Randall Caselman

Bella Vista Church of Christ

10/01/2017A.M.

We’re All Standing In Pilate’s Hall

“WHAT WILL our Answer Be?”

Selected  Scriptures From The Death of Jesus

There’s no doubt that... For us here this morning... The greatest event in human history was the death and resurrection of Jesus.

His death and resurrection touches the life of every man, woman and child to ever live.

The blood of the cross flows back through time to Adam, forgiving the sins, scripture says, making just men perfect.

And the blood of Jesus flows past us this morning, cleansing all our sins, if we are willing to walk in its life giving flow.

What I want to do with the lesson is relive this crucifixion narrative by looking at the participants in this drama... As we do... I want us to find ourselves.

Which one of the participants listed here are we the most like?

You see... The way we... think... act...and react... To the death and resurrection of Jesus... Can be found in one of these twelve people... Are you ready?

Are we Judas?

Go with me to a winding path that leads from the temple mound to Gethsemane.

It crosses a deep gorge called the Kidron Valley.

As we round a sharp turn, we see a rope dangling from a tree... Below, on the rocks is the body of Judas.

He hanged himself... Conscience came home... And it was too much to handle.

The sin of betraying the Son of God was just too much for Judas to bear... So he wasted his life.

Instead of repenting... Turning his life around... He threw it away.

When conscience comes home and we see ourselves as we really are... As sinners in need of repentance... What will we do with Jesus?

Will we step into the life giving flow from the cross?... Or will we waste life... By committing spiritual suicide?... What will we do with our sins this morning?

• Deny them?

• Hide them?

• Cover them up?

• Run from them... Move out of town?

• Blame them on somebody else?... Jeff will talk more about this tonight…

Or will we bring them to the cross... Place them under the blood of Jesus?... What will our answer be?

There’s Peter...

A big man... A strong man... They call him Peter... The Rock... The Mountain...Semper-Fi... Always faithful Peter!

But today he is a wimp... He shivers in the shadows... He’s the one who said...Lord...

• I’ll go with you wherever you go! 

• I’ll never leave you.

• I’ll never deny you.

• They can’t separate us, Jesus... I’ll go with you all the way...

• Jesus I’ll always have your back.

But when the time came for... Genuine faithfulness... Truth... Integrity... Peter gave in to the favor of the crowd.

It wasn’t to some burly soldier who said... Deny Him or die!

Peter gave in to the pointing finger of a teenage slave girl, a house maid... He denied Jesus because of his own pride.

Question...What will we do the next time we have an opportunity to be an example for Jesus... To stand up for Him?... Publicly acknowledge Him?

We say... I’ll never deny Jesus... OH?... OH!

What will we do when we sing this invitation song?

What will we do the next time we have an opportunity to witness for him?

Tell others about the cross and the Christ who died there?

What will we do the next time we have an opportunity to serve Him by serving others...

Perhaps at... Highland Health...Concordia... At Mercy or Northwest Hospitals?

I’m like Peter... I take pride in my Christian heritage... In faithfulness... My doctrinal soundness... But then I’m ashamed when I deny Him so easy...

• Out of my own selfishness...

• My own pride... My own personal preference.

You see church... Confessing Jesus... Serving Jesus... Faithfulness to Him... Takes a certain amount of social risk... Are we willing?... Are we?... Really??

Two men... Annas & CAIAPHAS...Are having coffee and the news comes...

“It is over... It’s finished!... Jesus is dead!”

They look at one another with a sigh of relief... Finally, finally, after three years of... Planning... Scheming... Laying traps...Political Maneuvering... It’s finally paid off... Jesus is out of our way!

The problem with Annas and Caiaphas was that they placed their own ambitions before the Christ... Career...getting ahead... political clout... position...PRESTIGE.

You see... Making money... Maintaining their political post... Maintaining a lifestyle... Pride... Was more important to them than Jesus... In fact, Jesus got in their way.

Be honest now.... Can we find some of self in Annas and Caiaphas?...

It was this same Jesus who said...

Seek you first the kingdom of God.

Love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul.

Place me before all others... Family...Lands... Possessions.

Unless you love me more than these, you cannot be my disciple.

You see... We become like Annas and Caiaphas when we place things before Jesus.

Well, it is just a stone’s throw from their house to Pilate’s place.

Perhaps you can see him now on his balcony... He’s looking at three crosses in the distance... Pacing... Pacing... Pacing... If we look closely… We can see beads of sweat on his brow...

