Guilty & Innocent (Matthew 27:11-26

December 10, 2023 | Brandon Cooper

This sermon examines the trial of Jesus before Pilate as told in Matthew 27:11-26. It discusses how Jesus came as an unexpected king to save people in an unexpected way through his substitutionary death on the cross. Though innocent, Jesus remained silent at his trial in fulfillment of prophecy. He took the place of the guilty, represented by Barabbas, by being condemned to die on the cross instead of Barabbas. This allowed guilty sinners to be saved and welcomed as innocent by God. The sermon encourages listeners to submit to Jesus’ rescue through faith in him, despite it not being the rescue they wanted or expected.


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Good morning church, and go ahead grab your Bibles open up to Matthew chapter 27. We’ll be starting in verse 11, Matthew 27, verse 11. As you’re turning there, I would guess that a great many of you have seen the film Finding Nemo. And you know, there’s a certain scene there where the Australian dentist goes to scoop Nemo out of the tank to give to his niece, or whatever it is, and the other fish in the tank rescue Nemo, but somewhat counter intuitively, because they want Nemo to go deeper into the net, when of course, your instinct is to swim out of the net. And then they also all get in the net with him, which seems even stranger, of course, but they save Nemo, because the whole net goes into the water and stuff like that. And then Nemo is able to do this for some other fish later on when the fishing trawler, like scooped up a whole bunch of them in the ocean, and he’s able to convince these other fish, you know, you got to swim down instead of trying to swim out and he gets in the net with them. But you know, he convinces them to to act counter intuitively, even though it really does take some convincing there for a moment. Now, why do I mention any of this? Let’s go back to our series idea, which we kind of looked at last week, the idea last week was to have any hope of salvation, we need an unexpected King, not just what we’re going to see today is it’s not just the who, but the how that is unexpected as well, because this unexpected King launches a wholly unexpected rescue plan as well. Like we did not expect rescue to come like this. We did not expect deliverance to look like this. And so our main idea up on the screen for you there to have any hope of salvation, we need our unexpected King, to save us in an unexpected way to unpack as we go this morning. I just want to give us one kind of key piece as we get started The why is the way unexpected. It’s because of who we are. As much as it is because of who Jesus is. It’s unexpected because the ones he’s come to save are guilty. We are guilty of high treason against the unexpected King. Like we’re engaged in regicide, as we’ll see. And so the fact that Jesus is coming to save those who are an act of rebellion against them leads to a series of ironies, this unexpected, you know, Nemo, like rescue that we’ve got here. So we’re gonna look at these three ironies as we unpack our passage this morning. So the first irony is that Jesus is the silent word from Matthew 27, verses 11 to 14. Let me read it for us now. Meanwhile, Jesus stood before the governor and the governor asked him, Are you the king of the Jews? You have said so Jesus replied, when he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. Then Pilate asked him, don’t you hear the testimony they’re bringing against you. But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge to the great amazement of the governor. So let’s just situate ourselves here, where we are. In the story. Jesus has already been tried by the Jewish leaders, the religious leaders who’ve been found guilty of blasphemy, and now they hand him over to Rome, for execution, not something that they are supposed to do. So that’s why they’re giving him to Rome, as this is going on. You know, Peter is actively disowning Jesus, Judas is hanging himself. And that’s the the meanwhile, while all that’s happening, Jesus stands before Pilate. So why is he before Pilate? He has been found guilty of blasphemy, about which Rome cares, not one jot, of course, they don’t care in the slightest what any particular Jew thinks about anything religiously. And so the religious leaders have to turn this theological issue into a political one.
