In The Courtroom with Jesus
John 18:25-40

Jesus, the holy one dies as the condemned one. He who breathed as the guiltless dies as the guilty. Yet this very fact, as strange as that might seem, is fundamental to God’s purpose in the death of Jesus.

Three times publicly and emphatically Peter had said it ‘I am not with Jesus, I do not know this man.’ How many of us live with a continual sense of failure, because of our inability or unwillingness to stand clearly for Christ in our public lives. Instead like Peter, we find ourselves drawn, step-by-step into an even deeper compromise until our lives are a continuous denial.

Here we find a contrast Jesus stands up to His questioners and denies nothing whereas Peter cowers before his accusers and denies everything.

Having got to this point that the high priest now stands in the presence of the Messiah whom God has finally sent. The one they have been looking for but instead of falling before Him in His presence in adoring acknowledgement and worship. They instead use every trick in the book to have Him condemned to death.

v.31 Pilate says you take Him and judge Him yourselves but look at their response. ‘It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.’ They were prejudice, they had pre-judged Jesus. Have we prejudged Jesus? Do you think you know what His message is, do we think you know who He is? Do we think you know the implications of following Him? Are those prejudices or even misconceptions keeping us from coming to Him?

In order to remain ritually clean, the Jewish leaders will not enter Pilate’s house to speak with him. To enter a gentile home would have meant defilement and would have excluded them from participating in the Passover celebrations. There is an irony as they seek cleansing before God, while plotting and scheming the destruction of God’s, beloved son. In the eagerness to eat the Passover lamb, they help to fulfil its significance by demanding the death of the Lamb of God and at the same time excluding themselves of the saving work of Jesus.

The same thing happens, whenever people depend upon a fulfilment of rituals, observances, and religious routine to cleanse their consciences before God. No ritual Christian or otherwise can cleanse the heart. Jesus alone is the way to God.

Empty, ritual whatever shape it takes, whether it’s receiving baptism (in whatever form), taking communion (in whatever church), attending worship (with whatever regularity), offering prayers (of whatever length), giving money (of whatever amount) these things in themselves do not have, will not and cannot save us from our sins and the evitable judgement of God. Religion cannot achieve redemption. Ceremonies cannot save.

John 18:36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

Often in the N.T. the word ‘world’ Gk Kosmos describes a world system alienated from and opposed to God within in the power of the evil one.

Daniel 2:44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,

Daniel 7:14 And to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him; His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away,
and His kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

v.36 Jesus, divorcing the origin of his kingdom from this world, should not be taken as implying that the kingdom of Christ has no political concerns or that its righteousness is not to be applied in the political arena.

v.38 What is truth? This is truth 1 Peter 2:22-24 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in His mouth. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. 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 is also true, is that the darkness just like Jesus in this moment may encompass us, dreams remain unfulfilled, sorrow or tragedy strike, prayers continue to seemingly be unanswered, weaknesses and sickness linger but the light of God’s truth, still shines in the darkness until the day breaks and the shadows fall away.

There is a decision to be made ‘Who shall we make king? and they choose Barabbas because he represents an alternative to fulfilling worldly dreams and ambitions. The gratification of human lusts and desires. Jesus still stands before us, offering his way of truth, and knowledge of the father, which beginning in the valley of confession, and repentance leads forward along the pathway of daily surrender to him as Lord.

On the surface, less attractive, however, that choice frees us who make it, to serve him in the world. He carries us at the last beyond the passing shadows of the earthly into the enduring order of the kingdom, which will have no end. Who is our king, Jesus, all Barabbas, the world still chooses and so must we al