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The Trial of the King - 3/26/2017


The right to a trial is a cherished American freedom. A cowboy who lived during the Wild West
days was arrested for stealing horses. The judge said, “You are accused as a horse thief, how do
you plead?” The old cowboy said, “Not guilty!” The judge said, “You have a choice. You can be
tried by a panel of three judges or by a jury of twelve of your peers.” The cowboy said, “I don’t
understand that word ‘peers’ who would they be?” The judge explained, “A jury of your peers
means that they are people just like you.” The cowboy thought for a second and said, “I’ll take
the judges. I don’t want twelve horse-thieves judging me!”

Mark 15:1-20

I.    An Innocent Man 
    We take the right to a trial of our peers for granted. However, it is a very unique right in  comparison to the rest of the world.

    I heard about a few questions that were asked and answered in actual trials. 
    What is the date of your birth? July 15 What year? Every year.

    This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory? Yes. In what way? I forget. Can you
    give us an example of something that you’ve forgotten?

    How old is your son? The one living with you? I forget, either 35 or 38. How long has he     been living with you? 45 years

    What was the first thing your husband said to you when he woke up this morning?     Where am I Cathy? And why did that upset you? My name is Susan.

  •     Well, Jesus didn’t get a fair trial. His trial had both a Jewish phase and a Roman phase. Jesus was arrested in the Garden. The only Jews that could carry weapons were the Temple police, so these were the men who bound Jesus and led Him up the same steps He had earlier come down after the last supper.
  •     They carried Him to Caiaphas, the High Priest. This was like a police station, because there were barracks and prison cells there.
  •      It was after midnight, most likely Jesus was placed in a holding cell.
  •     Interestingly archaeologists have found the ruins of this very facility, and there is an ancient cistern where prisoners were placed. You can bet it was dark and lonely there.
  •     This was a kangaroo court from the very beginning. Word went out to 23 Sanhedrin’s that they were to conduct a trial for this rabble rouser. Now they were the very people calling for His death. So no opportunity for fairness there.
  •     Trial was at night. Illegal
  •     The Sanhedrin looked for false witnesses after the trial had started. All illegal
  •     It was illegal to announce a verdict the same day as a trial. 
  •     Illegal to have a capital case during a holiday. Was Passover. 
  •     The entire process was rigged against Jesus from the very beginning, the outcome was never in doubt.
  •     Then Jesus gets taken before Pilate. 
  •     Pilate asked Jesus Are you the king of the Jews? Jesus said, you said it. Then the Jews starting flinging all kinds of stuff against Jesus.  But Jesus stood there silent.
  •     Isaiah 53:7 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
  •     yet he opened not his mouth;
  • like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
  •     and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
  •     so he opened not his mouth.
  •     When Israel became a nation in 1948, one of the first cases filed before the Israeli Supreme Court was a petition for the retrial of Jesus Christ.
  •     The court said they no longer had jurisdiction over the matter so they did not take up the case. But hang on to that thought because we are going to try Jesus here today.

II.    Substitute: A Guilty Man 

Pilate really wanted to release Jesus. At Passover it was custom to release a prisoner. I mean Passover is about escaping judgment. 
Pilate asked if he could release Jesus as the pardon. But the crowd was stacked with religious leaders who expected this ploy to take place. They stirred up the mob by saying, tell him to release Barabbas, tell him to release Barabbas.

Now Barabbas was part of a coup against the Romans. And he was a murderer to boot. He was what we would call a terrorist. He deserved the cross. 
You know we don’t see any kids running around named Barabbas. Why? Because he was a murderer and a scoundrel who was wrongfully declared innocent so that Jesus would die on a cross meant for him.

But you know what, I AM Barabbas. I’m in the same sandals and so are you. We’re the guilty ones, but we get to go free while Jesus dies in our place.

Steve Tye has written a song called I am Barabbas, it says 
“A guilty man, a dissident; A murderer without repent; 
For all my heinous crimes I am condemned. No offering can pay my debt; No sacrifice or feigned regret; 
A hellish destination is my end. What Man would choose to take my place? I am Barabbas. 
I was destined for a tree. But I was pardoned by the God who died for me. For His blood was spilled upon my cross and bought my liberty. 
Now I live beneath the shadow of the cross.”

In the OT God gave us the 10 Commandments. No one has ever been able to keep them perfectly. We’re all guilty. 
Wait a minute, Barabbas was a murderer, I’ve never murdered anyone. In the Sermon on Mount Jesus said, “You’ve heard it said don’t murder, but I say if you’re angry enough to kill someone, you’re guilty of murder.”
Have you ever shot somebody a look that could kill? I have, you know what that makes me? I’m as guilty as Barabbas. Barabbas deserved death but Jesus became his substitute.
You know what that is. If we’re on the bench in a basketball game and the coach says, “hey, go in and take #12’s place.” We go in and he comes out. You became his substitute.
Well we deserve to suffer for our sins, but Jesus subbed in for us and now we’re on the bench of grace!
1 Peter 2:24  He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
What do you think happened to Barabbas? Do you think he ever told Jesus thank you? Did he follow Him to the cross and say that should have been me. 
Well I don’t know if Barabbas did that, but we can. We can look at the cross and say “Thank you! Thank you! Jesus, that should have been me.”