He’s a threat to Caesar, that one will get Rome’s attention. By the way, he’s a threat to Caesar, because he claimed to be the Messiah, the King of the Jews. And so that’s what Pilate asked him, Are you the king of the Jews? And Jesus has this curious reply. It’s recorded in all four Gospels. So almost certainly this is verbatim what he said here, you have said so it’s a curious reply, because it does two things kind of simultaneously. On the one hand, it affirms the truth of the statement, like, Yep, you got it. But on the other hand, there’s a little bit of distance there probably because Jesus is saying like, Yes, I’m the king of the Jews, but not in the sense that you’re thinking of, like you’ve got these words in your mind but they are attached to very different concepts than what I’m thinking of. In fact, in John’s Gospel, Jesus says something to Pilate, he says, Yeah, you know, but my kingdom is not of this world. And Rome is really only interested in this world kingdoms, you know, like threat to their rule. So it’s a different sort of kingship. And Pilate gets it. You can see in this whole episode where I keep coming up against it, like Pilate is on Jesus’s side. He knows there’s no real charge here. He knows that Jesus is not a threat. And so the Jewish leaders have to keep making these accusations probably similar to some of the accusations that are thrown out in the previous chapter when he is on trial before the religious leaders, you know, Jesus has said things like, Destroy this temple and in three days, I’ll raise it up until they go see he wants to destroy the temple, which is a pretty revolutionary thing. He’s a dangerous insurrectionists like you need to take care of him. And Jesus makes no reply. Which leaves Pilate incredulous he can’t believe that Jesus isn’t defending himself, especially because he could have refuted every charge easily, like no, not dangerous revolutionary, really don’t care about Rome’s rule here right now. So pilots amazed but Matthew’s readers would have known would have seen in Jesus’s silence, a fulfillment of the prophecy that Simeon read for us earlier, the prophecy of the suffering servant in Isaiah 53, verse seven, we actually looked at part of this verse last week here, all of it is now as if 53 Verse seven, He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before it’s yours is silent. So he did not open his mouth, he remains silent. But this is unexpected, of course. I mean, here you have the King of kings, submitted to some earthly not even a king, just a Roman governor, and we have the Judge of all the earth silent at his own defense trial. This is very unexpected. But why is it happening? It’s because Jesus, who is KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS is in submission willingly to his father. We see in this moment, his perfect obedience and perfect resignation to the Father’s will. Here’s what he says in John’s gospel, John chapter 10 passage we looked at this summer, Jesus says, No one takes my life from me. But I lay it down on my own accord, I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. So the stress there is on his authority, right? He has all authority. He said that before. In fact, he even tells Pilate in John’s gospel, you couldn’t do this, unless I was letting you do this, like the authority is all mine here. And yet this command I received from my father, there’s that tension again, this kind of like lion lamb field that we looked at last week, he has all authority, and yet he has all submission. At the same time. His commitment to the cross to carrying out his Father’s Will is absolute. And so he won’t turn from that goal, which answers the big question that we all have. Why does he stay silent? Well, because part of the unexpected rescue is that he himself can’t be rescued. If he’s going to rescue us, which means he can’t defend himself here. This would be like a marine jumping on a grenade in order to save his platoon. And you’d ask him in the next life, I guess, you know, why didn’t you save yourself jump out of the hole or something? Well, because I couldn’t save them. Unless I gave up my own life. That’s where Jesus is to he needs to lose his trial. So he makes no reply. Not even one word, it says literally, again, just a tremendous irony, the word of God utter is not one word here, which is a great irony in its own right, but it’s even greater. Because Jesus’s silence here is followed by the church’s proclamation like Jesus doesn’t say anything and the church doesn’t stop talking about him. We draw this irony by looking at Pilate actually, because it is fascinating. So Donald Hagner in his commentary on Matthew, he writes this, he says, the dignity of that silence impresses even pilot who could not, however, have known that he was participating in a divine drama of such historical consequence that his own name would thereby be immortalized. Like this is interesting. So I would be willing to bet that most of you in this room, maybe just a handful of you would be accepted and most of you in this room have no idea who got as Mario says, or Cornelius Sula, who are, by the way, really important Roman figures, way more important than, like, if you were to go back and ask Plutarch or somebody like that, like, who are people going to remember Gaius Marius, the first man in Rome or pilot, he’d go who? Like guys, Maurice? I know who was the other guy who said he was governor