Wrong Reactions to Jesus Christ (Mark 15:1-15) Part 1

Monday, March 23rd, 2015
Sermon Series: Led to the Cross, Mark

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Wrong Reactions to Jesus Christ

Damning reactions to Christ manifested during His unjust trials

from the gospel of Mark 15:1 to 15, part 1

 Did you know these important realities? Did you know, the average person falls asleep in seven minutes. Your stomach has to produce a new layer of mucus every two weeks, otherwise it will digest itself. “Stewardesses” is the longest word that’s typed with only the left hand. To escape the grip of a crocodile’s jaws, push your thumbs into its eyeballs–it will let you go instantly. Reindeer like to eat bananas.

If a cat falls off the seventh floor of a building, it has about 30% less chance of surviving than a cat that falls off the twentieth floor. It takes about eight floors for the cat to realize what’s happening, then relax and correct itself. That is one of the reasons I always try to stay on the lower five floors.

No word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, or purple. Mel Blanc (who was the voice of Bugs Bunny) was allergic to carrots. More people are killed annually by donkeys, than die in air crashes. Interesting facts, but in truth they make no difference at all, except if you’re grabbed by a crocodile, or have to feed a reindeer. But your reaction to those facts makes no difference–your response to those realities is inconsequential.

But that is not true with other realities. When the IRS contacts you personally, you should reply. When your toddler tries to drink Drano, you should stop them. When your doctor says you have Ebola, you should listen to him. Those are important life issues. But this morning, I want to affirm there’re more important truths than those–there are truths more important than life itself.

When you stand by the casket of a relative or friend, you know there are more important truths than even life itself. If there’s life after death, if there is a judgment (and we all intrinsically know there is), if there is a Heaven and Hell, then we’d better make certain we can pass judgment and spend eternity in Heaven.

Too many of us have heard, “They’re in a better place,” and we know it’s not true. They are not in a better place because they were not right with Christ. Jesus claimed exclusivity in John 14:6. “Jesus said, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’” The Apostles affirmed the same exclusivity in Acts 4:12, “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

All this tells you that your relationship to Jesus Christ is the most important commitment, the most crucial decision, the most essential truth, the imperative reaction for every single one of you in this room–why? Because your reaction to Jesus Christ determines your eternity. The only way you pass judgment, avoid Hell, and live forever in Heaven is to be rightly related to Christ.

Do not be confused. Becoming a Christian is not based upon praying a prayer, making a decision at camp, having an emotional experience, walking forward, signing a card, feeling guilty about your sin, liking Jesus more than Mohammed or Buddha or Mary, accepting good doctrine, or catch this–the mere belief that Jesus is God who died for your sins. When you’re truly saved, God causes you to be born again. First Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again.”

It’s so important to be born again. Jesus said in John 3:3b, “Unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” God is the one who saves you. God is the one who transforms you. And when Christ saves you, Christ makes you into a new person. Second Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”

And it is God Himself who must choose you–you did not choose Christ, Christ chooses you. Jesus is clear in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain.” So, has He given you the gift of faith to depend completely on Christ? And did God give you the gift of repentance to turn from your sin and follow Christ alone? Acts 20:21, “Solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Both faith and repentance are gifts God gives at salvation. Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Second Timothy 2:25, “With gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth.” So this morning, has God granted you repentance? Has He given you faith? Are you born again? Have you been made new? Do you have a new heart? Let me help you know for certain, with the three W’s.

1  You will WANT to OBEY God’s Word

Romans 6:17, “Though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed.” That means if you are a true Christian, you will not only want to attend church, but interconnect with God’s people, serve, give, sacrifice, love others, forgive, disciple, submit, minister and more.

2  You will be WILLING to DO anything Christ asks

Luke 14:26,27 and 33, “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 33 . . . None of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” Willing?

3  You will WORSHIP the Lord with your ALL

You know what Romans 12:1 says, “I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” You present all of yourself to Christ in worship–hold nothing back. What we are doing right now is giving ourselves corporately to God in worship. And each of you individually are here to give your total self away again to Christ in worship. Living sacrifice means again and again.