III.  Suffering: A Strong Man Shamefully Abused
Before Jesus ever went to the cross He endured a beating at the hands of the Romans. Usually a squad of 3 performed these beatings.
The prisoner would be stripped and tied to a whipping post. They whipped Him with a leather whip with 9 thongs with pieces of metal or stone embedded in each one of them. 

Dr. C. Truman Davis, a physician who has studied the medical aspects of the crucifixion
published this report about the flogging of Jesus: “The heavy whip is brought down with full force again and again across Jesus’ shoulders, back, and legs. At first the heavy thongs cut through the skin only. Then, as the blows continue, they cut deeper in the subcutaneous tissues, producing first an oozing of blood from the capillaries and veins of the skin, and finally spurting arterial bleeding from vessels in the underlying muscles… Finally the skin of the back is hanging in long ribbons and the entire area is an unrecognizable mass of torn, bleeding tissue.”
After this they put a purple robe on him and put a crown of thorns on Him, mashing them into His head.

Then they blindfolded Him and beat Him with clubs. This causes worse trauma when you are blindfolded because you can’t see it coming to brace yourself. It is likely that Jesus suffered severe disfigurement of His face and His eyes were swelled shut.

Isaiah 52:13-14 13 Behold, my servant shall act wisely;[a]
    he shall be high and lifted up,
    and shall be exalted.
14 As many were astonished at you—
    his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,
    and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—
Then He was lead to the cross.

IV. The Retrial of Jesus

You are all now members of the jury. Each one you must answer the question of Pontius Pilate. “When shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?” (matt 27:22)
There are really one 4 choices

Was He a liar?
If Jesus claimed to be God but knew that He wasn’t, that’s makes Him a horrible liar. Not just a liar, it makes Jesus evil because He claimed to tell people how to have forgiveness of sin and eternal life. He preached against hypocrisy and he taught honesty, His whole moral standard is based on kindness, unselfishness, and forgiveness. 
Plus if Jesus wanted to lie about being God to gain followers why didn’t He go to Greece or Egypt where they literally believed in hundreds of gods, why go to the Jews who only believed in one.
And liars lie because they want personal gain or to protect themselves from harm. Jesus didn’t own anything but the clothes on His back and He certainly didn’t escape harm.

Was He a lunatic? 
As far back as Aristotle scholars believed that staring at a full moon for too long would drive a person crazy. That’s where the word lunatic comes from.
So, was Jesus a nut? Most mental institutions have at least one person there who claims to be god. But Jesus didn’t show any of the abnormalities or inconsistency one would expect to find in an insane person. 
Clark H Pinnock asks “"Was He deluded about His greatness, a paranoid, an unintentional deceiver, a schizophrenic? Again, the skill and depth of His teachings support the case only for His total mental soundness. If only we were as sane as He!"

Was He a Legend? 
Richard Dawkins says in his book The God Delusion that the four gospel accounts have many discrepancies. However I would submit that is evidence of their truth! If there was a grand plot to create a myth, it would agree on virtually everything, furthermore there would likely be only one account.
Now suppose I gave 4 of you a pad and pencil and told you to come up here and draw a picture of me. None of them would be identical, but they would all be about the same person. Each one would have a slightly different perspective. 
Also, if the disciples got together to do this they sure did mess it up. What would be their motive? It would have to be greed or self-promotion, otherwise why do it? What happened to these men?
Peter and Paul were both killed in Rome about 66 AD. Paul beheaded and Peter crucified upside down.
Andrew went to what is now the Soviet Union, Turkey and Greece. He was crucified.
Thomas went to Syria, possibly to India as well. He was stabbed with the spears of 4 soliders at the same time. 
Philip went to northern Africa where he was executed.
Matthew went to Iran and Ethiopia where he was stabbed to death.
Bartholomew likely went to India with Thomas, then to Armenia, Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia where he was executed. 
James, son of Alpheus went to Syria where he was clubbed to death.
Simon the Zealot went to Iran where he was killed after refusing to worship the sun god.
Matthias went to Syria where he was burned to death.
John likely was the only one who died of old age. 
How did that work out for them?
CS Lewis said “"I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this [the Gospels]."

He is Lord.
The only other option is that He was who He claimed to be. He is the one and only Son of God who existed before Abraham was born. He claimed to forgive sins. 
Now you can hurt me and I can forgive you. But Jesus claimed to be able to forgive the sins of everyone whose ever stepped on anyone’s toes. That’s something that only God can do.

CS Lewis wrote “There’s a foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.” (Mere Christianity, p. 55)

Be careful how you answer though because Jesus said in John 8:24 something about people who didn’t believe His claims.

You see, one day the roles will be reversed, you and I will be on trial and He will be the judge. 

So then, how do you answer?