Wednesday, March 14, 2012

“Jesus before Annas and Caiaphas” 4th in sermon series Places of the Passion

S-1303 4MIL/3B 3/14/12 Hymns: (O) #518 vv. 1-4; (S) #156; (C) #518 vv. 6-7 TLH

Text: Psalm 27:1-10; Acts 4:1-12; Isaiah 60:1-3; John 18:12-24

Theme: “Jesus before Annas and Caiaphas” 4th in sermon series Places of the Passion

Question: “Have you ever stood a Trial” Armour, SD.

Faithful followers of the Savior, the text for the 4th Midweek in Lent is from the Gospel Lesson: So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and bound Him. First they led Him to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people(John 18:12-14).

(I am holding in my hand the Jerusalem Records and I begin to read) You just can’t miss the headline JESUS ARRESTED!!! DISCIPLES FLEE!! As I read this article it is clear that something BIG happened last night! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT! Jesus the Rabbi from Nazareth, arrested, chained and dragged to the High Priest Annas. Late last night, one of Jesus’ own followers Judas, led a band of soldiers and officers with torches, clubs and swords to the criminal’s hideout at the bottom of the slopes of the Mt. of Olives. The Rabbi was identified by a kiss from Judas. At the signal, the soldiers and officers grabbed Him, chained Him, and dragged Him the 2 miles walk in the dark to the house of Annas. This is big news. This Jesus is the real thing. And to have Him betrayed by one of His own is just unthinkable!

Here is what the article says...

“Late last night, under the cover of darkness the popular but controversial Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth was arrested by armed members of the High Priest’s Guard. They were led to the Garden of Gethsemane by one of Jesus’ own Disciples, Judas Iscariot. After the arrest Jesus was tried and convicted after much testimony that often seemed to contradict each other. Then, after the conviction, He is to be sent on to the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate to deal with Him as the High Counsel has asked—to crucify Him on a Roman cross until DEAD.

Following His arrest, the sinless Son of God was tried as a common criminal and sentenced to death. During the night and into the next morning a total of six trials were conducted—three by the Jews and three by the Romans. As we consider each of these horrendous trials, it will become quite clear who was really innocent and who was really guilty!” {End of article}

My beloved saints, isn’t it something, the very idea that Jesus “Our heavenly High Priest” (Rom. 8:34) tonight must go before Caiaphas an earthly “High Priest” How paradoxical this seems to us. Jesus is the Long expected King of king and Lord of lords. Yet, tonight with this fraudulent and false trial, He must stand with great humility and face an earthly ruler and be subjected to an undeserved punishment. How extreme an idea is this?

When we consider everything that led up to this point in Jesus’ life then perhaps this paradox can be better understood. This night of ever growing darkness found it’s beginning not in the heart of man—but in the heart of God from before the foundations of the world. Yes our Heavenly Father conceived in His Divine wisdom something quite unfathomable to our understanding. He knew that His perfect creation would fall (not-fail) in the Garden of Eden.

Dear brothers and sisters God could have created His beloved as robots and pawns. But where is the glory in that. Instead the Lord Almighty gave men a choice, “You are free to eat from any tree in the Garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die” (Gen. 2:17).

The Choice is clear. “Obey Him and live—disobey and die.” Die? Yes Die. Because when we disobey God we have placed something in our hearts that doesn’t belong. We have put ourselves above God. We have taken that which is holy, pure and lovely and replaced it with that which is unholy, impure and unlovely. By this act, we have placed something before God and when we do that we have cast aside the gift of another tree found in the Garden of Eden. “The Tree of LIFE.” (Gen. 2:9) The Tree of LIFE dear saints is none other than He who stands before Caiaphas this evening.

Yet, as much as the arrest and trials of Jesus were completely unjustified, it is clear that there was an even greater injustice that happened last night. It was not the Romans who perpetrated it. It wasn’t the turncoat Judas either. No, the greatest injustice last night was worked by Simon Peter himself. The great and bold spokesman spoke volumes last night. But what he said was not a confession of faith. No, his words were words of denial. Three times Peter denied Him. With each denial the force of the denial got louder and stronger.

And this denial did not go unnoticed. It was noticed by Jesus! Oh, if it wasn’t for that stupid rooster who crowed, Peter, may have not been awakened to the injustice at hand. But as the rooster crowed, Jesus’ eyes met Peter’s. When that happened, you could feel the emotions—like a river flowing from Peter’s heart to his eyes. When Jesus caught the eye of Peter when He is at His trial, the look was real. But what did that look, LOOK like? It was a mixture of Pity, sadness, hurt, disappointment. I could preach a sermon on all of these points. But tonight let us concentrate on that which is before us—Jesus before the High Priest. Our District President Rev. Dr. Sattgast has often shared with us at the BOD meeting a line he shared with his children: “IS IT WORTH IT?” I wonder if Peter would say that his efforts to stay out of trouble by denying Jesus was worth it? I wonder if Peter could take back those brave and bold words he spoke without thinking and realizing, is it worth it?

That night in the courtyard of the High Priest, that stupid rooster had to crow. Eye to Eye; we see the mirror of the soul. Jesus was the One person who could read body language better than anyone else. When He saw Peter, there was a double pain. Seeing Peter’s pain at the ghastly confession he had just made and Jesus suffering for Peter taking no pleasure in Peter’s pain. In that moment, you see deep love, deeper pain; and the deeper the pain, the deeper the LOVE.

The love that is so deep and so high is seen only in one place. The cross! Christ Jesus is the TREE OF LIFE, and ever since the fall of the first man, all other men have lost the ability to dine on Him. But there is hope, “God so loved the world that He gave His One and ONLY Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16).

In order that we may be restored to Gods original plan for us of living forever with Him—The Father sent His Son to this very moment in front of the earthly false High Priest Caiaphas to grant the Grace of our Lord even to Caiaphas. As Jesus is being interrogated by Caiaphas, one of the soldiers of the High Priest smack Jesus—the Real High Priest on the face. There He stands as He awaits the condemnation and the punishment that soon will be handed down—death that fallen man deserves. But they cannot condemn a perfect Man, so in order to do so they must bring false charges against Him. “This fellow said, ‘I Am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days’” (Mt.26:61).

The charge would claim that Jesus was talking about an earthly building-the man made temple in Jerusalem. When in truth, Jesus uttered this statement He was speaking of Himself the true temple of worship. This then is our Gospel for this evening and every day. Jesus was condemned on false charges—but His words ring true. The Jerusalem Record may speak of the botched up trial, the denial, the betrayal, and blatant abuse of injustice that condemned Him to death. But you dear saints take heart that your names are not written in the headlines of the Jerusalem Record, but IN the Lamb’s Book of Life. And on Easter Sunday the true temple and the Real High Priest, Jesus the Christ, was raised from the dead. He Has risen! He Has risen indeed! ALLUIEA! AMEN!

Now the peace…


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