of some backwater province once like, I have no idea what you’re talking about. Everyone here knows the name of Pilate. Why? Because he was near Jesus. That’s why Jesus was silent. And yet his name has been proclaimed, no word has been more often preached than this. Jesus, Jesus, who is God’s word spoken in creation, but proclaimed in redemption, as well. The word is what John calls him, right, John chapter one. That’s where we’ll be Christmas Eve, by the way, the word he’s the message of God. That’s what that means. What is the message of God that in Christ God is reconciling all things to himself. But we can’t proclaim that word. We can’t proclaim the possibility of redemption, unless he is the silent word here. Which leads us to the second irony in this unexpected rescue, then, Jesus can’t defend himself because he can’t deliver himself which we’ve hinted at already. So second point, Jesus second irony here that Jesus is the undelivered deliver me keep reading in verses 15 to 22. Now it was the governor’s custom at the festival to release a prisoner chosen by the crowd. At that time they had a well known prisoner whose name was Jesus Barabbas. So in the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, Which one do you want me to release to you, Jesus, Barabbas or Jesus who was called the Messiah, for who knew it was out of self interest that they had handed Jesus over to him. While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message don’t have anything to do with that innocent man for have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him. The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd Astra Barabbas, and to have Jesus executed. Which of the two do you want me to release to you as the governor Barabbas? They answered, What shall I do then with Jesus who is called the Messiah? Pilate asked, they all answered, Crucify Him. So Pilate knows that Jesus is not a threat to Rome. So there should be a really easy trial, except that there are political considerations at work. This is one of the really frustrating things about politics, isn’t it? Right? When you see men and women who’ve been elected to office who make terrible, terrible choices, because you know, they’re worried about a primary challenge or something like that. That’s basically where pilot is here. But he sees a way out, kind of a win win for him. And you know, for the the Jewish crowd at least, so every year and it seems as custom predates Pilate, but every year, the Roman governor would release a Jewish prisoner at Passover known as the Passover, amnesty. Really shrewd move politically because it gets everyone chummy right at a time of potential unrest. The past because what’s the Passover celebrating? It’s when God with a mighty outstretched arm delivered Israel from foreign oppression. You can understand why Rome would want to tamp that down a little bit right then. So Pilate stands before the crowd and says, We got two Jesus options here. It is fascinating, by the way that the guy’s name is Jesus. Barabbas. So Jesus very common name Joshua. Right? Very common Jewish name at this time. So first name is Joshua, and then Barabbas, which just means son of my father, tough to be son of anyone else. But there you have it. Okay. So he but he’s Jesus, son of Abba. There’s irony right there, of course, because that’s Jesus. I mean, he’s the one who prays to Abba Father teaches us to pray the same. So to Jesus options, we’ve got Barabbas, who’s an actual insurrectionist. And then the son of Abba, who is actually innocent. pilot knows that the leaders have handed Jesus over to him purely out of self interest out of envy, really, Jesus is not a threat to Roman leadership, but he is a threat to Jewish leadership. He’s a threat to their rule. And that’s his, what Pilate sees is the real problem here, so he’s like, great, again, way out. Surely the people are going to agree, they’ll ask for Jesus who’s called the Messiah. Because if you haven’t noticed so far in the Gospel, Jesus is really popular. The crowds follow him wherever he goes. In fact, pilots like what you hear on Sunday, guy came in on a donkey crowds are crying out, you know, whole Santa, and then they’re like dropping their cloaks down and the grounds are that the donkey doesn’t even have to walk in the dirt. He’s very popular. The crowds will say, Jesus is the Messiah. You know, let’s go with him. So Jesus, the innocent ones gonna be released Barabbas the terrorists gonna stay in jail and pilot gets to save face. It’s a win win win, this is perfect. Even better, actually, because pilots going to have some domestic harmony going as well, since he listened to his wife, who had this really bad dream. She knows he’s innocent. So one more when we’ll come back to the dream in the next section. The only problem with pilots plan is that the crowd is not a representative slice of Israel. Be like rallies today where you know, the polling is not quite the same as it might be in the nation as a whole. It’s a group of like minded people who are all getting really stirred up and agitated to gather. And this crowd is Jerusalem based, which will be different from the Hosanna Palm Sunday crowd, which would be from the outskirts, everyone coming into Jerusalem for Passover. So this crowd is Jerusalem based, which means they’re going to skew towards the Sanhedrin towards the Jewish ruling council. And so this crowd is easily persuaded to ask