A Revelation of His Glory

Gospel of John #49: an exposition of John 18:28-19:16. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, January 29, 2012.

I don’t know why I did it.  It was a dumb thing to do.  It was in a weak, unthinking moment.  I actually said, “Oh go on Rheadon.  Why don’t you just get out of here?  I can handle things.  I’ll watch the baby.  I can handle it.”  She left and I said, “What do you want to do Zac?  Watch a little of the ball game – do some guy things?  It’s you and me pal.  Just the guys.”  I’m thinking how hard can this be?  He’s just a few weeks old; I’m a college graduate – a seminary man, no problem.  Things were going just fine and then all of a sudden – I noticed an odor.  What in the world?  Where is that coming from?  Suddenly I knew from whence cometh the smell.  Oh no!  I broke out in a cold sweat.  A crisis had arisen and I wasn’t sure I was up to the occasion.

Throughout the years various crises have arisen.  In each crisis I, as the husband and father, the rock, the stabilizing influence of the family, have proven my true character.  The rock of Gibraltar has consistently been reduced to a mound of Jell-O!  A crisis has a way of revealing our true nature.  In the midst of a crisis we find out what we are really made of.  We are exposed for what we are.  Not what we want to be.  Not what we want others to think we are – but what we in fact are.

Early in His ministry, the Lord Jesus angered the religious establishment.  It was clear He was not impressed by their ceremonial splendor or intimidated by their authority.  His teaching cut across the grain of their traditions.  The multitudes were flocking to Him and they saw their power base eroding.  It was in that house in Capernaum that we heard the first rumblings of the storm that would ultimately lead to Calvary.  The hour had come.  The moment set by the Father’s authority had now arrived.  God’s eternal plan of the ages was now unfolding.  The die had been cast.  Our Lord, knowing that He had already been betrayed, met with His disciples in that upper room to celebrate the Passover and to institute the new memorial meal.  He spoke with them about His coming death and His resurrection.  He told of the coming of the Holy Spirit.  He taught them about their need of abiding in Him.  He told them of the glorious place He was preparing for them and then He prayed for them.  He prayed for their protection and for unity.  Then they left the upper room, crossed the Kidron brook and into the Garden of Gethsemane.  Soon the quiet of the evening was shattered by the approaching, angry mob.  Temple police, Roman soldiers, and religious officials led by the betrayer approached Jesus and His frightened disciples.

Judas, the black-hearted disciple had sold the precious Lord of Glory for 30 pieces of silver.  The night would be a whirlwind of activity.  Shuttled from one place to another.  False accusations, lying witnesses and innumerable injustices would lead to the sentence of death.  There is that part of us that looks at the events of that evening and says, “Lord how could such a thing happen?  Where were you?  Why?”  But on the other hand we know that while each of those involved acted according to their own will, they were doing the bidding of the sovereign, eternal God.  The death of Jesus Christ was no accident.  It was the plan of the ages.  For He is, “The lamb slain before the foundation of the world.”

As we explore the events of that evening we learn a great deal about the character of those involved.  One thing is certain.  The character of the Lord Jesus stands in sharp contrast to those around Him.

Text: John 18:28-19:16

This is the most dramatic account of the trial of Jesus in the New Testament.  We are, in dealing with this section, on holy ground.  In the midst of all this uncertainty and confusion – the sovereign hand of the invisible God is very evident.  History was moving to a predetermined end.  I want to invite you to look closely at this section.  In particular I want you to contrast the Lord Jesus with the others mention in this text.  When you do, I am convinced that you will see that:

Thesis: The trial of Jesus serves to reveal His incomparable glory.

To read this section is almost laughable.

The very idea that these petty leaders thought that they were in control.

Look at John 18:12-13.

They “bound” Him?  They bound the eternal one?  The creator bound by His creation?  The one who spoke and the universe came into being.  The one who put the stars in place.  The one who spoke to the storm on the Sea of Galilee and said, “Hush, be still!”  This is the one they bound?  They did not bind Him.  Love bound Him.  Love for you.  Love for me.  Love for those for whom He came to redeem.  He gave himself.  He chose the way of the cross.

He was taken first to Annas the former High Priest who was the power behind the scene.  He had served as High Priest from 6 – 15 A.D. before being removed from office by the Romans.  Four of his sons and his son-in-law Caiaphas all served as High Priest.  Annas was a corrupt man who made his fortune through corruption and graft in the Temple.  In fact the shops in the Temple where you could buy sacrificial animals were called the Bazaars of Annas.  The Jews themselves hated the household of Annas.  There is a passage in the Talmud that says:  “Woe to the house of Annas!  Woe to their serpent’s hiss!”  This is the man they brought Jesus to.  Annas served as Jesus’ first questioner.  Jesus showed nothing but contempt for Annas.

From there it was on to Caiaphas then to Pilate to Herod and then back to Pilate.

As we explore this passage I ask you to look first at the Jews.

  1. The Jews: the face of intense hatred and hostility.
  2. Pilate: the face of cowardice and compromise.
  3. Jesus: the face of sovereign authority.

This is our King.  This is the savior, the Son of God.  His kingdom is not of this world.  He came to reveal the truth and those who love truth come to Him.  He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.  He is the great High Priest who willingly gave His life.  He chose the way of the cross.  He chose to give His life for His sheep, those, who believe, who trust in Him.

The trails serve to reveal His incomparable glory.

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