Summary: A message about the attitudes of people today about Jesus and who He is.
MIXED RESPONSE TO THE MASTER
INTRO: Ask several people what they think about the president of the United States. You will get mixed responses ranging from praise to criticism.
We could expect mixed responses over human leaders. But we are surprised over the varied responses about Jesus of Nazareth. He lived a perfect life, taught about God’s kingdom, and helped people. We think everyone should love and adore Him. They didn’t when He lived on earth, and they don’t today. Let’s examine some mixed responses to Jesus.
I. THE RESPONSE OF BETRAYAL (vv. 1-11).
Judas had associated with Jesus for three years. He was in the company of the twelve, but Judas was never committed to the Christ. The Gospel records contain the materialistic interest of Judas. Either he wanted to enhance his finances or he wanted Jesus to be a political Messiah. Whatever the reason, Judas betrayed the Master.
They sent an army to arrest Jesus. The Greek word used here for band of soldiers could mean anywhere between 1,000 and 200. They had at least 200+ armed soldiers to arrest one unarmed man. They knew He had much power (see Barclay).
Why did they bring torches and lamps? It was a well moonlit night, and they would not need them to see the way. They thought that they would have to search for Jesus. They thought He would hide from them.
Do people betray Jesus today? Yes, they do. They devote their lives to fame and fortune rather than Jesus. Other priorities claim their attention.
II. THE RESPONSE OF REJECTION (vv. 12-14; 19-24).
After the arrest of Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane, He was brought before Annas and Caiaphas, two Jewish leaders. Jesus came to His own people, the Jews, and they rejected Him. They heard the facts and observed His deeds, but the rejected Him.
The High Priest controlled the selling of the animals and birds used for sacrifice in the Temple. A pair of doves, for example, would sell for 9 denarii outside the Temple, but would cost 15 denarii inside the Court of the Gentiles.
Annas was furious with Jesus because he had ruined his business three years earlier when He cleansed the Temple.
Also, Annas had no legal right to ask Jesus questions. When Jesus said to bring in other witnesses, he was following the legal procedure.
Oddly enough, people still reject Jesus. They read about His teaching, His miracles, and His great life, but they reject Him.
III. THE RESPONSE OF DENIAL (vv. 15-18; 25-27).
Simon Peter represented one of the intimate disciples of Jesus. Yet, in an hour of great trial, Peter made an unusual response to Jesus. To save his life, Peter denied his association with Jesus.
Over the years, we have been to hard on Peter. Notice that he is the only disciple that did not run away when the soldiers came. He was the one who was willing to fight to the death if necessary. He failed in a situation that the others were not willing to face. This shows bravery, not cowardice.
Good Christians often deny the Lord at a crucial time. In their homes and in their businesses, Christians have an opportunity to take a stand for Christ, but at times they fail. This response is a form of denial.
IV. THE RESPONSE OF INTEREST (vv. 28-40).
Pilate, the Roman ruler, tried Jesus. Oddly enough, the immediate response of Pilate was interest in the Master. Pilate asked some great questions: “Art thou the King of the Jews?” “What hast thou done?” “What is truth?” Pilate’s interest did not lead to commitment.
Notice that the Jews could not carry out the death penalty. Only the Roman government could do this. If the Jews could have given Jesus the death penalty, the only thing they could have done was to have STONED him (see Lev. 24:16). Look at what hatred does! To go to Pilate made them unclean for Passover (see Barclay).
Many people admire Jesus. They take an interest in what He said and in what He did. But they do not commit themselves to Him.
CONC: The Gospel of John continues a witness of who Jesus is and what He has done. What is your response to Him?