Here is the Man! Rejected.

4th Wednesday in Lent

Here Is the Man!  Rejected.

Text: Mark 14:55-65

Bakhytzhan Kashkumbaev was released from prison on February 17 this year. The 67-year-old retired Presbyterian pastor had been in prison for nine months in Kazakhstan. He was originally arrested on charges of “intentionally inflicting serious harm to health.” Some of the main charges were brought by the family of a woman who was attending his church.  The family claimed that Kashkumbaev caused the woman to be mentally ill.

When the authorities originally raided his church in 2012 they confiscated materials, brochures, valuables, and even a certain red-colored communion drink they claimed had hallucinogens in it.  They accused the church of espionage, fraud, money laundering, and possession of extremist literature.  While in prison for those nine months Pastor Kashkumbaev experienced torturous conditions, including attempts to mentally break him and the denial of health care and medicine for his heart and circulation issues. It is disgusting to hear what people will say and do when they reject Jesus Christ.

Pastor Kashkumbaev’s story is similar to the stories of many early Christians in the Roman Empire.  They accused Christians of being in a secret cult or sect, of defiance to the emperor, and even of being cannibals (because of Christ’s body and blood in Communion). It was fun and sport to drag Christians out of their homes and throw them to the lions or the gladiators and watch them die in agony and pain.  It is disgusting to hear what people will say and do when they reject Jesus Christ.   

Both of these stories remind us of what we heard happened to Jesus at his trial.  There was nothing fair or right about their trial.  The Sanhedrin was the governing body of the Jews.  They had legitimate rule over spiritual matters.  But they were breaking every law they had on this night.

No trial was allowed unless there was an accusation made. Not only did they not have a legitimate accusation, but they also brought forward multiple false witnesses to give multiple false testimonies.  All trials needed to take place during the day and any trial involving a possible death sentence required two trials separated by one day for the sake of fairness and caution.  But this was a secret trial at night with a preplanned verdict and sentence.  Nothing about this trial was fair to Jesus.

Then there were the bold and brash words of the high priest Caiphas. He prodded at Jesus to respond, trying to catch him with one of the false accusations:  “Are you not going to answer?  What is this testimony that the men are bringing against you? When Jesus said nothing he went right to the heart of the matter (and their anger):  “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” When Jesus said he was the Christ, Caiphas tore his clothing in outrage and prompted the crowd to condemn him.

In addition to the injustice of the trial and Caiphas, there were the unthinkable actions of those at the trial.  They spit on Jesus.  They blindfolded him and hit him and taunted him saying, “Prophesy!” Then the guards took him and beat him some more.

The sad ironies of that trial are astounding.  These were the religious leaders of they Jews, yet they were acting like ruthless heathens.  They were having the trial to exact justice, yet they broke countless rules in how they had the trial.  Caiphas was the high priest of the Lord, yet he didn’t recognize the great High Priest Jesus Christ. These people had been waiting and waiting for a Messiah, yet they didn’t even realize that he was standing right in front of them.  Endless irony that is so sad and tragic.  Again it is disgusting to hear what people will say and do when they reject Jesus Christ.

The question we must ask then is, “Why?”  Why did they act like this?  Why were they so cruel?  Why were they so filled with hatred?  Why did they reject Jesus?

For the Jews there was a relatively simple answer to that question. They rejected Jesus because he wasn’t the Savior they wanted.  The miracles were nice.  The multiplying of loaves and fish was nice.  But they only wanted these kinds of things.  They wanted full tummies and full wallets.  They wanted a kingdom like the days of David and Solomon when money practically grew on trees and when they ruled the land and not the evil Romans. They wanted signs like those of Moses and Elijah.  They wanted riches, power, and glory.  They didn’t want what Jesus was offering.  So they rejected him.

If you think about it, this is why all unbelievers reject Jesus. He isn’t the Savior they want. Muslims want a Savior who is political and feeds their desire for conquering the world with their culture and beliefs.  Mohammed is perfect for that, not Jesus.

