Summary: When put on trial, Jesus stood before the world until they ask Him THE question, then the world stood before Jesus.
The World Meets Jesus
• When I was student minister, I love to show the old 35mm movies. Only youth retreats we would routinely show to old movies. The opening night of youth retreat we would see a movie entitled “Without Onions,” and the closing night we would see a movie entitled “A Thief in the Night.” For those who don’t remember, the 2nd movie was a depiction of the 2nd coming of Christ.
• However, many times I would show movies just for fun. One of my favorite movies for fun was entitled “Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein.” However, there are many movies where someone needs somebody.
• When Jesus was born in Bethlehem very few people were even aware. His parents, the animals, a few shepherds, and later a few wise man were all that were in the know. Even when Jesus was 12 and went to the temple, still only few even had encountered him.
• At age 30 when he came to John the Baptist and was baptized, still there was a limited crowd who saw him. However, over the next three years Jesus attracted quite a crowd. The operative word is “crowd”, because as their history will prove they were not ‘of Jesus’, but simply wanting something from Jesus. This is a stark reminder for us today of the words John the Beloved wrote, “Those who went out from us was not of us because if they had been of us they would not have gone out from us.” Still, inside of the band of disciples, Judas was only a part of the crowd. He never became a part of the congregation or the core.
• Believe it or not, Judas hands Jesus over to the world. Scripture calls it a betrayal. Jesus is put in front of the leaders. For the next minutes, let’s contrast two truths about this happening.
• We will contrast Jesus standing before the world and the world standing before Jesus – for I believe we can see both pictures in our text.
1. Jesus before the World – Have you ever stood in a court room with a presiding judge? Everyone is at the mercy of the judge. While you might not have ever thought about it this way, the Gospels tell us that Jesus was before the Council and the judges of the day. Consider our text.
a. They Led Him - Verse 53 says, “They led Jesus to the high priest.” This means that Jesus was taken from the garden into the presence of his enemies. He was bound and chained and probably led by one of those chains. As I read this story, it seems to me, that the soldiers, the high priest, the chief priest, the elders, and the scribes are all afraid of Jesus. It is interesting that these enemies are all religious people and should be on the side of our Lord, yet our Lord shows no deference to the religious. I submit to us today that there is a tendency to bind Jesus and make him less what he really is. This can be done or we can do this by how we live, or talk, or interact with people. These soldiers led him away in front of his enemies because they wanted to control him because;
b. They Loathed Him - The 1st part of verse 55 tells us that they (all of them) “Were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death.” You see because Jesus showed them no deference they were ready to exterminate him, they hated him, and wanted to do something about him. Can you blame them? After all, most of the time we don’t see Jesus in a true biblical light, rather we see him as we desire to see him-as a baby in a manger or perhaps a sweet little lamb. If most of us are honest, we had trouble with the picture of Jesus taking up a whip and forcibly clearing the temple. We had trouble hearing Jesus speak the words recorded in Matthew 23 where he calls the religious leaders hypocrites, blind guides, blind fools, blind man, and self-indulgent. This is not the Jesus most people like to see, want to see, or even believe in. Yet, this is the biblical Jesus and this is to Jesus the religious leaders hated. It is also the Jesus that is hated today.
• In his book, Vertical Church, James McDonnell writes, “Jesus is reviled as mental illness by politicians on the left and randomly revered on the right by those who wish to ride His coattails. Derided by the news media and denied by the moral left, Jesus Christ seems batted about by everyone at times.”
• Candidly, Jesus is a divisive word today because the world hates Jesus. When Jesus stands before the world today just like when he stood before this crowd, He is loathed.