Sermons

BEHOLD THE MAN

Sun, Mar 21, 2021
Teacher: Mark Hull
Passage: John 19:1-22
Duration:26 mins 46 secs

Message text

BEHOLD the MAN
John 19: 1 – 22

INTRO:  A group of people volunteered to do a parachute jump for charity. On their first day of training, the instructor made an important point about preparing for landing at 300 feet off the ground. One woman asked “How do you know when you’re at 300 feet?” The instructor smiled and said: “Good question. At 300 feet you can recognize the faces of people on the ground.” The woman thought about this for a moment and then said: “What happens if there’s nobody there I know?”

Recognizing people... it’s an important part of living. It’s embarrassing when somebody comes up to you and they know you but you’re pretty sure you don’t know them!
In our text today, we have a number of people who don’t know WHO Jesus is. “The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and struck him with their hands.” John 19:2-3
THEY DIDN’T REALLY BELIEVE HE WAS A KING... BUT HE IS!

“The Jews answered (Pilate), ‘We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.’” John 19:6-7
THEY DIDN’T BELIEVE HE WAS THE SON OF GOD... BUT HE IS!

“Pilate said to them, ‘Shall I crucify your King?’ The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king but Caesar.’” John 19:15

THEY DIDN’T BELIEVE JESUS WAS THEIR KING and yet Philippians 4:9-10 tells us the day is coming that “At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
The soldiers, the Jews and the chief priests none of them recognized who Jesus was! But there’s one man on the scene who seemed to get it right. One man who spoke as if he almost knew who Jesus was. Pontius Pilate
He stands before the masses and declares: “Behold the man!” John 19:5
And again, Pilate speaks and says: “Behold your King!” John 19:14
And he asks: “Would you have me crucify your King?” John 19:15
Each phrase has power. Each phrase has a deep a powerful meaning. Each phrase was spoken as if they were the very words of God. It’s almost like... Pilate is reading from a script. In fact, I think he was reading from a Script... God’s script.
Acts 4:27-28 declared that “Herod and Pontius Pilate ... did what (God’s) power and will had decided beforehand should happen.”

You see, there was a script and Pilate and Herod were reading from that same script. It was a script God had written LONG beforehand. And this wouldn’t have been the first time that somebody read from God’s script: In John 11:48-51 we’re told “Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke up, ‘... You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.” He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation’”
Caiaphas didn’t speak on his own he was reading from the script. And I don’t think Pilate said what he said (that day) on his own. I personally believe that the words that Pilate spoke that day were the words that God spoke... through Pilate

For example, Pilate stood before the crowd & declared “BEHOLD THE MAN!”
Now, this puzzled me for a little while. The phrase didn’t seem to make any sense! Why Pilate would say that? It just doesn’t seem to ... mean anything.

Then someone noted that Pilate didn’t want to crucify Jesus. Pilate saw this whole episode as totally unnecessary and irrational. He didn’t understand the hatred that drove these people. And so, Pilate’s made this declaration “HERE IS THE MAN you find so dangerous and threatening: can you not see he is harmless and somewhat ridiculous?”

Essentially, Pilate is mocking the Jews for their cruelty, and he’d like to shame them into changing their minds. And that’s probably what drove Pilate to say what HE said. But there’s another layer of meaning to that statement: “BEHOLD THE MAN.” There’s a layer of meaning that I believe GOD wants us to see.
You see, without realizing it, Pilate had quoted a Messianic prophecy from Zechariah 6:12 “BEHOLD THE MAN whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.”
Jesus... was THAT man! He’d come to fulfill even that prophecy from Zechariah: “Behold The Man.”
It’s also interesting that, when Jesus stood before Pilate, it was on a Friday morning. Friday. Does anyone know what day of the week that is? It’s the 6th day of the week, isn’t it? Do you recall what God created on the 6th day of creation? MAN! Genesis 2:7 tells us “the LORD God formed THE MAN of dust...”

That MAN was ADAM.
And the Bible teaches us that “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam (Jesus) became a life-giving spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45) And it goes on to say: Because that FIRST Adam chose to sin “... by A MAN came death, (and) by A MAN (Jesus) has also come the resurrection of the dead.
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” (I Corinthians 15:21-22)
You see, Jesus, was the 2nd Adam. He was THE MAN who took away my sin and disgrace. He was the ADAM who defeated death and gave me everlasting life!
So... what God is saying to us here is this: DO YOU BELIEVE THAT? Do you believe that Jesus is “The Man” who took away your sin and disgrace, and has brought you eternal life? BEHOLD (says God) THIS IS THE MAN!... Do you believe in Him!

Pilate also asks the Jews “Would you have me crucify your King?” It’s like he’s pleading with the Jews to reconsider their decision. But notice how the Jews respond: “We have no King but Caesar” John 19:15
We have no king but Caesar? Seriously?