What was different about this execution?

Why the warning from his wife?

He looks at his hands... Why do they still feel wet?... Why do they ache?

He turns to the house boy... “Take that wash basin away... I don’t want to see it any more.... No...No... Leave the towel... I need to dry my hands again... I don’t know whythey’re so sticky.”

Like Lady Macbeth... His conscience had grown fingers.

Pilate’s mistake was trying to remain neutral about Jesus.

But he couldn’t and neither can we... Neutrality is not an option with Jesus.

To attempt to remain neutral is to crucify him again.

The Hebrews writer says we crucify him afresh... Put Him to open shame every time we fall away and fail to repent.

Here it is folk... Scriptures teaches us we will either have His blood on our hands in guilt or we’ll have it sprinkled on our hearts in life-giving forgiveness...Which will it be?...Let us draw near with a true heart... In full assurance of faith... Having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.

Every time an invitation song is sung and we need to make some changes in our life... And don’T... We crucify Jesus again... We trample underfoot the blood of the covenant whereby we have been purchased and count the blood of Jesus as nothing.

What will we do with Jesus... We cannot remain neutral!

Barabbas can’t believe his good fortune!

He’s standing in the cell looking toward three crosses on the hill... One of them is for him.

Perhaps he’s thinking... If I had it to do over... What would I do differently...Perhaps he’s thinking of family.

Then he hears the crowd call his name... Give us Barabbas... Give us Barabbas...

And the next words he hears chill his soul... Crucify Him... Crucify Him.

The jailor opens the door... Barabbas slumps to the floor... It’s over... Life is over!... What regret!

And the jailor says... Barabbas... You’re free... Be gone... Free... What do you mean free?

That man called Jesus is dying in your stead.

Barabbas must be thinking... How could I be so lucky... To be set free.

How could I be so fortunate that where I should have died this Jesus died for me?

I wonder what kind of Bible student Barabbas was?... I wonder if he recalled Isaiah 53?... He has borneour griefs, carried our sorrows, suffered our pain... He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities... By His wounds we are healed. He bore the sins of many.

Question!!... Have we... Like Barabbas... Been set free through the blood of the suffering savior?

Scripture tells us that... In Him we have redemption... Even the forgiveness of our sins... In accordance with the riches of His grace

When the Son sets you free… you are free indeed.

Indeed... and what a freedom it is!!

Question... Are you enjoying this freedom... Really?

Well...There’s the two thieves...

Satan never quits... He never gives up... He’ll use.. Any heart... Any Mouth... Any hands...Anyone that will yield to him.

One thief gives in to Satan... In arrogance he says… Save yourself and us... If you be the Christ... If you are the Messiah.

From the other cross... The voice of a broken contrite heart... Jesus, remember me when youcome into your kingdom.

Sweet music to his ears... Today you will be with me in paradise!

Two crosses... Representing two attitudes toward Jesus and His death on our behalf...

• One of arrogance and indifference...

• One of humility and submission.

Which pictures are us?... Are we arrogantly trampling underfoot the Son of God by our lack of obedience?… Or are we with a contrite heart calling upon Him for forgiveness and salvation?

Basically the solders ignored the death of Jesus… They were indifferent.

Some are indifferent today... Ignoring Jesus for...

• A round of golf...

• A trip to the lake...

• A flight to Las Vegas...

• A walk thru the mall...

• Fun with visiting family or friends... Or... Perhaps just to sleep in.

All the while... Jesus hangs on the cross... dying for us.

Remember the cartoon in the New Yorker several years ago... Picturing Jesus on the cross... He’s saying... If I’m OK... And You’re Ok... Then why am I up here.

 Remember The Priest... Poet... Chaplain...In WWI… G. A. Studdert Kennedy... Wrote the poem titled INDIFFERENCE...

When Jesus came to Golgotha,

They hanged Him on a tree.

They drove great nails through hand and feet,

And made a Calvary.

 

Theycrowned Him with a crown of thorns,

Red were his wounds and deep.

For those were crude and cruel days,

And human flesh was cheap.

When Jesus came to Bella Vista

We simply passed Him by.

We never hurt a hair of Him,

We only let Him die.

For men and women had grown more tender,

And we would not give Him pain.

We only just passed down the street

And left Him in the rain.

Still Jesus cried, forgive them,

They know not what they do.

