Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Nothing but the truth, Part II

We've been studying this week in the latter portion of John 18 . . . we're looking for nuggets of truth in this courtroom drama that we read about in these verses.

Here is one: everything that Jesus said would happen, did happen. (verse 32)

                     This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death
                     he was going to die.

Jesus had predicted His death and His resurrection. Look at Matthew 20:17-19:

                     As Jesus was about to go up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve disciples
                    aside by themselves, and on the way He said to them,“Behold, we are
                    going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief
                    priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand
                    Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on
                    the third day He will be raised up.”

Has anyone ever questioned you this way? "How do you know that the Bible is true?" or "How do you know for sure, that what Jesus said was real, and true?"
Well, we know that Jesus predicted His death and resurrection -- and it happened. He told the waters, "Peace, be still!" and the storm stopped. Now, if the storm had continued anyway, then we could toss out everything that Jesus said. If He had said, "Lazarus, come forth!" and Lazarus had remained in the grave, then we would not have to listen to Jesus. What if He had said, "Arise, take up thy bed and walk!" and the man had remained on his pallet? Would we be listening to Him?
Probably not.
But all of these things happened when He said they would happen. Those are facts. So, when He tells us, "I am the way, the truth, and the life," we need to pay attention! And when He tells us "I'm coming back to get you," then we better make sure that we are prepared.
This is a truth: everything that Jesus has said would happen, has happened, or will happen in the future.

Here is another nugget of truth: it's true that people would rather hold on to their sins than to face a Savior Who can (and will) forgive their sin.

                 . . . I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me
                 to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want
                 me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” They shouted back, “No, not him!
                 Give us Barabbas!”  (John 18:38b-40)

The people were given a choice -- Jesus or Barabbas -- a giver of life, or a murderer. (In Luke 23:25, we read, "He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will."
What a contrast!
Jesus was holy God; Barabbas was a sinful man.  Jesus brought peace; Barabbas brought fear. The choice is absurd -- why in the world did they choose in this way?

                 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved
                 darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who
                 does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that
                 their deeds will be exposed.  (John 3:19-20)

As Christians, we have said, "YES" to the light, and sought forgiveness for our sins. But even for us, there may be times that we still choose to hold onto sin, instead of turning it over to Jesus. What? Seriously?
We hold onto a grudge, because we just can't bring ourselves to forgive that person who hurt us. We hold tight to our anger, because of an injustice that was done to us. We may choose to hold onto our favorite television show, in spite of the words and ideas that are so offensive to our Lord. We may hold onto so many things . . . our language, our alcohol, whatever gives us that short-lived satisfaction or pleasure that they provide. There we are, hugging those things tightly to us, even though they will send us down into a dark, dark place that Jesus wants to pull us out of.

Jesus offers peace, and we tell Him, "nah, I'd rather have a drink." Jesus offers us a relationship with Him, and we say, "No, I want to keep these worldly friends I have now." Jesus offers us eternal life, and instead we would prefer today. He offers us truth, and we would rather have a lie. Even when He offers us forgiveness, we sometimes will tell Him, "No thanks, I'd rather just stay here and enjoy my sin."
It's awfully easy to look at these people in John 18 and point a finger at them for making a stupid decision. But if we're honest, we have made similar decisions when we choose the fake that the world offers, instead of the truth that Jesus offers.

It's another nugget of truth that Jesus is the King of a very real kingdom.

                 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.”  (33-37)

That day, the accusation against Jesus was this: He was claiming to be a king. That would have put Him in opposition to Caesar, so that main thing that Pilate needed to determine was the nature of Jesus' claim. Jesus told him these truths:
                1. The servants of His kingdom responded differently than the servants
                    in most kingdoms. (v 36)
                2. His kingdom was distant in both time and place.
                3. His kingdom was based on truth. (v 37)
Well, since all of the things that Jesus had said, really did happen, then we can believe Him when He says these things about His kingdom. And we can trust Him when He says His kingdom is coming. We will either be serving alongside Jesus, or we will be His enemies. And the determining factor will be whether or not we are on the side of truth!
We'll finish up our study of "nothing but the truth" tomorrow.....

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