Mormons want a Savior who will give heaven only to those who follow Mormon ideals and beliefs.  They want a Savior who promotes wholesome families and clean living.  And they want a Savior who will reward them with heaven because their pure living earned it.

Far Eastern religions are similar.  They want a Savior who rewards good behavior.  They want a Savior that promotes a social caste system, and a system of rewards and punishment such as karma and reincarnation.  They want a Savior that they can become one with as gods themselves.  Buddha and Shiva and Vishnu are perfect for that, not Jesus.

We could keep going.  Homosexuals want a Savior that is only loving and that tolerates any kind of lifestyle. Hedonists want a Savior that has no rules, that allows any kind of worldly pleasure or indulgence. Heathens don’t want any Savior at all because they refuse to believe their beliefs of living would ever have any limitations.

So when all of these people find that Jesus is not what they want or are looking for, they reject him.

What do you want from Jesus?  That can be a scary question to ask because we can give all kinds of answers: I want Jesus to take away my pain. I want Jesus to make me financially secure.  I want Jesus to help me get a better job.  I want Jesus to take away my problems.  I want Jesus to help me enjoy retirement.  I want Jesus to fix America.

Many Christians become very frustrated with Jesus when they find that they believe and trust in him, yet he “doesn’t do anything” for them (or so they think).  When we become frustrated with Jesus’ will for our lives, then we might become angry with Jesus. And when we become angry with Jesus we don’t want anything to do with Jesus.  And if we become frustrated and angry with Jesus and don’t want anything to do with Jesus, then we might reject Jesus, too.  Satan wants nothing more than for us to walk down that road to rejection.

Rather than dwelling on what we want from Jesus, we need to center our hearts on what Jesus gives to us.  Caiphas and the Jews completely missed the boat at this trial on what really mattered. They were getting worked up about accusations of Jesus tearing down the temple, but they completely missed that Jesus meant his body would be destroyed but would rise on the third day. Caiaphas and the rest were incensed that Jesus claimed to be the Christ, but they completely missed that Jesus was sent from God and his answer of “I am” should have pointed them back to God’s name revealed to Moses and the Israelites.  They were spitting on him and beating him while Jesus said nothing and did nothing, yet they completely missed that Jesus was perfectly fulfilling prophecies from Isaiah about how the coming Messiah would suffer and die.

What gracious love of Jesus we see on this night.  This trial was a tragic travesty.  The Jews were being despicable.  Caiaphas was being ridiculous.  The hatred and rejection were incredulous. Yet Jesus humbly allowed this all to happen. He stood silently before his accusers. He suffered shameful, painful torture. All this as he marched one step closer to his death.

We must remember why anyone would ever endure such humiliating hatred and supreme suffering.  Jesus did all this so that he could pay for our sins.  He suffered and went to his death so he could be the sacrifice that atones for every sin of hatred, unbelief, and rejection.

That is the greatest and saddest irony of all at this trial on this night. Caiaphas and the Jews wanted so much from Jesus, but what they truly needed in life Jesus was offering them. They needed more than anything a Savior from their sin, and he was standing right in front of them.

Soon we will hear Pontius Pilate present Jesus and say Here is the Man! Tonight we see this man, our King, rejected by his own people in horrible acts of hatred.  Tonight we are also reminded how quickly a heart focused on this world can turn against Jesus and reject him.  Thus, our prayer this evening and each day is that God leads us to recognize Jesus as the one thing we truly need in life—our Savior from every sin.  Look closely once again this evening at Jesus.  Here is the Man! Rejected. He was rejected and sentenced to die on a cross where he would pay for our soon.  God grant us hearts that would never reject this, but only believe and accept it.

AMEN

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About Pastor Phil Huebner

Pastor. Missionary. Principal. Husband. Father. Serving in love as each. http://www.ctkpalmcoast.com

Posted on March 31, 2014, in Church, Sermons and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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