Summary: Pre-Easter sermon
Understanding the Passion
1 Cor. 1:17-18
For Christ sent me … to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.
 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
1. THE TRIAL OF JESUS SHOWS US GOD’S PURPOSE
Controversy: Who killed Jesus?
A. He gave up his life voluntarily & intentionally.
It was the purpose he came to earth for! To die for us!
No man taketh it 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 commandment have I received of my Father.
Before -trial, Jesus already knew the outcome:
Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.
What was his purpose?
And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
o Famous trials: Jackson, M. Stewart, Kobe, Scott Peterson
But nothing compares to the circus around Jesus’ trial! SHAM!
B. Actually, Jesus was rushed thru six trials in about 12 hours:
3 Religious...3 Roman - secretly arrested at night because so pop.
First 1. Annas key rel leader
Then 2. Caiaphas high priest
3. Rel Supreme Court “Sanhedrin”
4. Pilate gov. of Judea
5. Herod gov.of Galilee
6. Pilate again all in about 12 hours!
After 6 trials what did they come up with? Nothing!
- They couldn’t pin any charges on him!
…accuse him of any real crimes!
hadn’t done anything wrong!
SO ... they tried to trump up some false accusations!
... brought in phony witnesses to perjure themselves
But these paid accusers kept contradicting each other!
so couldn’t convict him!
C. Finally, they made ONE accusation that was true!
(slow) He claims to be the Son of God!
Matthew 26:63 And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.  Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said…
Think about this: Jesus never claimed to be...
just a good teacher.. a prophet.. a moral leader.. a man of God
claimed ... GOD! That changes everything!
ILL: “I’m a good man. I teach the truth. I’m a man of God.
But if I said “I’m God” - would that change how you felt about me?
It would force you to make a decision!
Religious leaders-- in their minds: It was blasphemy!
ADVICE: If you ever meet anyone who claims to be God-
you’ve only got 3 choices:
1. Believe he’s an idiot. Doesn’t know what he’s saying.
Diminished capacity. Mentally unstable.
Like the guy in the funny farm who thinks...Napoleon
2. Believe he’s a con-man. Rip-off artist. Swindler
He pretends so can take advantage of you. (plenty around)
3. Believe he’s telling the truth.
In that case- you have to worship & obey him!.
You already believe something about Jesus. The question is what?
Is he a Liar? Lunatic? or Lord?
a Deceiver? Deluded? or Deity?
D. Jesus claimed to be God, the Savior of the world:
That’s why He allowed himself to be put on trial.
Obviously, as God - he could have prevented his own trial.
But his purpose was to save the world!
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow…and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord…
What is this world coming to?”
- one day everyone will acknowledge Jesus for who He is!
- all the arrogant & foolish denials will end
• Every nationality, age, culture, religion…
• Every politician ... rock star... professor...athlete...
THE ISSUE: Isn’t- Will you acknowledge Jesus as Lord? But when?
Now in love and thankfulness? or Later in regret & judgment?
DO IT TODAY!
2. THE DEATH OF JESUS SHOWS US GOD’S PASSION
It demonstrates how much God loves you!
…reveals the length God was willing to go -to save you!
A. After the trials- Jesus was sentenced to be killed by crucifixion.