“The Greater Sin”

11 Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” – John 19:11 NLT 

Powerless – NLT

Which of the laws had Jesus broken that He should be sentenced to death? Yes, it was against the law to blaspheme the name of God or to lie, but Jesus was, in fact, God and the Son of God just as He claimed, He had done neither. The crowd says that Jesus claimed to be the “King of the Jews” and, in fact, He was all that and more. This claim seemed to bother Pilate quite a bit. He had already said that he finds Jesus not guilty under the Roman law and Pilate has no concern about the Jewish laws. He is still looking for a way to release Jesus without upsetting the crowd. How many of us are guilty of wanting to serve Jesus as long as it is popular and doesn’t upset the crowds? We go to church and we feel safe in discussing our belief in Jesus Christ. But what happens when we are back out in the world again? If our other people’s opinions of us are more important than what Jesus knows about us, then we are guilty of idol worship. We have placed others above God in our lives. This is a sin and we need to repent. It is time that we believed that what Jesus said about Himself to Pilate is also true for us. “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above”. If we truly believe that nothing and no one has any power over us unless God allows them to have it then we should be mighty warriors for our Lord and Savior. If we truly believe that nothing can separate us from the love of God, then why don’t we love Him back with everything we are and have? God the Holy Spirit is God and God is Perfect Love and He dwells inside us. His desire is that we be fearless.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.—1 John 4:18 (NLT)

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“Wearing the Crown of Thorns”

5 Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!” – John 19:5 NKJV

John 19:1-6 NLT

The mockery and the persecution goes on and on. A whip with jagged pieces of metal that literally tore the flesh from His back, a crown of thorns that was pushed viciously down upon His brow and then another slap across the face. All this plus the verbal mockery of His truthful claims as to who He really was. Then Pilate goes back out to the crowd and says “I find Him not guilty”. Pilate could have stopped the proceedings then and there, but he chose not to do so. He has Jesus brought out wearing the purple robe and the crown of thorns and Pilate speaks to the people.
“Ecce homo!” “Behold the man”!
The crowd wants Jesus crucified and they let Pilate know that loudly. Pilate tells the crowd they can take Jesus and crucify Him. He knows they can’t administer the death penalty. It is just a ploy to assuage his quilt. Today, I say to all of us, “Behold the Man”, what will we do with Jesus? Will our words and actions or the lack thereof scream ‘Crucify Him’ or will they plead for His acceptance?
“Behold the Man”!!!

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“You Say I Am a King”

37 Pilate said, “So you are a king?”  Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”  – John 18:37 NLT

John 18:38-40 NLT

Jesus states that the purpose of His being born and coming into the world was to tell people the truth. Now, Pilate asks the age-old question–“What is truth?”
(Maybe this is where the old cliche comes from–“You wouldn’t recognize the truth if it was standing right in front of you.) Before Jesus answers this question, Pilate turns to leave and goes out to the crowd again. Does this remind you of anything that we do on a regular basis? We pray and earnestly seek God, then we get up and go about our business without giving Him time to answer our prayers. When we get to heaven, we will find out that Jesus answered all of our prayers, we just didn’t hang around to hear the answer. How rude of us! What if we were having a serious conversation with someone and just when we were getting to our point, they just got up and walked out of the room. We do it to Jesus all the time. Instead of being in such a hurry, take the advice of the Psalmist.

13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness while I am here in the land of the living.​ 14 ​Wait patiently for the Lord. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.—Psalm 27:13-14 (NLT)

Don’t talk to God, talk with God. The first few minutes after talking with God, we need to just “be still and know that He is God”.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“My Kingdom Is Not of This World”

 36 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.” – John 18:36 NLT

John 18:33-37 NLT

”Are you the King of the Jews?” The question that Pilate asked or similar questions are still being debated today. Jesus answers with a question of His own. “Is that your question or did others tell you about me?” It is almost as if Jesus is asking Pilate, “do you care or are you just curious because others have asked that question?” Do you really want to know who I am? Pilate avoids answering the question by saying he is not one of the Jews and asks Jesus another question. “What have you done wrong?” Jesus answers by telling Pilate about His kingdom and His servants. He explains that His kingdom is in another place. Pilate responds with “So you are a King!” What is our response today? We may say, “Of course, Jesus is the King of the Jews!” But that answer avoids the real question: “Is Jesus the King in our lives here and now?” He is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all. He will not accept being the Number One God in our lives, He will only accept being the only God in our lives. Jesus died for our sins, how could we offer Him anything less than everything we have and everything we are?

