Walk with Jesus: Convicted for the Truth
Walk with Jesus: Convicted for the Truth
Text: Luke 22:66-71
The rooster had just crowed. Peter’s cheeks were newly soaked from his sobbing over sin. As the sun slowly rose over the horizon, the new Friday morning light revealed a face that was left puffy and purple from punches. The guards had their fun humiliating and hurting Jesus, but that was only the beginning of a treacherous day of torture.
But for now, the pain was paused. “At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them.” This rude rabble gathered was the Sanhedrin. The Sanhedrin had 71 members consisting of elders, priests, and teachers (Pharisees). The high priest was president and leader of the group. This Sanhedrin had absolute power and authority when it came to religious matters in Israel. Now, Jesus stood before them—he the accused, they the jurors.
These Jews had been patiently waiting for the Meshiach, the Messiah, for ages. The Lord promised to send his chosen and anointed one, and that was whom they still waited for. At the same time, they knew the claims that this Jesus had been making. They knew the miraculous signs and wonders Jesus had performed. They knew that John the Baptist had proclaimed him to be the One. They knew that most people seemed to think he was the One. Thus, it became question number one at the trial: “If you are the Christ, tell us.”
Jesus gave a response, but only indirectly answered the question. “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer.” Essentially that was a “Yes” answer, but Jesus said it in order to point out the doubt and lack of faith of these Jews. If he had said, “No, I am not the Christ,” they wouldn’t have believed him because they were already convinced that he was wrongfully claiming to be the Christ. Even if Jesus denied being the Christ, these Jews had built up enough hatred to accuse him of doing so anyways.
But if Jesus plainly said, “Yes, I am the Christ,” they wouldn’t have believed that either because they surely did not believe him to be the promised Messiah they were waiting for. Jesus’ response shows that he knows even the dark recesses of unbelieving hearts!
Knowing that they wouldn’t believe he was the promised Christ, Jesus identifies himself with a different name. “But from now on, the son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” Jesus often called himself the Son of Man—he says it 25 times in this gospel of Luke alone. That name for himself stresses his humanity—that this was true man, a son of man, standing before them. But this statement was saying so much more! “But from now on, the son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” It’s as if he was saying, “From this point on true man will be seated with the true God and have all divine power.”
The Sanhedrin got where he was going with that. Thus, question number two at the trial: “Are you then the Son of God?” They knew well that Jesus had alluded to such in the past. He had said things like, “I and the Father are one,” and “Before Abraham was born, I am.” But now they got right down to the point and asked him directly if in fact he was claiming to be God.
This time Jesus didn’t answer with complex divine wisdom. He didn’t change subjects and shift attention. He answered simply and directly. He told them the truth: “You are right in saying I am.”
It was one more testimony to the truth. Jesus had taught with more authority as a 12-year-old than all the teachers in the temple. He did the miraculous. He healed. He cast out demons. He raised the dead. He taught about the kingdom of God. He spoke in plain words and he spoke in parables. Everything Jesus had done in life testified to this one truth—Jesus is the Son of God and the promised Messiah. Yet these Jews didn’t believe it.
His life’s testimony was overwhelming. His verbal testimony was clear and simple. But they had hardened their hearts. This simple statement only set them over the edge further. To them, this was the greatest of sins. This was blasphemy. The Jews held God in such high esteem—almost superstitiously—that they were afraid to even say his name YAHWEH, the LORD. For someone to claim to be God then was the most vile of all sins. So the high priest tore his clothes in outrage. They struck him. They beat him. This was enough. He must now die, they decided.
What kind of a person could be so callous? What kind of a person could be so blind? What kind of a heart could be so hardened that the clear and simple truth would be denied? Who could be like that?
I could. I have. I am.
I have never hit the Christ. I have never purposefully mocked the Christ to his face. I have never cried out for the Christ to be crucified. Yet the root sins in the hearts of those Jews are the same sins that I commit.
Why didn’t they believe the truth that Jesus was the Meshiach, the Messiah promised long before? He wasn’t the kind of Messiah that they wanted.
Over the years they twisted the notion of a Messiah into someone that was going to save them politically or physically. They had been oppressed by the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, and now the Romans. They wanted a Messiah who would come and restore power to the land. They wanted a Messiah who would have a vast empire of wealth and power like David or Solomon. They wanted Mercedes chariots parked in their garages and Dolce and Gabanna tunics on their backs and Apple Watches on their wrists. They had enough of suffering and slavery and manna in their past. They didn’t believe Jesus was the Messiah because he wasn’t the kind of Messiah they wanted.
Don’t we do that too? The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. But why can’t the fruits of the Spirit be power, wealth, fame, glory, honor, respect, and luxury? When will Jesus come to deliver me from this dismal life? When will the Messiah show his power and finally destroy all these terrorists? Did you see Isis might be in America now? When will the Messiah allow me to live comfortably and not worry about money so much? Maybe I would be a more faithful Christian if I didn’t have to work all the time or worry about money. When will I finally stop suffering?
It’s the same despicable sin that was deep in the heart of the Jews—wanting Jesus for earthly good and not spiritual good. Wanting a different kind of Jesus leads us to doubt Jesus and deny the truth about who Jesus is and what he came to do.
How thankful that Jesus knew the truth and would not back down from the truth. He is the Truth. He stood for the truth. And eventually, he was Convicted for the Truth.
It is shamefully wrong that Jesus was convicted, but it certainly was part of God’s plan. God knew in advance what these hardened Jews would do, and he used their sinfulness to accomplish his plan to save sinners. They wanted Jesus dead, but even though they didn’t understand it that’s exactly what sinners needed. We needed the Messiah to die for our sins.
He is our perfect Savior. As true man, the Son of Man, he is a human who came for humans. As a human he was subjected to God’s laws like us and he was able to die like us. But as true God Jesus was able to do what we humans could not. He obeyed all of God’s laws. He died one time for all people to pay for all sin. True God and true man in one person. That makes him the Messiah. That makes him our Savior. That is the truth.
Our Walk with Jesus continues this evening. We’re getting closer. Calvary and the cross are coming nearer each week. Each week we continue to gasp with awe at the atrocities. The Son of God arrested! The Son of God Convicted for the Truth! The Son of God suffering! We can hardly take the horror of it!
And yet, we can hardly be more thankful. God had kept his promises. God had spoken the truth. He sent a Messiah. He sent a Savior. He sent his own Son. And He sent him for me.
It was the truth that Jesus was convicted for, but it was that same truth that brought us forgiveness and salvation. As you continue to Walk with Jesus, give thanks for the truth and believe the truth.
Posted on March 13, 2015, in Church, Sermons and tagged Church, Convicted, Good Friday, High Priest, Jesus, Luke, Luke 22, Messiah, Peter, Sanhedrin, Sermons, Son of Man, Trial, Truth. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.