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Summary: It can be an inconvenient truth, the reality of Jesus, but it's the most important decision we make.

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What Do We Do With Jesus?

Series: A Journey with Jesus (through the Gospel of John)

Brad Bailey – April 10, 2011

Intro

As we begin this morning… I want us to consider the relationship we each have with truth. A part of each one of us bears a pursuit for truth. In a sense every life is a pursuit of truth. When a baby reaches out to touch the object in front of him he is discovering the reality of what he sees. We spend billions of dollars to go into outer space trying to find out the truth about what is out there. We want to know what is and what is not. We are in various ways seeking out truth. (Adapted from Richard Tow)

But then there is truth that confronts us with a decision we want to avoid. Some of the most important truth… can be the most inconvenient truth.

Today… as we continue in our Journey with him through the Gospel of John… we come literally face to face with this aspect of truth. We come to what we refer to as the eighteenth chapter of John’s testimony…and to follow what would be a long text to read… we will follow the portrayal as given in the movie entitled The Gospel of John… which follows John’s text.

The text revolves around a legal inquiry into the truth about Jesus of Nazareth.

It occurs at the palace of Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor of Judea. Jesus has already been brought before the Jewish authorities at the house of Annas and then Caiaphas. In the meantime, Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples, has been trying to follow along… but is afraid someone might associate him with Jesus and get a hold of him….. so he stays in the shadows. But he is recognized… and denies knowing Jesus… not once… but three times… as Jesus had said would happen. The late night becomes all night… and finally at dawn…Caiphas the highest religious leader decides to present Jesus to the local Roman ruler… Pilate.

CLIP – The Gospel of John movie- that captures the text of John 18:28-19:12 The length is 6:52 minutes. [1]

(A version of this can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1BrtpP_kVA )

Pilate is faced with a dilemma… what to do with Jesus. We see here only the final part of the process that had taken place. Throughout every step...no one knows what to do with Jesus.

The religious leaders want to get rid of him because he bears a quality of righteousness that exposes the limits of their own righteousness.

Peter wants to be a follower…. but he is looking at strength in Jesus that is willing to suffer for others and is doesn’t yet understand how to follow.

And now Pilate whose job is to keep peace… is faced with his own dilemma.

In the midst of this process… we learn something about the challenge and the responsibility that each of us must come to terms with.

It begins with in the early morning light as the religious leaders bring Jesus to the palace. [2]

Pilate asks them the most basic but telling question…,

"What charges are you bringing against this man?" – John 18:29

(Below is drawn and adapted from Richard Tow)

That was a perfectly natural thing for Pilate to ask. Just as our legal system requires an indictment of formal charges specifying exactly what laws have been broken, the Roman system also required formal charges.[3] Pilate is following proper legal procedure in asking his question.

But the Jewish leaders do not want to deal in specifics because they know they have nothing that would stand up in a court of law. Rather than give Pilate any specifics they answer in generalities. John 18:30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.” In other words, “Pilate, don’t concern yourself with details, take our word for it this guy is a criminal.”

But Pilate sees these guys for the political manipulators they are [4] and tells them to handle the matter themselves. He is saying sarcastically. “If you have already tried the matter and are not willing to give me the specifics of your accusations, then just handle it without me.”

That forced them to admit the real reason they were there. They wanted Jesus executed and didn’t have the authority to do it themselves so they wanted Pilate to do it for them.

In verse 32, John points out that this whole process of forcing Rome to carry out this death sentence was fulfilling the prophecy about the death of Christ. [5] Jewish law only made provisions for stoning… and was now restricted…while Rome would crucify public criminals. And so the prophecies that his bones would not be broken… and he would be lifted up… were unfolding.

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