That is the heart of a genuine Christian. They want to obey God’s Word, they are willing to do anything Christ asks, and they give themselves fully again and again to Christ in worship–not perfectly, but progressively. Have you been born again?

Today in our passage in Mark, we find religious people, powerful people, people in authority reacting to Christ–but they’re not saved. They’re interacting with Christ, but they don’t know who He is. Each of them are dialoging face to face with God in a body, but they have no idea who He really is. And as a result, they are unmoved, unrepentant, unchanged, and far from salvation.

As we continue in our verse by verse study of the gospel of Mark, we are close to the crucifixion. It is now the early hours of Friday. Christ is experiencing two major trials, one religious and one secular.

Each of them, have three phases to them, making six different times from midnight to eight in the morning Christ will face some form of accusation, harassment and abuse.

#1  Christ is arraigned before Annas around 1 am in John 18

#2  Christ is tried before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin about 2 to 3 am

#3  Christ is retried before the Sanhedrin at 5:30 am in Mark 15:1

#4  Christ is tried before Pilate to gain a death sentence about 6 am in Mark 15

#5  Christ is mocked before Herod at 7 am in Luke 23

#6  Christ is tried before Pilate and the mob around 8 am in Mark 15

Then Christ will be crucified by 9 am on Good Friday. Let’s look at how not to react, how not to respond to Christ.

1.  THE RELIGIOUS TRIAL

Let’s briefly review Mark 14 and the religious trial, phase 1

1  Annas is looking for a HANDLE to destroy Christ

Immediately after being arrested, Jesus was taken to face the former High Priest, named Annas. The gospel of John makes this clear in John 18:12 and 13, “So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, 13 and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.”

Annas is the Godfather–all the animal selling and coin exchanging in the Temple were called the Bazaars of Annas. This is the Mafia boss who’s getting rich by overcharging God’s people to worship at the Passover. Even though Annas has his own muscle–his Temple police, the men with the Billy clubs, Annas couldn’t stop Jesus from sharing the Gospel nor teaching God’s Word.

Annas was so corrupt, he kept the office of the High Priest in his family for decades, and Caiaphas, the current High Priest is the son-in-law of Annas who was so bad the Roman authorities actually forced him out of the office of High Priest. But like a strong Mafia boss, Annas still controlled the evil organization. Our Lord put a serious dent into his profits on Tuesday with the cleaning out of the Temple, so Annas questions Christ to find some way to legally kill Him, while he gives the Sanhedrin time to be awakened, brought from their homes, and assembled together at Caiaphas’ house so they can try Christ.

John 18:19, “The high priest [Annas] then questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching.” Annas is asking Jesus to incriminate Himself–he wants to get a handle to use against Christ. He is looking for a crack in order to kill Christ. But Annas fails, and the ball next is thrown in Caiaphas’ court. So verse 24, “So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.”

There are people who react to Christ in just this same way. They try to find a handle to use against Christ or Christianity in order to reject Christ–to find some crack to justify their rejection. They say things like, “Christ was merely a man . . . there are other religions, not just like Christianity . . . there are many ways to God.” Sadly, like Annas, every skeptic and every religious hypocrite will face Christ as their Judge. Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.”

And it’ll only be those in Christ who will enter Heaven. Christ alone took our judgment for sin upon the cross. If you don’t have Christ, you don’t have a substitute. Therefore, instead of God’s judgment for your sin falling on Christ for you, you will be judged and suffer eternal suffering in Hell for all your sin upon yourself. Let’s also remember Mark 14 and the religious trial, phase 2.

2  Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin are seeking to CONDEMN

Remember Mark 14:55, “Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, and they were not finding any.” While Peter is in the courtyard denying Christ, the Sanhedrin are not interested in giving Christ a fair trial. They are only interested in putting Him to death.

So Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin drum up as many witnesses as they can to find some legal reason to murder Jesus–but they can’t. They even bribe witnesses to speak falsely, but can’t get them to agree. They move too fast, it is too early in the morning, and Christ is perfect, so nothing sticks. Finally in frustration, Caiaphas the inquisitor puts Jesus under oath and asks, verse 61, “Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, ‘Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’”

Matthew 26:63 clarifies, “’I adjure You by the living God.’” That’s the heaviest oath possible–that is the strongest way to make someone answer. “I place an oath on you.” And Jesus answers pointedly, verse 62, “And Jesus said, ‘I am; and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.’”

Jesus again says, “I AM.” Jesus spoke the name of God in the Garden, and at least 200 soldiers, police and leaders were thrown into the dirt by the power of God. Jesus tells them He is God–He has all power, and He has all authority as their Judge. Jesus says, “You’re judging Me right now, but you need to understand–I AM the Judge you’ll stand before to determine your eternity.”

This truth declaration results in a hypocritical show of rejection, as they tear their clothes and sentence Jesus to death, and begin to abuse Him, spit on Him, hit Him and mock Him. They attack the very One they will answer to for their lives. People today do the same–they say the Bible is full of errors. The Church has messed with the Bible over the years. “Christ was a great teacher, but He wasn’t God.”

But they forget Jesus says in John 12:48, “He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.” So as we now come in our study to Mark 15, we now see what happens next in Mark 15:1–The Religious Trial, Phase 3.

3  The religious leaders are HATEFUL and HYPOCRITICAL

The religious leaders, the Sanhedrin, meet again once it’s morning, to appear to be obeying the law so they can kill Christ. They have violated their own law by trying Christ at night, without defense, without credible witnesses and during a feast–and they’ve already pronounced judgment. Look back at Mark 14:63 and 64, “Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, ‘What further need do we have of witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?’ And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.”

And now, instead of waiting twenty-four hours minimum like their law demands, and most believe they should be waiting three days while fasting, they seek to make their judgment appear legal before the public. As they re-gather here in Mark 15:1, they do so in order to appear legal. This third phase of the religious trial is a show. They’re putting on this hypocritical action to appear official. They’re gathering to unanimously confirm their decision to kill Christ.

But they’re also gathering for another reason–look at Mark 15:1a, “Early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation.” It is early morning–sunrise is 5 am, so this is sometime between 5 and 6 in the morning. Mark tells us the entire Sanhedrin gets together to hold a consultation. The Greek consultation means a plan–a course of action. We might say today a checklist. Why are they putting together a checklist? Do you know? In order to murder Christ, they have to get some things lined up.

CHECK LIST ONE  Only Rome can allow them to kill Christ. Rome alone holds the authority to condemn a man to death. Have you read John 18:31? It reminds us that the Jews at this time were required to go to Rome in order to kill Christ. John 18:31, “So Pilate said to them, ‘Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.’ The Jews said to him, ‘We are not permitted to put anyone to death.’” So if the Sanhedrin wants to kill Christ, they have to get Rome’s permission, which means they’re forced to talk to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate.

Maybe you’re one of those cynical critics who’ll say, “Hold on, Chris–the Jews stoned Stephen to death.” Yes they did, but they had no legal right to–that was the action of a mob, but they had no legal right to kill Stephen, and they have no right to kill Christ but must get permission.

CHECK LIST TWO  They have to convince Pilate to give Jesus the death penalty. Pilate will not condemn Christ to death for claiming to be God. They’d consider that crazy, but not condemnable. We are transitioning now from a religious trial to a secular trial. The Sanhedrin really wants to kill Christ because they’re jealous of His miraculous power and His incredible popularity. The religious leaders all hate Christ because they’ve all been condemned by His life and His teaching. And they despise His teaching that salvation is by God’s grace and not works of the Law.

But they have to come up with other reasons why Christ must die if they’re going to get Pilate to give them the death sentence. They can’t give Pilate religious reasons, even blasphemy–but they will have to give Pilate political reasons, like treason. So verse 1, the Sanhedrin is consulting to come up with reasons to make Christ look like a revolutionary who was a threat to Caesar.

