Summary: This is a sermon for Palm Sunday 2007 but it could be preached at any time. It leads up to a resurection sermon. It shows Jesus’ love for us through His trial and death.
The Trial and Death of Jesus – God’s Love For You!
A few years ago Mel Gibson put out a movie titled, “The Passion of Christ.” In that movie the last twelve hours of Jesus’ life was depicted in graphic detail. It is not a movie that I would sit down and watch for its entertainment value. But it is a movie that I would watch for its love value.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 (NKJV)
Many times when we read John 3:16 we miss the most important word in the verse. The word we miss is “Gave.” God the Father – GAVE – His son to us as a gift. God gave Jesus to us because He loves us. God gave Jesus with a purpose – to go to trial for us, to die for us – so that we could have life.
Today on this Palm Sunday I want us to look at the trial and death of Jesus and see God’s love through them.
1. The TRIAL of Jesus shows God’s love for me.
The trial of Jesus has always been in controversy. Who killed Jesus? Did the Romans kill Him? Did the Jews kill Him? Let me tell you something – do you want to know who killed Jesus? I did! No – I did not live two thousand years ago – I did not take nails and put Him on the cross - but my sin killed Him just the same. The sin that I committed put Jesus on the cross. He died intentionally for my sin. He died to take my place. So I am the one who put Him on the cross. He went to the cross willingly for me. Look at John 10:18 with me. Jesus is speaking and He says:
“No one takes My life from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father." John 10:18 (NKJV)
He knew the pain that the cross held for Him. He knew what He was going to go through. He knew the suffering that He would endure. He knew the death that He was going to die – and He went there willingly. He went there intentionally. If that is not love I do not know what is.
Did you know that Jesus actually went through six different trials the night He was arrested? Three Jewish trials and three Roman trials – none of them were really legal.
First they took Him to Annas who was a religious leader. Annas gave Him a little trial and sent Him to Caiaphas who was the High Priest at the time. Caiaphas had a little trial and sends Jesus to the religious Supreme Court, which is called the Sanhedrin. They gave Him a little trial and then send Him to Pilate. Pilate was the Roman governor in Jerusalem. He gave Jesus a little trial and sent Him to King Herod who is in charge of Judea. Herod looks a Jesus, gives Him a little trial and sends Him back to Pilate. All of this takes place in about eight hours.
What charges did they find Him guilty of? Nothing! Absolutely nothing! He had done nothing wrong. He had committed no crimes. Finally they found one accusation that stuck. Just one! Do you know what it was? They asked Him, “Are you the son of God?” His answer was, “Yes!” And they said, “We got Him now. We need to kill Him.”
To the leaders of that time to say you are the Son of God means that you are equal to God. You are saying you have God’s authority, that you have God’s power, that you are a direct descendant of God and that you are part of God’s blood line. This, of course to them, was blasphemy. No one could be equal with God. But this is exactly what Jesus claimed.
Think about this for a minute though. Jesus never claimed to be a great religious leader. He never claimed to be a great prophet. He never claimed to be a man of God. But He did claim to be the Son of God. And by claiming this title – He claimed to be equal with God.
Let me ask you a couple questions this morning. Who has the power to forgive sin? God does. Who has the power to raise people up from the dead? God does. Who has the power to grant eternal life? God does. Did you know Jesus did all of these things? He claimed to be equal with the Father because He was. We as Christians believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. This fact is what we call the incarnation. God became flesh and dwelt among men. This is what Jesus claimed. Follow along in John 10: