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Jesus: Despised and Rejected (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg
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March 15, 2024 4:00 am

Jesus: Despised and Rejected (Part 2 of 2)

Truth for Life / Alistair Begg

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March 15, 2024 4:00 am

Although innocent of any crime, Jesus was despised and abused and suffered at the hands of blatantly corrupt authorities. Why was the Savior hated and considered a threat, then and now? Join Alistair Begg as he explores the answer on Truth For Life.



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This listener-funded program features the clear, relevant Bible teaching of Alistair Begg. Today’s program and nearly 3,000 messages can be streamed and shared for free at tfl.org thanks to the generous giving from monthly donors called Truthpartners. Learn more about this Gospel-sharing team or become one today. Thanks for listening to Truth For Life!





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Although Jesus was innocent of any crime, He was the victim of death. He was the victim of abuse and blatant corruption on the part of both Jewish and Roman authorities. Why was He considered a threat? Why do so many today continue to hate Him?

We'll look for answers today on Truth for Life. Alistair Begg is teaching from the very end of Luke chapter 22 and the first verses of Luke chapter 23. So the scheming gives way in chapter 23 to a classic example of what we might refer to as political maneuvering. Political maneuvering. First of all, on the part of the Sanhedrin, and then on the part of Pilate. Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate, and they began to accuse him, saying, We have found this man subverting our nation. Notice how they work together. You say, Well, is there any surprise in this?

Well, actually, there is. Because this company of individuals who were now united in their desire to see Jesus put to death were not big buddies. There were all kinds of declensions and divisions among them, not least of all, perhaps classically, between the Saducian party and the Pharisee party. And they disagreed radically over points of doctrine. In fact, they detested each other. But suddenly, those who do not like each other are united in a shared hatred for somebody else. Funny how that works, isn't it?

You can see it even in an office. Two people that never discuss things with one another. People who do not get along with one another. When the opportunity comes to topple somebody that it would be in the best interest of both of them to topple, then they're prepared to bury the hatchet of their own animosity in order that they might unite to bring down this figure whom they both despise.

And that's what's happening here. They were prepared to set aside their differences and, with subtle cunning and abominable deceitfulness, to make sure that Jesus was put to death. Is it much of a reach to suggest to you this morning that the same thing continues to happen on the stage of world religions?

Are you noticing the way in which those who, in the religions of the world, disagree radically with one another at points of significant doctrine—whether it is Islam, or Buddhism, or Hinduism, or Shintoism, or Confucianism—disagreeing with one another at all kinds of points, seeking to substantiate their own claims and lead their own people? Isn't it interesting that one of the only points of unanimity that you can find on the stage of world religion is a unified hatred of Jesus of Nazareth? A hatred of Jesus of Nazareth—not necessarily a hatred of organized Christianity, not necessarily a hatred of formalized Roman Catholicism, or a hatred of Protestant liberalism, but a hatred of Jesus of Nazareth, of all things we will not tolerate. We will not tolerate this Christ who stands on the stage of human history and says, I am the way, and the truth, and the life, and no one comes to the Father but by me.

We will have none of that. And those who actually are at loggerheads with one another today unite in order, as it were, to crucify Christ all over again and to drive him from the place of influence and power, which is his by sovereign right. So Jesus, having confessed to be the Messiah, they then interpret this for Pilate.

Look at the end of verse 2. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar, and he claims to be Christ, a king. In other words, Pilate, we don't want you to miss this.

I know you don't really care much about this Messiah business, but we want you to know what it means. If he is Christ, then he is king. If he is king, then, Pilate, Caesar has a problem. And if Caesar has a problem, Pilate, you've got a problem. And we are here today to suggest to you, Pilate, that you deal with this problem. He stirs up disaffection and insurrection.

He encourages the people to oppose the payment of taxes to Caesar, and yet she claims to be a king. So it's no surprise, then, that Pilate's first question is, Is that true, Jesus? Verse 3, so Pilate asked Jesus, Are you the king of the Jews?

Now, since we don't have a recording of this, we don't know the intonation in his voice. I've been intrigued by this this week. I've been going around my room asking the question in all kinds of different ways, with a rising inflection and a lowering inflection and with incredulity and with curiosity and with animosity and so on. There are a million ways that you can say, Are you the king of the Jews? And it's conjecture on my part, but I wonder whether he looks at this figure, this bound Galilean carpenter.

And actually, in the Greek, the first word is you. It's not, Are you? He says, You? You're the king of the Jews? I mean, is this what I'm supposed to be worrying about?

You? That may not be that. Maybe he said, Are you the king of the Jews?

I don't think so. Pilate hadn't got to this position because he was inadequate or incapable. No, Pilate was a sophisticate. Pilate was a political animal. Pilate would probably have risen to the highest realm of political maneuvering in any generation and at any time by dint of his personality and his capacity to read things.

Because, you see, Pilate obviously sees through the accusation of these Jews. He is sharp enough to catch their plot. But he's not morally strong enough to do what should be done. He knows this is a fraud. But he somehow or another cannot find it in himself to follow through on that basis—to simply say, Listen, this is a crock that you're bringing before me here. I want all you religious authorities to clear off, and I want you, Jesus, whoever and whatever you are, to get back out into the thoroughfare of life. But he doesn't do it. Sharp enough to figure it out and too weak to do what he ought to do.