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“Judge Him By Your Own Law”

31 “Then take him away and judge him by your own law,” Pilate told them. “Only the Romans are permitted to execute someone,” the Jewish leaders replied. – John 18:31

John 18:28-32 NLT

We humans are a mess! Look at these religious leaders! Here they are participating in a mockery of justice and falsely accusing Jesus of being a criminal of some sort. Yet, they would not go inside the Roman governor’s palace lest they become defiled and unclean. Then they would not be able to eat the Passover meal. The Jews had the authority to hold court and try their own people, so that is what Pilate tells them to do. But they wanted Jesus to be put to death and they did not have the authority to administer that kind of punishment. We, too, can be as hypocritical as these religious leaders. We judge unfairly and gossip about others, even our own Christian brothers and sisters. We can go to church every day of the week, but if we don’t love our neighbor, we are just as guilty as these people. Remember, every word of gossip grieves the Holy Spirit who is living inside us. As I write this, I am convinced that the Holy Spirit is guiding me because I need to be the first to hear this admonition. Thank you, Holy Spirit, my friend and my guide, for loving me enough to take the time to teach me again and again and again. Thank you for forgiving me even though you know I will fail and grieve you again. Amazing love!! Amazing grace that saved a wretch like me!!!

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“And Immediately A Rooster Crowed”

27 Again Peter denied it. And immediately a rooster crowed. – John 18:27 NLT

Peter’s Denial

Have you ever promised God that you would not commit a certain sin and then you find that the next time the temptation comes up, you fail again? Every time we sin, we grieve God the Holy Spirit. Do you remember how you felt the last time you failed your parents, in particular, your Mother? I think if we can get that picture in our minds, we can start to understand how it hurts the Holy Spirit when we grieve Him by sinning. God the Holy Spirit is a person just as God the Father and God the Son are personages. We may not believe it or think it about much, but let’s look at what Paul writes:

And do not make the Holy Spirit sad. The Spirit is God’s proof that you belong to him. God gave you the Spirit to show that God will make you free when the final day comes.—Eph. 4:30 (NCV)

Did you realize that you could make God sad?

I believe the very moment that Peter denied Jesus the third time, he realized that he could hurt and wound God, our Savior. John doesn’t elaborate on this event, but if we read what is written in Matthew, we see how this affected Peter.

74 Then Peter began to place a curse on himself and swear, “I don’t know the man.” At once, a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered what Jesus had told him: “Before the rooster crows, you will say three times that you don’t know me.” Then Peter went outside and cried painfully.—Matt. 26:74-75 (NCV)

When we realize that we have hurt God the Holy Spirit, we need to weep and confess our sins quickly. We need to keep a good relationship with the Holy Spirit because through Him is the way we communicate with God.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“Why Are You Beating Me?”

23 Jesus replied, “If I said anything wrong, you must prove it. But if I’m speaking the truth, why are you beating me?” – John 18:23 NLT

Beaten and Bound – NLT

With His first answer to the high priest, Jesus receives a slap in the face from one of the temple officials. Thus begins the mockery that is called a trial. This type of questioning and cruel treatment would continue through the night. When the  Annas finished questioning Jesus, he bound Him and sent Him to Caiaphas the high priest.  Jesus never claimed to be anyone but who He was. He never wavered or changed His story. He understood and accepted the reason He was being mistreated. He is our example of how we should respond when we are mistreated for His name’s sake. No matter how we suffer, if we are called to suffer, Jesus has already been there and worse. He will be there to carry us through. We should remember what Paul wrote to Timothy:

11 And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher.12 That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day.–2 Timothy 1:11-12 (NIV)

We too are appointed as heralds and teachers of the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:​ 12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: –2 Timothy 2:11-12 (NIV)

