate could find no basis for any charges against Him. Then when Pilate heard that Jesus was from Galilee & therefore a subject of King Herod, he sent Him to King Herod who was visiting in Jerusalem for the Passover.
Luke 23:8-11 tells us, “When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased,… From what he had heard about Him, he hoped to see Him perform some miracle. He plied Him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.
“The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing Him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked Him. Dressing Him in an elegant robe, they sent Him back to Pilate.”