Waynedale United Methodist Church
Thursday, April 19, 2018
Making Disciples of Jesus for the Transformation of the World!
   

March 18, 2018 Sermon

“The Arrest, Trial and Crucifixion of the King”
John 18:12 – 17, 19:1 – 7, 17 – 22
Ted Jansen March 18, 2018 Waynedale UMC
 

1.)        John wants to portray that Jesus is divine, the Word that was with God and the Word that was God in his Gospel. We understand that John doesn’t give lots of details in his book but paints the big pictures. John comes to the last day of Jesus’ life and shows us a King. Not just any King, but the King of Kings. We have to grasp this truth tightly as it clashes with our human understanding of what a King should be like. The Kingdom of God is revealed in powerful ways through the life of Jesus, the King, in the last hours of Jesus’ journey on earth.    

            When you think of a human King what comes to your mind? Perhaps what comes to your mind is wealth, castles, material possessions, lots of people surrounding you, strength, power, prestige, royalty, might, and influence. In 2018 we have kings who rule over countries and people today. Royalty is different in each culture that it is lived in.     

            What kind of Kingdom is the Kingdom of God, and what type of King will Jesus be? As we look at the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus, the King, we are moved and maybe even puzzled by what we discover.  

       

2.)        Let’s read some verses from John 18:1 – 6 as we explore the arrest of Jesus.   

            “When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it. Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.  So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.

            Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

“Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

“I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

    

3.)        As we think of Jesus as a King let us see how John describes the arrest of the King.  

            *A detachment of soldiers was 300 – 600 men. John tells us that they came with the officials of the chief priests and the Pharisees. They had torches, lanterns and weapons.  

            Do you get the picture that John is portraying? This is a scene of strength and power and might and intimidation. The Jewish officials wanted hundreds of soldiers to come out and arrest Jesus. It was a show of brute force and strength.      

            *Jesus, as the soldiers and officials came to him, went straight to them. He faced this group of men and soldiers. Jesus headed straight into the power, strength and might of this moment. He was not scared. This was a show of the Kingdoms. The Kingdom of men and the Kingdom of God. Jesus did not shrink back or was afraid, though the sight of hundreds of soldiers would cause some feelings inside of anyone. 

            *Jesus took the lead and asked them who is it that you want? Then they replied that they were looking for Jesus of Nazareth.  

            *Jesus responded to the officials and soldiers by saying, “I AM he!” Jesus used the phrase, I AM. We see in John in prior verses that Jesus used this divine term to describe Himself. We know that the phrase, I AM, represents the divine, the all-encompassing God.  God used I AM to describe Godself in the Old Testament to Moses. I AM means the essence of God, the divine, the powerful, the all present, the King.   I love what happened next.   

 

*When Jesus spoke to them, I AM, John tells us that all the people drew back and fell to the ground. All six hundred strong, mighty, armored, and carrying weapons fell to the ground when Jesus, the King, spoke, I AM. Do you see this in your mind? Jesus speaks and the divine power of God moves earthly power and strength. All fall down, become weak and stumble. The very word of Jesus the King is no match for the 600 soldiers and officials.  

            *After they get up Jesus allows the soldiers to take His life and lead Him away. 

 

4.)        After Jesus is arrested we understand that He has several encounters with the Jewish leaders and the Roman leaders. Here are some verses from John 18:12 – 14. 

            Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year.  Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jewish leaders that it would be good if one man died for the people.

            *We see in this verse and in two other verses in Matthew that Jesus was condemned as guilty by the Jewish leaders. They wanted Him to die.   The trial was not according to their law. 

 

5.)        We read from John 18:33 – 38 about the trial of Jesus from the Roman perspective.    

             Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

“Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”

“Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”

 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

“What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.

            *We discover that there are two other times (John 19:4, 12) that Pilate founds Jesus not guilty and wants to set Him free. There are conflicted verdicts here.  

            *Yet, Jesus as King allows His life to be unjustly tried because He is giving His life away. The King allows His life to be accused and even though Pilate tries to free Him, the people want Jesus crucified, even allowing Barabas, who had committed murder to be released back to society.   

 

6.)        As we approach the death of Jesus on the cross we read John 19:19 – 22.             

            “Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews.  Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek.  The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

             Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

            *Pilate communicates that Jesus is a King, the King of the Jews. Pilate, who was a powerful man, the ruling authority in that region, was used by God to communicate this truth. The chief priests did not want that message on the cross, but they could not take it down.     

 

*John tells us that three languages, Aramaic, Latin and Greek were used to tell all those who were watching that Jesus was the King. These languages were the most common of the people that day, they represented the world.      

            *The cross on which Jesus was crucified revealed King Jesus in all of His glory. The glory on the cross was not what you would expect at all. You see the Romans had used crucifixion for over 500 years and it was only used for slaves. Ordinary citizens were not crucified. There were other methods for carrying out the death penalty for them. Death on a cross was the lowest form of cruelty for the lowest of society.     

            *The crucifixion was held outside of the city, at the garbage dump. It was a foul, dirty, messy and disgusting place to go, to begin with. When you would crucify your lowest class humans in your society you just wanted to get the job done. 

*We understand that because of the harsh nature of what happens to the body in crucifixion death could take hours, but often would take days. A person could hang on the cross for a long time. Death would come about because of failure to the heart, not enough breath for lungs, the nerves would be in intense pain and muscles would spasm. It was a horrendous death.  

*Yet, the King of Kings was willing to be humiliated, tried unjustly and killed on a cross. This was to show the glory of God in the life of Jesus, the King.       

           

7.)        The King of Kings gave His life. That was His mission, His purpose, His Father’s will. John tells us that we need to believe the life of Jesus and understand that we are the object of His love, the love of the Father, the love of the Son, and the love of the Holy Spirit. 

John 3:16 tells us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, and that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” 

            The cross was the place a King gave His life for us. Yet, the cross confronts us. Why would a divine King love us, be obedient to His Father, stay committed to the mission of the Kingdom and die on a cross. Wasn’t there another way? Yes, somehow Jesus ruled from the cross. We have to see the cross and our King.      

 

8.)        Adam Hamilton wrote these words in “John, The Gospel of Light and Life,” page 133. 

“The way we see the cross of Christ changes, like a kaleidoscope, at different times in our lives and affects us differently. At times his death is primarily about our need for forgiveness and his willingness to purify us. At other times the cross will convey God’s power to liberate us from what enslaves us emotionally or spiritually. At still other times the cross become a reminder of the selfless love of our King, who laid down his life for his people.”    

 

9.)        What do you see when you see the cross of Jesus Christ? Today, we are followers of a crucified King. We cannot follow Christ without going to and through the cross. 

            The Christian faith, with Jesus as our King does not allow us to go around the cross, or above the cross, or under the cross. We might not want to understand what our King did and what our King calls us to. 

            Each of us have to go to the cross and through the cross.   This is hard and humbling. We have to go to the cross and stand there and understand that the King of the Universe died.  

We have to go through the cross and bow down and yield our spirit and trust our King. We need forgiveness, hope, grace, strength, comfort and power and it comes through the cross. 

We are called to lay down our life for others, to serve and sacrifice for others. 

Yet, when we go to the cross and through the cross we have joy in the Kingdom of God that we cannot explain. We are free and we serve a wonderful King who gives us life.