Summary: The trials of Jesus Christ show us: 1. The evil results of rejecting Jesus. 2. The excellent reasons for receiving Jesus. 3. The essential revelation we have in Jesus.
The Trials of Jesus Christ
The Gospel of John
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - May 16, 2018
(Revised June 2, 2020)
*Please open your Bibles to John 18. Here Jesus allowed Himself to be arrested by an army of probably over a thousand men. The Lord was in control. We know this because when Jesus identified Himself in vs. 5-6, He miraculously put that whole force on the ground.
*After the Lord allowed that army to arrest Him, vs. 13 tells us "they led Him away to Annas first, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas who was high priest that year."
*Last week we focused on how Peter denied the Lord, but thank God, that wasn't the end of Peter's story. We went on to see how the Lord restored Peter after Jesus rose again from the dead. We also saw how the Lord empowered Peter with the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost.
*Tonight, we will go back to the trials of Jesus Christ and see three crucial truths for today. For context, let's begin by reading vs. 12-24.
*Ungodly, cruel, corrupt politicians have been one of the worst plagues of mankind. Take Lavrentiy Beria for example. Beria was the most ruthless and longest-serving secret police chief in Joseph Stalin's Communist reign of terror in the Soviet Union. Beria's famous boast was, "Show me the man and I'll show you the crime." He led the expansion of the slave-labor camps and secret detention facilities for political prisoners.
*I've seen estimates of 100 to 148 million people killed under brutal Communist dictatorships, including 65 million in China and up to 60 million in the nations once controlled by the Soviet Union. (1)
*We see the same callous disregard for life on display at the trials of Jesus Christ. We know this because the Lord's appearances before the members of the Jewish supreme court were strictly illegal. Their supreme court was called the Great Sanhedrin. It was made up of 70 men plus the high priest. And during this time it met in the Temple in Jerusalem. (2)
*John Phillips explained that according to their law "death-penalty offenses could be tried by a quorum of twenty-three, but a case concerning a false prophet had to be brought before the entire Sanhedrin of 71 members. The judges were to sit in a semicircle with the president in the middle, so that the faces of each judge might be seen by each of the others.
*The witnesses were to be strictly separated and examined individually. If the testimony of two agreed, it was taken as valid. When the case involved the death penalty, the witnesses were cautioned as to the consequences of their testimony. They were not allowed to inject their own conjectures or hearsay.
*Death-penalty cases could only be tried in the daytime, but Jesus was hauled before the high priests at night. Everything was supposed to be done to give the accused the benefit of the doubt. And death sentence could not be given until the next day, to allow time for a change of mind. . .
*On the way to execution, further efforts were made to establish the prisoner's innocence. They gave him 4 or 5 opportunities to name new witnesses who might prove his innocence. They also sent a herald ahead of the procession to urge anyone who could prove his innocence to step forward." (3)
*Some of these basic laws were surely violated by the Sanhedrin, and why? Because they had murder in their hearts. Jesus spoke to some of the same rulers in John 8. It was at the Feast of the Tabernacles, about 6 months before these trials. Then, as always, God knew their hearts, and here is part of what Jesus said to those men:
44. "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
45. But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me.
46. Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?
47. He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.''
*The judges at the trials of Christ were ungodly, cruel, corrupt politicians. But through these trials, God gives us vital spiritual truth for today.
1. FIRST: WE SEE THE EVIL RESULTS OF REJECTING JESUS CHRIST.
*The greatest tragedy in the world is that so many people have rejected Jesus as Lord and Savior. Yes, in John 4 the Lord said that the fields of evangelism are white for harvest. And truly they still are ripe for harvest, so we must do everything we can to reach more people with the good news about Jesus.