Summary: The crucifixion of Jesus and all this means to us.
The crucifixion John 19:14-22
A young business owner was opening a new branch office, and a friend decided to send a floral arrangement for the grand opening but when his friend arrived at the opening, he was horrified to find that instead of a bunch of flowers the florist had sent a wreath that bore the inscription: “Rest in peace.” Well, he was really angry, so he decided to complain to the florist. And after apologizing, the florist said, “Look at it this way—somewhere a man was buried beneath a wreath that says, ‘Good luck on your new location.’“
As I said last week compared to the other three gospel accounts of the crucifixion John presents a rather calm picture. He doesn’t emphasize or mention such things as the taunts of the crowds, the darkness at noon, or even Jesus’ cry from the cross. And even when Jesus is crucified, John portrays Him as being totally in control and steadily, of his own will, moving toward the fulfillment of what God the Father’s intended Him to do.
And as I finished last week I was saying that these Jewish people, the Scribes and the Pharisees were religious to the core but at the same time they were so full of hatred towards anyone that didn’t have a subservient attitude of reverence and absolute respect towards them. They thought everyone should bow every time they walked down the road or into a room. And that seems to be such a contradiction of spirituality because we would wonder how someone could profess to have a relationship with the God of love and at the same time hate anyone who didn’t love them.
But then again, we have to ask ourselves, what about me? Am I any different? I mean, does my faith motivate me to reach the lost or is my faith just something that makes me comfortable? Do I really have a burden for souls or do I say I do because that’s supposed to be who I am?
We are known as evangelical Baptists and that’s not a denominational title but it’s a description of who and what we are. And by being called Baptists we are telling the world that we believe in the act of baptism as a means of identifying with Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and the evangelical part means we believe in evangelizing or preaching the gospel to the lost or the unsaved. So, I guess the question we have to ask ourselves is, how are we doing? Are we individually living up to our name? Or do we think that giving a few dollars to missions somehow, gets us off the hook? You see, we really have to be careful not to fall into the same rut that these scribes and Pharisees lived.
Now, before we get into the passage I read, I want to give you three parts of an indictment or an accusation against this religious crowd. And the first thing I want you to notice is that they were concentrating on ceremonial purity by staying outside of Pilate’s home while contradicting what they said they believed in by demanding death to the One who was a threat, because Jesus wasn’t a threat to their faith but to both their positions and their income.
They’re like the guy who was serving time in a federal prison for murder (and this is a true story) he was serving time for murder and he refused to sing in the prison choir because he said he grew up as a member of a denomination that never used any instruments with their singing. He was doing time for murder but he made sure everyone knew that his life was very pleasing to God because he took his worship seriously. And these religious people were doing the same thing, because they were more concerned with what everyone else thought than they were with what God knew about them.
Second, their claim to be concerned for their nation was contradicted by their demand that a prisoner be released who was a known thief and a murderer. I mean, who in their right mind would want someone like Barabbas who the Romans thought to be worthy of death, roaming the streets.
And then third, they actually renounced any faith they had in God when they pledged allegiance to Caesar. And this is really strange, because they were actually being very careful to keep themselves pure for the Passover and don’t forget that the Passover was the celebration of the nation’s deliverance from Egypt while at the same time they were pledging allegiance to Rome. And their actions were a total contradiction of everything they said they believed in.
So, that was what they were doing and here they were standing before Pilate, who was a heathen in their minds, telling him they wanted to kill someone even though they couldn’t seem to come up with a good reason for killing Him.