for Barabbas instead. So what about Jesus? Then? Pilate asks, it’s gonna let him rot in prison. No, no, no, no, that’d be too good for him. They shout, Crucify Him. Now, crucify whom exactly. Jesus who is called the Messiah, says that twice here in this section, verse 17, and verse 22, says what Pilate calls it but think about what’s happening here. Now Pilate doesn’t believe that Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus doesn’t hear Pilate doesn’t care if Jesus is the Messiah, that’s like meaningless to him. But still, it keeps getting said this is like, unwitting a prophecy. At this point. It’s repeated twice to bring out the irony, what is the Messiah, the Messiah is the long expected deliver. He’s the second Moses, who’s going to lead his people Israel out of this foreign oppression. The Messiah comes for this very reason to save His people. And here his people decide to kill him instead. Like there’s the irony. And again, why Jesus is not a threat to Rome, but he is a threat to the religious leaders. He’s a threat to their self rule. That’s the problem. And really, that’s why the religious leaders have a problem with Rome, too, isn’t it? Like what’s wrong with Rome? They’re really good at building aqueducts and roads, you know, like they’re gonna keep the peace and stuff like who’s decent government? I get no, but but they’re telling us how to live and we don’t like that. Of course, none of us like that. That’s the whole problem, right? It’s an issue of autonomy. We just we don’t want anyone to tell us what to do. Whether that’s Rome, or
Lord Jesus. Aw, Tozer put it like this. Decades ago. He says sin has many manifestations, but its essence is one, a moral being created to worship before the throne of God. That’s the dangerous part, right? God’s on the throne, he’s actually King unexpected or otherwise he is King. So a moral being created to worship before the throne of God sits on the throne of his own selfhood. And from that elevated position declares, I am that sin. I don’t want God, I would like to be my own God. I don’t want a king. I think I could rule my own life just fine. So why did this unexpected King come? This king came to save those who claimed his throne. That’s remarkable. Where most kings wage war to reclaim their throne, Christ waged war against our rebellion to reclaim us. That’s the wonder that we celebrated last week right as lion he conquers our sin. But as lamb he covers our sins so that we are not destroyed, even as our sin is. So we have a stunning picture of the gospel in this scene, because the guilty is set free, while the innocent is condemned to die in his place. That’s the substitution that’s at the heart of the gospel message. Barabbas has committed the crime sedition, for which the Romans will shortly crucify the innocent Christ.
In the same way that we are guilty of the sin for which God’s wrath will shortly be poured out on the sinless Christ. So Barabbas is the picture of the gospel BRABUS received freedom repeat reprieve grace, when Pilate grants him amnesty in Jesus place BRABUS gets a second chance. He’s not killed for his crimes. He gets a second chance because Christ didn’t get a first chance. The blows hammered upon Jesus’s back were meant for him. nails should have held him to that tree the grave should have embraced him Not, instead it could not hold Jesus. nd Rembrandt’s painting, the raising of the cross depicts the raising of the cross. So you know Jesus is being crucified actively in there. They’re lifting him up at this point. And what’s interesting about the painting is that Rembrandt has painted himself into the scene. He is one of the executioner’s because he knows that even separated by all those centuries, he participated in the murder of the innocent Christ, because it’s because of a his sin that Jesus was there. That’s what we need to do. We need to paint ourselves into this scene as well. How do we do that? Put yourself in Barabbas shoes. That’s where we are in this story, right? This is the gospel, what you and I and Barabbas should have suffered, Christ suffered instead, in our place. So there’s the great irony. We need an unexpected King to save us in an unexpected way by refusing to save himself. Like Nemo, he climbs into the net with other fish. The only difference is that unlike Nemo, he stays there. He dies, he is the deliver because he was not delivered. This is exactly the way they mock him later. If you were to drop down in chapter 27, verse 42, as Jesus on the cross there mocking He saved others, they said, but he can’t save himself. He’s the king of Israel, let him come down now from the cross. And we will believe in him they’ve missed the point entirely. If he were to come down from that cross, he would not be worthy of believing in he would have brought no salvation for us is because he did not deliver himself that we worship Him leads to the last irony in this unexpected rescue. The condemned is the only innocence in the story. In in in history, the condemned innocent, let’s keep reading. Matthew 27, verses 23 to 26. So they all answered, crucify him. Why? What crime has he committed as Pilate, they shouted all the louder crucify him. When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but instead an uproar was starting he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. I am innocent of this man’s blood. He said it is your responsibility. All the people answered