So the Sanhedrin meet again to appear legal. Plus they meet in order to come up with a check list of lies to convince the governor to give them a death sentence for the perfect God-man. So Mark 15:1b, “And binding Jesus, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate.” Sadly, there are people who put on an external show. They want an experience with God, but not surrender their will. People want freedom from their guilt, but not obedience to Christ. People want to taste of the blessings of Christians, but will not pay the price of turning from sin and dying to self.

Yet when salvation is true, Paul said it so clearly in 2 Corinthians 5:15, “He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” True Christians live for Christ, not for themselves. And this leads us to . . .

2.  THE SECULAR TRIAL

Mark 15:1b to 5, The Secular Trial, Phase 1

4  Pilate is IMPRESSED, but INDIFFERENT

A superficial exposure to Christ is impressive to Pilate, but Pilate is not impacted by Christ at all. Look at Mark 15:1b, “And binding Jesus, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate.” It is around 6 am in the morning, possibly a little earlier. Jesus is now in Pilate’s judgment hall, or just outside of it. Pilate is in Jerusalem for Passover. He despised the Jewish people–the Bible tells us he was proud, cruel and a narcissist.

Pilate once showed his disdain for Jewish customs by bringing standards, bearing the image of the Emperor on them, violating the Jewish ban on images. The Jews went in mass 70 miles down to the coast, to Caesarea where Pilate lived, to protest for five days. He finally relented and removed the flags.

Pilate also used money from the Temple treasury to build a 23-mile long aqueduct to bring water into Jerusalem. The Jews protested using Temple funds for public works, and some Jews and soldiers were killed in the protest. Pilate later stopped a protest by sending his soldiers in disguise in the midst of a protesting crowd, and at a certain signal they all pulled out their clubs and these soldiers beat the Jews to death.

Turn to John 18–Pontius Pilate was a man who lusted for status, putting his career above everything, including people and principle. Responsible for all Roman court decisions, the army, collecting taxes and keeping the peace, Pilate is the one who held the power of life and death over his subjects. And Pilate alone is the one who decides all cases of capital punishment, which helps us understand what is happening in John 18:28 and following.

Then they led Jesus from Caiaphas into the Praetorium, and it was early; and they themselves did not enter into the Praetorium so that they would not be defiled, but might eat the Passover.” Talk about hypocrisy–they won’t enter a Gentile location, the Praetorium, so they don’t get defiled by possibly touching a Gentile. So they stand outside. All this careful religious care going on at the same time they’re trying to manipulate the governor so they can murder an innocent man. This is the highest form of hypocrisy—nauseating.

Verse 29, “Therefore Pilate went out to them and said, ‘What accusation do you bring against this Man?’” This is a legal question from Rome’s primary judge in this region. The governor is Israel’s final court of appeal in capital offense cases. But the leaders don’t want Pilate to judge, they merely want him to approve their execution. They don’t want another trial. In fact, “Pilate, don’t ask us any questions at all.”

Verse 30, “They answered and said to him, ‘If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.’” Hey, Pilate, we’re not wasting your time—trust us. Just help us execute this man–this Jesus.

Now Pilate knows who Jesus is. He was aware of the massive crowd hailing Jesus as the Messiah at the triumphal entry on Monday. Surely Pilate heard about Jesus overturning the tables on Tuesday. And we know Pilate knows of the Lord’s arrest, because Roman troops were requested and present on Thursday. And Pilate is NOT DUMB, he knows that the leaders are committing a blatant miscarriage of justice.

So Pilate (probably with a sigh) says in verse 31a, “So Pilate said to them, ‘Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.’” Just kill him yourself–but the Jews become externally legal and self-righteous, and don’t want to take responsibility for Christ. So they say, verse 31b, “The Jews said to him, ‘We are not permitted to put anyone to death.’”

But they have to give Pilate reasons, and it’s at this point that Luke 23:2 informs us when they held their consultation in Mark 15:1. They came up with three reasons for Pilate:

1)  Jesus was PERVERTING the nation of Israel

2)  Jesus was forbidding Jews to pay TAXES, creating a tax revolt

3)  Jesus was claiming to be KING, and Caesar is NOT King

Luke 23:2 says, “And they began to accuse Him, saying, ‘We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.’”