And still it rained the winter rain

And drenched Him through and through.

The crowds went home in Bella Vista

And left the church without a soul to see,

And Jesus crouched against the church house wall

And cried... GIVE ME CALVARY.

God...Help us never to be arrogant or indifferent... Amen?

Then there’s the crowd.

You said you could destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days. If you be the Son of God... Come down from the cross and we’ll believe you... Well, I guess not.

Some of us who have prayed...

• Lord...Help me...

• Do this or that for me...

• Deliver me from this illness...

• Heal my broken marriage

• Deliver me from this bankruptcy...

And I’ll believe in You... Obey You... Be faithful to You... and He didn’t respond as we wanted... So we gave up on Him and his death on our behalf.

Aren’t we glad Jesus didn’t come down from the cross that day?... But died there for our sins... Making our salvation possible?

Praise God that He acts in a way that is best for us... Working all things out to our benefit... Rather than giving us what we want when we want it.

There’s John... The disciple Jesus could trust.

As far as we can determine... John was the only Apostle openly standing near the cross.

John...“Will you take my mother... Care for her... Treat her as you would your own mom.”

Yes...Yes... Yes... If I had been there I would’ve been like John... I would’ve taken Jesus’ mother... I would have been John in this narrative.... OH!... OH!... Are we sure?...

• Suffer the little children to come unto Me... For such is the kingdom of heaven...

• Theworld shall know that you are my disciple when you love your brother....

• Submit to one another...

• Place the interest of others before self....

• Carry one another’s burdens...

• Treat others as you would have them treat you...

• Pure religion... Religion that God accepts... Is caring for the widows and orphans...

• Forgive others as God has forgiven you...

• As often as you do it unto the least of these, you do it unto Me.

Here it is church... Jesus’ mother represents the one we have opportunity to serve today.

Mary lingers on after the others have gone.

Here are some Sobering Questions...

• In our busy day... Do we take any quiet time… Any QuiEt time… To linger at the cross?

• When we come to worship... Do we linger with Jesus... Or are we in a hurry to get out?

• Around the Lord’s Supper... Do we linger or survey the crowd and whisper to our neighbor?

• When we sing and listen to the Word preached... Do we linger?... Or does our mind wander?

God help me to be more like Mary... Amen?

While Mary lingers... The Disciples are Hiding in the shadows.

They appear to be... fair weather friends... Sunshine disciples.

They followed Him while he fed the thousands.

Stood by Him as He calmed the seas.

Marched proudly through the streets at the triumphant entry.

Boasted of their discipleship as they returned from the Mount of Transfiguration.

Acknowledged Him as He... Raised the dead... Healed the sick... Cast out devils.

But now... Hiding in the shadows... Watching from a distance.

Church...Real Discipleship... Genuine faith... True Christianity... Is seen... NOT in the sunshine... But in the storms of Life.

When life tumbles in... When the sky turns dark... Where are we in relationship to the cross?

Is Jesus still our friend and savoir?

One more... The centurion.

He doesn’t know what to think.

He’snever seen a crucifixion like this.

You see... He’s standing close enough to hear Jesus say...

Forgive them they know not what they do.

• Today you will be with me in paradise.

• Father into Thy hands I commit my spirit.

This closeness causes him to exclaim...

• Surely this was a righteous man.

• Surely this was the Son of God.

The centurion was AWESTRUCK with Jesus.

• Are we awestruck with Jesus and the cross?

• Are we touched by His death?

• Do we believe in His resurrection?

Or... Are we so accustomed to these events that we just take them for granted?

Ho Hum... Another Sunday... Another Bible class... Another sermon.

By-the-way...What time is it!

Just where are we in this narrative??

Well... What would you expect when the God of all creation died upon a cross?

I would expect the world to end but it didn’t...

The sun did stop shining.

The earth quaked for a few moments...

• The curtain of the Temple was torn top-to-bottom...

But life went on!

• Love goes on.

• Laughter goes on

• Even Mary goes on

• The disciples go on

• Pilate washes His hands one more time and goes on.

Listen to me church... After this sermon... Life goes on for all of us... But will the death of Jesus on the cross make any significant difference in the way we live?...I pray it will.

It did for some of those there that day... They became changed men and women... Through faith in Jesus.

Question... Will His death change my life and yours?... Will it?... Really?

What willWE do with Jesus... As we stand and sing.