His blood is on us and on our children. And he released BRABUS to them but he had Jesus flogged and handed him over to be crucified. What crime has he committed? To the question Pilate keeps asking, he’s done nothing deserving of death. Drag pilots at the point now where he’s going to look, I’m not even sure he’s done anything worthy of punishment. Like you’re gonna have to throw me a bone here. If you want me to condemn him, I’m gonna need some sort of pretense. Some excuses is like, you know, the cop who pulls over is when a suspect of a crime because the tail lights out. That’s what he’s looking for. Like, I don’t need to know the whole gun, like, just give me the tail light being out so I can pull them over. And we can go from there. Even my wife knows. Right? She had this dream that confirms his innocence. The word that’s used there actually is have nothing to do with that righteous man. Like we have supernatural confirmation. Jesus is innocent. God could have rearranged the stars at this moment so that it spelled it out and like blinking supernovas. Jesus is innocent, it would not have mattered. The crowd doesn’t even bother with the question. What crime has he committed? Crucify him. Why are we worried about charges kill him now? We’ll sort it out later, because that’s how mobs work. Right? This is mob justice. So they shout crucify, which is interesting, by the way, because they demand not just Jesus’s death, but they demand a certain type of death. They specify the death, they want him to die. And it is a shocking death. Like crucifixion is so horrible. Romans wouldn’t even talk about it in polite company. Cicero tells us and it couldn’t be used on Roman citizens. Like you could try to assassinate, you know, a Roman senator or something like that they would kill you. Yes, but not by crucifixion. There was no crime you could commit as a Roman that would get you crucifixion. It was a deterrent used on the lowest of the low. It was equally horrifying for Jews for different reasons. Deuteronomy 21 Verse 23. Anyone who is hung on a pole is under God’s curse. So if you’re crucified that shows that God has cursed you. That’s why they want him crucified. That’s why they specify the means. This would be proof that the blast femur has been cursed by God that he has been dammed by God. And Paul, the apostle says, Exactly, that’s exactly what happens. Galatians 313 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us. And he goes on to quote Deuteronomy 2123. Right there. This is the whole point of the Gospel, Jesus takes our place under the curse so that we can take his place under the blessing of God. Well, Powell is just reached the point where he’s tired of beating his head against the wall. It there’s an uproar coming, he can feel it, he’s not willing to risk it. So he literally washes his hands of it. Right, he wants to be innocent also. But of course, this is a perversion of justice, like hand sanitizer is not going to help you. Here he is, in fact, in charge, he should have declared Jesus innocent he’s unwilling to. But the Jewish leaders are also guilty, of course, and they take the blood guilt on themselves quite willingly. Now, this is a tough verse, in light of history. And even in light of what’s happening today. This verse has been used to justify what we sanitized by calling anti semitism, but what is really just Jew hatred. And that has been practiced even by those who would claim Christ throughout the centuries. So we got to talk about it, even though it’s a little bit off my main point here. What do we have to say about this? First of all, this does not say, you know, his blood will be on all Jews everywhere for all time. That is not what the verse says. It’s a small group of people. There are a few 100 who are gathered here, probably, at this point. And we know that because you know, there’s some other Jews in Bible like Peter, John, Paul, Okay, I’ll stop there. Okay, so one small group, it’s also for one generation. It doesn’t say, but are we behind us and our children and their children to 1000 Generations, which you can find in the Old Testament plenty knows one generation, which is actually interesting, because what happens within one generation of this moment, the fall of Jerusalem, where these people live, that’s the punishment right there. Okay. And even if it were, by the way, if I’ve completely misread all of this, which I haven’t, I’m sure. God also says things like Vengeance is Mine, says the Lord. Like it is not our business to punish people for crimes against God, God will take care of that. Oh, and among Jesus’s final words, from the cross where he’s been cursed by God, our words like Forgive them, Father, the Roman executioners, that religious leaders forgive them Father, for they do not know what they are doing. Which is exactly right. Because they are condemning an innocent man foolishly. So again, let’s step back like why are they so hell-bent on destroying Jesus? Because Jesus is an unexpected King, and he’s bringing an unexpected rescue and they don’t like it. They wanted a deliverer. They wanted a long expected Messiah, they wanted him to be clad in armor. They wanted him to toss off the Roman yoke, so that Israel could be restored to its former glory under David, what a tiny vision by the way, compared to what God has for them. But because Jesus is an unexpected King, accomplishing an unexpected rescue, they reject him utterly.
