We have come to understand the meaning behind a number of phrases in the English language. One phrase that everyone understands is "It isn't a pretty picture". We know what that means. Don't look at it, don't even consider it, it isn't pleasant at all. Up to this point in our study of the Gospel of John, we have seen some wonderful pictures of our Savior. However, the next couple of portraits of Christ are not easy for us to look at. "It isn't a pretty picture!' Historically, mankind has sought to turn away their eyes from what happened to Jesus. Some choose to deny that it took place, and others refuse to acknowledge the importance of our Savior's suffering, but this morning that is exactly what I want us to view. As we look into the pages of God's Word, realize that His suffering was for you and for me.
1 Pet. 2:24 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
I. He Suffered in His Arrest v1-12
A. The Garden of Gethsemane.
1. The name means 'oil press'.
2. Symbolic of what was to take place.
3. Jesus was about to be pressed out in the events surrounding His crucifixion.
4. He had told His disciples that this would take place, so none of this would be a surprise to Him.
5. He willingly laid down His life for us.
B. The Betrayal of Christ.
1. Judas knew where He would be.
a. Keep in mind that Judas had left the Lord and the other disciples earlier.
b. He now shows up with a different crowd.
c. People will always go where their hearts are.
d. It is clear that they sought to do harm to the Lord; they came with weapons.
2. They were greeted by the power of the One who had spoken the world into existence.
a. Note v4, "Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon Him…"
b. No surprises here…Jesus knew their hearts and knew that they were there to take Him away.
c. Note how Jesus stunned them when He used the divine name, "I AM HE!"
d. What irony…the crowd came with weapons to overtake Jesus…but they had no power against Him at all.
e. After they got up from the ground, Jesus asked, "Now, who was it you were looking for?"
f. In v. 8, Jesus warned His disciples to go away, lest they fall into trouble.
C. Peter's disobedience.
1. The Lord had warned them to leave, but Peter chose to remain.
2. In his foolish disobedience, Peter attacked Malchus, the servant of the high priest.
3. Jesus rebuked Peter and then healed the servant's ear.
Luke 22:50-51 And one of them smote the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear. And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.
4. In using the sword, Peter was definitely disobeying Christ.
a. Peter had the wrong motive, acted under the wrong orders, and came up with the wrong results!
b. How gracious of Jesus to heal Malchus and protect Peter from harm.
5. Isn't it amazing that even after such a display of Divine power, the crowd still bound Jesus, and led Him away.
6. This is a clear indication that unregenerate men are blind to spiritual realities.
2 Cor. 4:4 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
II. He Suffered in the Hands of the Priests. v13-27
A. Peter's denial: what happened outside.
1. In the Upper Room, Peter had boasted three times that he would remain true to Christ.
2. In the Garden, he had gone to sleep three times when he should have been praying.
3. Now we see that he denied the Lord three times.
a) In the Upper Room Peter fell into the snare of the devil.
b) In the Garden he yielded to the weakness of the flesh.
c) And now in the courtyard, he would surrender to the pressures of the world.
4. While Christ was suffering, Peter was warming himself by the fires of the world.
B. The Frustration of the Priests: what was happening inside.
1. Now that they had Jesus, it seems they didn't know what to do with Him.
2. They questioned and taunted Him.
3. They sought false witnesses to testify against Him, but had trouble coming up with anything believable.
4. Finally they brought Him to Pilate and when asked what the charges were, they skirted the issue. Cf v29-30
III. He Suffered at the Hands of Pilate. v28-40
A. Consider the illegal aspects of Christ's trial.
1. It was held at night.
2. The prisoner was assumed to be guilty and was treated that way.
3. The court hired false witnesses.
4. The judge permitted the prisoner to be mistreated while bound.
5. The court allowed the accused no defense.
B. After the mockery of a trial, the priests led Jesus to Pilate for the final death sentence.
C. Pilate's Indecision.
1. At least seven times Pilate went from the hall to the Jews outside, trying to work out a compromise.
2. Pilate crucified Christ because he was a coward, "willing to content the people" (Mk 15:15).
3. Christ explained to Pilate the spiritual nature of His kingdom but did not explain His statement "My kingdom is not of this world."
4. Had the Jews received Him, He could have established His kingdom on earth.
5. But they rejected Him, for His kingdom is of a spiritual nature, within people's hearts.
D. The people's choice.
1. The world always makes the wrong choice when it comes to spiritual matters.
2. The mob preferred a robber and murderer to the Prince of Life!
3. They chose the lawbreaker, not the Lawgiver!
4. The Jews rejected their true Messiah, but they one day will accept Satan's false Messiah, the Antichrist.
John 5:43 43 I am come in my Father's name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.
E. Men reject Jesus for different reasons.
1. Judas rejected Christ because he listened to the devil.
2. Pilate listened to the world
3. Herod obeyed the flesh.
4. "You have a custom," said Pilate (18:39).
a. How sad that Pilate knew the religious customs, but did not know Christ!
b. People are like this even today, careful to observe religious holidays and customs, but ignorant of the Savior of the world.
c. Illustration of woman in England concerning Nativity scene.
d. Rejection means eternal judgment, but faith means eternal life.
e. Everyone must make their own decision.
Jesus became our Suffering Savior, not because of His inability to resist the religious powers, but because of His great love for you and me. Jesus suffered the injustices of sinful man, that we might enjoy the blessings of eternal life. It is not a pretty picture. Perhaps it is one that we would like to forget, but we cannot.
1 Pet. 3:18 18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Do you know Christ personally? Have you been born again, cleansed by His blood? Are we living for Him, or are we denying Him? May God deal with our hearts in grace this morning.