Now go back to Mark 15:2–Pilate then talks to Jesus in verse 2a, “Pilate questioned Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?’” There could be mockery in Pilate’s question, since Jesus is bound, His clothes are bloody, and there’re bruises and dried spit on his face. Christ does not look like a king–there is nothing regal about the Lord’s appearance here. But verse 2b, “And [Jesus] He answered him, ‘It is as you say.’” You are correct Pilate–I am THE King!

John’s gospel tells us more of what Christ says at this exact point. John 18:36 and 37, “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.’ 37 Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.’”

Then in verse 38 Pilate said to Him, “’What is truth?’” Pilate is a typical educated leader of his day–it was very common for Roman leaders to be philosophers, cynics and agnostics, like someone who attends Berkeley. Pilate is pessimistically skeptical. But Pilate hasn’t lost his mind–verse 38 continues, “And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, ‘I find no guilt in Him.”

Well, the leaders are fried by that–they light up in verse 3, “The chief priests began to accuse Him harshly.” They really pour it on, which surprises Pilate, since Christ gives no response. Mark 15:4, “Then Pilate questioned Him again, saying, ‘Do You not answer? See how many charges they bring against You!’ 5 But Jesus made no further answer; so Pilate was amazed.”

Amazed is to marvel–to wonder. This is extremely unique. Here is someone being accused of all kinds of things He didn’t do, and He gives no response, no defense. So what’s Pilate gonna do? Luke 23 tells us again some of what they were saying in verse 5, “But they kept on insisting, saying, ‘He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee, even as far as this place.’” They tell Pilate Jesus is stirring up the entire nation from Judea all the way to Galilee–bingo, here’s my way out.

Luke 23:7, “And when he learned that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who himself also was in Jerusalem at that time.” Pilate is only governor of Judea–Herod is the governor of Galilee, and Herod just happens to be in town for the Passover. So in order to get out of this sticky situation, Pilate ships Jesus off for trial #5, phase two of the secular trial.

Being a Roman governor, Pilate naturally has an elevated opinion of his power over Christ. In a sense, Pilate says to Jesus, “Don’t you know that I can do anything I want to you?” But Jesus says in John 19:10, “You have no authority over Me at all if it was not given you from on high.” But Pilate thinks he has power over Jesus. Like Judas, Annas, Caiaphas, even the Sanhedrin–all thought they were controlling Christ. Now Pilate believes he has the destiny of Jesus in his hands.

The truth is, Jesus has their eternal destiny in His hands. No earthly power can determine the destiny of Christ, but every soul’s destiny is determined by how they respond to Christ. Sadly, there are people who come to church who are impressed with Christ, amazed, they even wonder. Pilate was impressed. But they are indifferent to following Christ by obeying God’s Word. They want to feel amazed, but do not want to know the truth. They want to have an experience, but not submit their will. They want to wonder at God, but not die to self and follow Christ. Turn to Luke 23 to witness The Secular Trial, Phase 2.

5  Herod is CURIOUS, but SHALLOW

You know who Herod Antipas is. Big Daddy Herod the Great died in 4 BC and divided his kingdom (under the Romans) among his four sons. Herod Antipas ruled the north region from 4 BC to 39 AD, over forty years. Herod was a vassal of Rome, and could only stay in office while he supported Rome, collecting taxes and keeping the peace.

Like his dad, Herod Antipas was a builder (near Nazareth). Herod built Sepphoris, the largest city in Galilee, and Tiberius, built on the western coast of the Sea of Galilee. Also like his dad, Herod Antipas was a very wicked man. He divorced his wife, a princess of Nabatea, in order to steal his half-brother’s wife. John the Baptist confronted Herod on this, and it cost John his head. Herod was an incestuous, murderous, immoral, and scheming man—and now Herod will finally meet Christ (in Luke 23).