They’re as dumb as the fish trying to swim out of the net, instead of trying to swim down. And by where the analogy is apt, you know that, spiritually speaking, we come into this world dumber than fish. Because fish obey their makers voice. We’re the only ones who tried to kill our maker, dumber than fish. But why? Because we want what we want when we want it. And that’s what the religious leaders are doing here. So here’s part of the wonder of the gospels that Jesus brings us the rescue we need, not the rescue we want. It would be a little bit like a parent with a high school student who’s struggling in honors math. The parents have a little powwow and stuff that come and sit down the kid and say, hey, you know, we’re not going to have you drop down to regular or something like that. We’re gonna keep you an honors class, instead of having you drop the class and have you dropped this extracurricular because we know what you want to do. We’ve seen what God’s made you to do we know that you need this class, we’re gonna get you the help that you need. We’re gonna free up some time so you can work harder on him. The kids going no, no, no, no, no, no. Like, I don’t really like honors math, but I’m a big fan of extracurriculars. It’s the rescue. We need, not the rescue we want. What is it we want? We want God to change our circumstances so that we are free to pursue vainly happiness apart from him. Instead, God often leaves us in circumstances like Roman oppression, for example, that will teach us to cry out and desperation for the only one who will satisfy our souls. As well as Elliot said, it’s a quote I’ve said before, I will say again, the secret is Christ in me, not me. He in different circumstances, that’s the rescue we need. But it’s still not what we want. We are a lot more like the religious leaders than we care to admit. And part of that is because of this rescue implies our guilt. And we don’t like that part. Right? It’s unexpected, this whole substitution thing because we thought we were good, or at the very least, we could get good like, give us a little more time, we can make a few tweaks, we will get there. But Jesus had to die, because we are not good, not good enough and not going to become good enough. Like this passage makes shockingly clear that an innocent man goes to his death. It is a brutal injustice, because this is the only truly innocent man who has ever lived. But that happens so that guilty men and women like you and me can escape death, which by the way, is also an injustice, or injustice. When we condemn an innocent person, it’s also an injustice when the guilty go free. It is an injustice that we get to go free, but because it’s better than justice, it is grace. To have any hope of salvation, we need our unexpected King to save us in an unexpected way. At the salvation that Jesus accomplishes, it comes in those same, you know, admirable conjunction of diverse excellencies that we talked about last week, Jonathan Edwards, great quote, we see you to get right here. Here’s the man of sorrows, who for the joy set before him endured that sorrow. Here’s the King of kings and Lord of lords and willing submission to his father and to the Roman government. And here’s the only innocent man who ever lived, declared guilty before a mob. Why? Because for the guilty to be welcomed as innocent, we needed the innocent to be condemned as guilty. So how do we respond to ways that I can think of, but it’s a single word really, submission? Submission is the proper response here. So submission in two ways. First, is submit to the rescue. And then second, submit to the response. We walk you through those. So first, submit to the rescue. What I mean by that is accept the rescue that Jesus offers in the way that he offers us. Alright, so picture the scene, there’s a catastrophic flood and there’s a a wealthier woman, let’s say who’s there. She’s on the second story of her house at this point, because the first ones flooded out and whatnot. The boat comes up, you know, rickety little watercraft. It’s filled with all sorts of people. And she doesn’t want to get in why? Who want to leave her house behind? It’s got all of her nice things in it. They’re ruined now, but still, she likes him. Plus, it’s still raining outside hence the flood. She was one of mess up her hair or nice clothes. You know, she’s got the leather handbag, her shoes are suede. You want water does the suede, it’s gonna ruin it. And look at the people in the boat. Look at the people in the boat. These are the riffraff. These are people she looks down on. These are the people who are her enemies. That’s the perspective of the Pharisees. But all too often, that’s the perspective of us as well. Right? And the analogy at least we are literally in the same boat as other people. And the Pharisees are looking and going no, there are tax collectors and prostitutes in that boat. I’m not getting in. And we feel the same way. We prefer self-help. Why? When the boats right there, we prefer self-help. Because if it’s my salvation, then it’s my glory. Then I’ve earned it right? I did it. And so the woman, like so many of us, sets off swimming, which ruins her suede pumps. still okay, sets off swimming. But here’s the thing you set off swimming