Now, just a history lesson for those of you who don’t know this - the Jews hated the Romans, and they despised Caesar. Rome controlled and dominated Israel, and the people longed to be an independent nation where they could be in charge of their own lives. they were not a free people – and they hated that.
And yet, when asked if they would crucify their King (Jesus) they basically said “we’d rather be enslaved than accept Jesus.”

ILLUS: I am pretty sure that many of us have seen that kind of attitude numerous times. We may of even had a troubled and miserable young man tell us – “Your Christianity may work for you but it doesn’t work for me” In other words, “I’d rather suffer MY way. I’d rather be miserable all MY life than to turn to Jesus for help.” He wants to freed from his unhappiness, but he doesn’t want Jesus’ help.
And yet Jesus said: "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who practices sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever.
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:34-36) In other words – if you want to be freed from your burdens and troubles... turn to Jesus! If the Son sets you free, you’ll be free indeed!
Lastly, let’s take a look Pilate’s words: “Behold Your King!” (PAUSE) Now, I don’t think Pilate really thought that Jesus was a King. I think Pilate was just annoyed by the Jewish leaders and he wanted to get their goat. And so he says “BEHOLD YOUR KING” ... and the Jews take the bait! “They cried out, "Away with him, away with him. Crucify him!”

So, when Jesus hung on the cross, Pilate tweaked them again. Pilate had a plaque placed above Jesus head declaring "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." (John 19:19) Pilate wanted to remind them:
“You wanted to Crucify this man, Then KNOW that you have crucified your King.”
And that was the message that God wanted the Jews to remember: “You crucified your king!” Once again, I believe God inspired Pilate to make that statement, because God brought that topic up again about a month later. The day was Pentecost – and a huge number of Jews had gathered in Jerusalem to observe that feast. God got their attention when the Spirit came upon the Apostles, and they began to speak in languages they’d never learned telling of the mighty works of God. It was so unusual - that a large crowd gathered.
Peter began to preach to them explaining from Old Testament prophecies that Jesus was their Messiah - the KING they had waited so long for. And then, Peter told them, “YOU CRUCIFIED HIM!”
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know
— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, YOU CRUCIFIED AND KILLED by the hands of lawless men.” Acts 2:22-23

Later, in Acts 3, Peter is driving home the same point to a different crowd: “The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him... YOU KILLED THE AUTHOR OF LIFE, whom God raised from the dead.” Acts 3:13 & 15
God drove it home, over and over again – YOU crucified you King. Did you realize that that’s what Scripture says to you and I did? It was because of our sins that Christ was on the cross. In 1 Peter 2:24 we’re told “(Jesus) himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
It’s important that we understand that truth: Jesus died to take away YOUR sins... and MINE.

ILLUS: Back in the 1600s there was a famous Dutch painter named Rembrandt. He did numerous famous paintings but there was one that particularly unique called “The Raising of the Cross.” There at the base of the cross Rembrandt painted... HIMSELF. (We showed the artwork on the overhead with Rembrandt circled in yellow). Rembrandt wanted his audience to understand that he believed that it was his sins that put Christ on the cross.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, were you there when they crucified my Lord?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?
Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)
Tremble
Were you there when they nailed Him to the cross?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
Were you there when they laid Him in the tomb?
(Ohh, sometimes it causes me to tremble)

CLOSE: Now, one last thought here: Jesus died on the cross for our sins, but He died there because He VOLUNTEERED to be crucified! It was His idea. He died there so that our sins could be forgiven and so we could be changed. Look again at 1 Peter 2:24 “(Jesus) himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, (SO) THAT we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”
Jesus didn’t do what He did because He hated you! He didn't do it because He thought "I've got to do that, but I don't want to do that, and I don't even like these people!" No. He died on the cross because YOU mattered to Him.
"For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." He LOVED YOU.
You see, Jesus wasn’t nailed to the Cross BY our sins! He volunteered to be nailed there... FOR our sins. Jesus freely offered His life in exchange for yours and mine; because He wanted to free us from our sins.
That's the whole concept here. He died so that you could be free. And the way in which you accept His free gift is simple. It's not complex. He's not making you jump though hoops. It's very simple. In fact it talks about in Acts chapter 2. You want to change your life? Do you want to be forgiven of your sins? Well, all you have to do is “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Acts 2:38
The idea is - it's talked about in Romans 6 - that just as Jesus died FOR your sins, you choose to die TO your past.
You say "I don't want to be that person anymore!" And then, just as Jesus was buried in the ground, you allow yourself to be buried in a watery grave. You join with Jesus. Jesus died and was buried for you. And now you die (to your sins) and are buried with Him. But you don't stay there! You see, Jesus didn't stay there. He rose from the grave to give us a new life. And so, YOU rise from that watery grave to "walk in newness of life." It's that simple.
INVITATION

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