Herod has known about Christ–Mark 6 tells us Herod thought Christ was John the Baptist come back from the dead to haunt him. Later in Luke 13, the Pharisees warned Christ that Herod was out to kill him. And now they’ll finally meet, and Herod can kill Christ if he wants. But Herod, like many today, only desires a supernatural show, but is totally uninterested in salvation, truth, morality or judgment.

Look at verses 8 and 9, “Now Herod was very glad when he saw Jesus; for he had wanted to see Him for a long time, because he had been hearing about Him and was hoping to see some sign performed by Him. 9 And he questioned Him at some length; but He answered him nothing.” Herod is unimpressed–it’s almost a joke. Looking at Christ, beaten, bloody and abused, Herod concludes Christ is no threat.

But the leaders do–verse 10, “And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing Him vehemently.” Notice, the leaders followed Christ to Herod’s place for blood. Plus, Christ’s non-response, and the leaders’ accusing of Christ moves Herod to mock Christ, verse 11, “And Herod with his soldiers, after treating Him with contempt and mocking Him, dressed Him in a gorgeous robe and sent Him back to Pilate”—for the final trial, Phase 3 of the secular Trial.

But did you see how verse 11 begins? “Herod with his soldiers”–Herod himself treats Christ with contempt. Herod mocks Christ! Herod took part in dressing Christ in a gorgeous regal robe, probably a white dazzling robe, the robe of a ruler, a king. All that to make fun of Christ, to make Him a joke, to show all that Christ is no threat to anyone. Herod wants nothing to do with Christ, so Herod himself in sending Christ back to Pilate is saying, “Christ does not deserve death–He’s not guilty of a capital offence.”

Now you have two witnesses who agree–Pilate and Herod both agree that Jesus does not deserve death. But the religious leaders do, and they will not be denied. Are you ready for the final phase, the sixth trial? What happens is incredible and amazing, and to really get it you have to come back next week.

There are those today who only want to see miracles, experience God through ecstatic utterances, hear so-called prophecies–but like Herod they will not surrender their lives to the truth. More and more church attenders want to feel God’s presence, but are unwilling to live a holy life, nor seek to please Christ. They desire to see the evidence of God’s power, but are unwilling to live for eternity by making sacrifices now.

So, would you allow me to ask you one more time–in your heart, do you want to obey God’s Word? Does it show? Are you willing to do anything Christ asks? Does it show? Do you worship God with your entire life as a living sacrifice? Are you truly born again? If not, cry out for mercy. Ask God to open your eyes to see and give you a heart to respond. Make sure you are a child of God, and . . .

#1  Make certain your ETERNITY is biblically secure

People of authority are often filled with pride because of their powerful position. People who are super-educated Berkeley-ites are filled with pride because they think they have it all figured out. Both groups are blinded by their perceived power, and their thinking has been distorted by lies. In dealing with such folks I pray, “God crack their heart,” and when He does it usually means He cracks their life first, through some horrible trial or awful circumstance. And the reason that’s necessary is because pride prevents salvation, stops forgiveness, and denies everyone eternity in Heaven. The only people who actually can be saved are the humble, James 4:6b, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

#2  Repent of your PRIDE to come to Christ for salvation

Christ answered direct questions about the truth of who He is, but He never defended Himself concerning lies and slander. Yes, slander hurts. Yes, accusations are unfair. Yes, lies are wrong. I have had plenty, and they’ve been excruciatingly painful. But as a Christ follower, should we not do what Christ did? Entrust ourselves to God, to allow truth to be known in time?

#3  Don’t make a habit of DEFENDING yourself–trust in Christ

Finally, if Pilate was amazed, in wonder, astounded by Christ–shouldn’t we who are His forgiven, cleansed, washed, Heaven-bound, able to obey, blessed with every spiritual blessing, interconnected to His Church family, given His Word, beloved followers be all the more amazed at the commitment of Christ to go to the cross and pay for our eternal redemption? Amen?

#4  Be AMAZED at the character and sacrifice of Christ

Let’s pray.

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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church – Murrieta.

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