and you will not reach those golden shores. It doesn’t look the way she wanted it to our salvation doesn’t look the way we want it to. It doesn’t flatter us at all to know that should have been me on the cross, not just suffering the wrath of Rome but suffering the wrath of God because of my sin. That should have been me. That’s not good news. But there is better news in it. It didn’t deserve it, couldn’t earn it, and I still get it. We’re guilty. But we can be welcomed as innocent because the only innocent was condemned as guilty. So submit to the rescue by receiving the offered grace. And even today, the boat is there. The hand is outstretched own it and own your guilt receive the salvation submit to the rescue. Second, submit to the response. Speaking to those of us who’ve gotten in the boat already happily, the what I mean by this is submit to the way the world responds to those who seek to follow Christ. Jesus says at one point like of course the world hates you and is going to hate you. It hated me like Look what they did to Jesus. Why would they do anything? different to those of us who claim Jesus. So submit to the response. I’m not saying we don’t ever stand up for our rights. There’s a time and a place for all that kind of stuff. But we can certainly and should certainly emulate Jesus’s joyful sorrow and confident resignation. The example of Paul throughout the book of acts like read through at some time, especially in rapid succession, you’ll see the story play out over and over again. Paul keeps getting a hold before the magistrates, Roman magistrates, again, the Roman magistrates keep recognizing his innocence. Just sounds like this is a Jewish Theological issue. And that’s the only thing here and yet he keeps getting left in chains. Because they want to bribe or you know, whatever other reason that is happening there. But the key is that middle one, his innocence is recognized. The key for us is to make sure the charges don’t stick. We’re not going to be perfectly innocent in this life. That’s not for us. But we should certainly be growing in righteousness, holiness, Christ likeness, and it should be obvious to those around us, even those of us who don’t care for Christ. Like if you’re accused of being hateful, maybe because you, you hold to the biblical standard for sexuality, for example, the people in your life should go. But it’s not true. He’s the most loving person I know. She’s the most loving person I look at all that they do, even for those who disagree with them. They’re not hateful. I’m sorry, they’re not. The car charges shouldn’t stick. This is the way Peter puts it Peter, who gets hauled before magistrates and is crucified, much like his Lord, he says this shortly before his death, but even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. Because again, you’re doing what Jesus did. Do not fear their threats, do not be frightened. What are they going to do to you kill you? Big deal, you’re going to die anyway. And by the way, resurrection from the dead, like we’re gonna be okay. If you’re the one who can destroy body and soul not just the body do not fear their threats. Do not be frightened, but in your hearts, revere Christ as Lord, He’s the King, even if he’s an unexpected one. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asked you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. Keeping a clear conscience making sure the charges don’t stick so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. We can be willing to be falsely accused to suffer unjustly so that we can proclaim the silent word. Like in following Jesus, we get into the net also does something different for sure, but we get in the net. Also, for the joy set before Him, Jesus endured the cross for the joy set before us we can endure slander, so that we can see God’s rescue unfold in the lives of the men and women around us. And that is the word I want to leave you with today. If you took nothing else away, take this away in terms of what to do proclaim the good news. I keep saying to have any hope of salvation, because we have the HOPE of salvation, right? We have the HOPE of salvation, because our unexpected King has saved us in an unexpected way. Tell people about that. Let’s pray to him now. Lord, we worship you as our unexpected king. And we bow humbly before you because we have seen our unexpected salvation. It wasn’t the rescue we wanted. Because we wanted to be left in our sin and rebellion against you. We wanted to be left in our pretended autonomy. But it was the rescue we needed. Because there is no salvation that way. There is not the fullness of joy, of a hope of peace, of love, of an eternity with you which is our highest good apart from Christ’s rescue. So humble us again, even now, so that we can recognize our guilt and embrace the innocent one who was condemned as guilty in our place, so that we can be welcomed before you as righteous in your eyes, not because of anything we have done but because of what he did for us and Lord, with news that good shouldn’t be kept to ourselves. Would you give us the courage, the love and the opportunity to share that news with others even this week we pray in Christ’s name, amen.

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