We must be ready to die for Him now, if we expect to reign with Him in heaven.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“You’re Not One of That Man’s Disciples, Are You?”

even-smaller-bug-light1

17 The woman asked Peter, “You’re not one of that man’s disciples, are you?” “No,” he said, “I am not.” -John 18:17 NLT

John 18:15-18 NLT

When Jesus was arrested in the garden, all the disciples fled, However, two of them came back at some point on the journey from the Garden to the priest’s house. One of them we are sure is Simon Peter, The other follower is assumed to be John because, in the book of John, John does not normally refer to himself by name, but with a brief description such as “the disciple that Jesus loved”. John went inside the house with Jesus, but Peter stayed outside near the door. John shows us that Jesus has taught him to care about others since he went into the house with Jesus, seemingly not caring if the others knew he was a follower of Jesus. Then he comes back out to have Peter brought inside. A nice gesture on a cold night. But when the girl goes to bring Peter inside, she recognizes Peter and she asks him if he isn’t also one of the followers of Jesus. Peter answers that he is not. Peter makes his first denial of the evening. Now he will have to keep lying about his relationship with Jesus. As we know, one lie always leads to another and it gets easier each time we tell it. Peter failed Jesus with words, how many times have we done that? And just as hypocritical, how many times have we betrayed Jesus with our silence? How many times have we grieved God the Holy Spirit with our refusal to allow Him to lead us? Everyday, with our actions or lack of actions and our words or our lack of words, we deny God the Father and grieve God the Holy Spirit.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“The Temple Guards Arrested Jesus”

12 So the soldiers, their commanding officer, and the Temple guards arrested Jesus and tied him up. 13 First they took him to Annas, since he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest at that time.[a] 14 Caiaphas was the one who had told the other Jewish leaders, “It’s better that one man should die for the people.” – John 18:12-14 NLT

Once Jesus was arrested, He was tied up and taken to Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest. This was the same Caiaphas that had prophesied that it was better that one man should die than the whole nation. If Caiaphas had fully understood the situation, he probably would have preferred that Jesus not die for the people. God was allowing satan to use the unbelief and stubbornness of the high priests and religious leaders to accomplish His plan. God’s plan has been in existence since before the world was spoken into existence. No thing or no one had or has the power to stop what God has decreed will be. The reason that Jesus had spoken in parables to the crowds and early in His ministry had told those He healed not to tell anyone was to accomplish the mission that God has sent Him here to do. If satan had figured it out, he would not have wanted Jesus to be crucified on the cross.

7 No, the wisdom we speak of is the mystery of God—his plan that was previously hidden, even though he made it for our ultimate glory before the world began. 8 But the rulers of this world have not understood it; if they had, they would not have crucified our glorious Lord–1 Cor.2:7-8 (NLT)

Jesus said:

13 That is why I use these parables, For they look, but they don’t really see. They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.—Matt. 13:13 (NLT)

There are still those who look but don’t see and hear but they aren’t really listening. But since we aren’t able to know the minds and hearts of others, we cannot be selective in who we witness to. We are to tell everyone the Good News and let God be in charge of the results.

“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous

“Blazing Torches, Lanterns, and Weapons”

 3 The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Now with blazing torches, lanterns, and weapons, they arrived at the olive grove. – John 18:3 NLT

John 18:1-4 NLT

Jesus was fully aware of what would happen this night and every night until He ascended into heaven. But, because He loved us so much, He was willing to face the persecution, the ridicule, the mockery, the beatings and the agony, that was the cross. Jesus had known this from time immemorial, yet He came to earth and dwelt among us in the flesh. Our finite minds cannot grasp or understand this infinite, unconditional love. But there is a void in us that can only be filled with this love. The world is looking for this love without knowing or understanding why. There was a time in each of our lives when we were in the same place as the lost people around us. We were looking for something or someone. If we had been asked, “Who are you looking for?”, we probably would not have understood that we were looking for Jesus and our answer would not have been so quick and sure. But then, someone took the time to share with us about the love of Jesus and we realized that He was who we were looking for. Even if we are staring death in the face just as Jesus was at that time, are we willing to take the time today to ask someone “Who are you looking for?” and then share the love of Jesus with them?