Summary: This is the third in a series on the most important day in the most important life ever lived; we walk with Jesus to Calvary!

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¡§The Most Important Day In the Most Important Life Ever Lived!¡¨

¡§God in the Dock¡¨

Matthew 26:57-68; 27:1-2

February 24, 2002

Every time I am reading C.S. Lewis, you ought to expect that you will hear me talking about him, and this is no exception, as I am currently in the middle of reading one of his shorter works, The Abolition of Man. Another of his works toward which I am looking forward to reading is one from which I drew my sermon title today, God in the Dock, a collection of essays which examines our relationship to God, ¡§the dock¡¨ referring to the chamber of justice. While Lewis takes a different path than I in using this term, I have borrowed the term to consider with you this morning the trial of Jesus Christ, God in the flesh.

Let¡¦s read from Scripture this morning about some men who tried God. Stand with me and follow along as we read from Matthew 26:57-68, and then the first two verses of Matthew 27.

You know, if you¡¦ve attended FCC for any length of time, that I¡¦m a bumper-sticker reader. That isn¡¦t always good; the continual coarsening of our society is reflected in the increasingly awful things people feel at liberty to say to perfect strangers by means of bumper stickers. Many of the things, then, that I read are things which I¡¦d not repeat, but I¡¦m going to give you one that I used to see a lot, though it¡¦s been some time since I¡¦ve seen it. If I never see it again, it won¡¦t bother me. Ready? Try God. That¡¦s all it says; ¡§try God¡¨. I want to speak with you today about why that is one of the very last things you ought to ever do; please, whatever you do in relation to God, don¡¦t try Him!

There were some men who tried Jesus, who on their terms and for their own purposes put God on trial. Actually, the Bible records not a single trial, but a six-fold examination of Jesus Christ. We read in the parallel account in John 18 how Jesus was taken to Annas, who had been the previous high priest, father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest at the time. Annas was a patriarch, a godfather of sorts, a man who enjoyed much dignity and stature. Jesus was taken there first by the religion boys so that they might assure themselves of Annas¡¦ blessing. They also, no doubt, wanted to relieve themselves quickly of the contingent of Roman soldiers who¡¦d been involved in Jesus¡¦ arrest. Annas¡¦ home was close by the Garden of Gethsemane, and so He was taken there. After a brief examination, Jesus was transferred to the palace of Caiaphas, the high priest. The Bible tells us that some of the chief priests were involved in His examination there; later, in the third stage of Jesus¡¦ trial, He appeared before most of the assembled Sanhedrin, the ruling body of the Jews. It is this trial which is referred to in our passage, in Matthew 26:59, and we immediately are given to understand that this was not a trial about justice, but rather an old-fashioned lynching instead.

„h The manner of Jesus¡¦ trial went against the Law that Jewish leaders were ostensibly supposed to uphold;

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