Can I pause and make an application here again? I think there are some of you who come routinely to part sight—intelligent, thoughtful, shrewd enough to figure it out. You're not going to buy the nonsense that all roads lead to heaven like they lead to Timbuktu. You've already concluded that one way may be right, and the rest may be wrong. Or every way may be wrong. But you're too smart to conclude that every way is right.

So you've narrowed your options down sufficiently, and you may even have come to a convinced conviction in your own mind concerning the truth of Jesus. But still, you do not bow beneath his lordship. Still, you do not believe in him. Still, you will not bow your will to him. And the reason is, you're not brave enough.

You're not tough enough. You're frightened to go back into the laboratory at Case and have your eminent scientific friends say, you don't mean it. You have not capitulated to the notion that Jesus of Nazareth is your Savior and friend, and you just can't get there. Or that your business colleagues who have regarded you as astute and influential, you just can't imagine having to say to them on a business trip, well, you know, I believe that Jesus is my Savior and my Lord and my friend. You're smart enough to get to where you need to be to believe, but you're not brave enough to believe.

I issue you a challenge today. Take your stand with Christ. Do not do a pilot on the issue of what you know to be factual, staring you in the face.

You can see through the fraudulence of every other suggestion. But still, you are an unconverted believer. Well, if there was a rush to judgment on the part of the Sanhedrin, it was certainly equally speedy, the verdict that came from Pilate. Verse 4, I find no basis for a charge against this man. You can imagine them saying, there's nothing I can find wrong here.

He seems harmless enough to me. But this wasn't what they wanted to hear. They're not about to wait for the court of appeals to be called.

They don't want to lose the momentum here. During the night, they had arrested him. They had begun to formulate their strategy. They had called their counsel together in the morning. They had got an incriminating statement out of him. They had hauled him before Pilate, and everything seemed to be going fine. And now Pilate issues his verdict, and they say, Sorry, I don't find a problem here. And so they protest immediately. They insist.

General charge. Look at this. He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. Oh, yes, he does. There was truth in that, wasn't there?

Not in the way they were suggesting, not in terms of an insurrection. But sure, he was stirring up people. Stirred up blind Bartimaeus, didn't he?

Son of David, have mercy on me! And Jesus healed him, and he went down the road. Stirred up the community inane when the funeral procession was going down the street, and the widow whose son was on the funeral bier was encountered by this Galilean carpenter who stopped the funeral procession and reached out and began speaking to a corpse. That would stir up the community. Somebody stops a funeral procession on 91 and opens the lid of the coffin and starts talking to the corpse.

That would probably make the news. Yes, he has stirred the place up. Raised the boy up, gave him back to his mother. He made the blind to see, the lame to walk, the deaf to hear.

Children loved him. Sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors, little cheats like Zacchaeus said, you know, I love it when Jesus preaches. I'm sick of the synagogue stuff. Same old stuff all again and again. Nothing that touches me where I live.

No impact on my life. But when I hear this Jesus of Nazareth, man, he stirs me. So actually, what they were saying was in part true. He stirs people up all over Judea, and he does it by his teaching. This isn't the circus come to town. This is Jesus teaching. And then they happened to mention that he started in Galilee, and he's come all the way here. This has been going on ever since he started in Galilee.

Galilee, ding, ding, ding. Pilate, who has a dilemma, right? Pilate's got a situation before him. He knows Jesus isn't guilty, but he's not brave enough to discharge him. He knows that their charges are bogus, but he's not strong enough to tell them. He knows that they are consumed with the thought of the death of Jesus. He knows that it could be bad if Caesar gets a hold of the news that somehow or another a potential insurrectionist has been set free by his Roman governor. But he doesn't know what to do. But when Galilee comes into the picture, he immediately thinks.

Remember what I said. He didn't get his job because he was a yahoo. He didn't end up in this position of influence coming up the Cuyahoga River on a banana skin. This fellow was good.

He can think on his feet. And this has been going on ever since he started this business in Galilee. Galilee, here's an out. Here's an opportunity to pass the buck.

Here's an opportunity maybe to make a buck. Galilee. Now, what do we know about Galilee? We know that Galilee is under the jurisdiction of Herod. And what do we know about Herod? We know that Herod is in town.

How nice to know that Herod is in town. What do we also know about Herod? We know that Herod and Pilate weren't friends. Pilate had overstepped his mark a couple of times, and he was in Herod's bad books.

So, here is a masterful opportunity for political maneuvering. Why don't I take Jesus of Nazareth, send him up to Herod? That way, Herod will say, Hey, that was nice of Pilate. He recognizes I'm an influential figure, and at the same time, it will give me the opportunity to wash my hands of the whole sorry mess, and Herod can make the decision about Jesus of Nazareth. Why don't I send this tape to my sister and see if she wants to become a Christian?

I don't need to make this decision today. Now, since it was the Passover, apparently Herod had gone up to Jerusalem. He'd go there not to participate in the celebrations but to observe them. Because after all, he was a politician as well, and he knew that it was important for him to show up so that his constituency would say, Well, that was very nice of Herod to come up here and make sure that he put in an appearance at our very special religious celebrations. So on hearing that men had started in Galilee, he said, Well, is he a Galilean? Jesus is a Galilean, therefore he's under Herod's jurisdiction.

Therefore, why don't we send him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time? So the camera is about to cut, and the cut is just going to take us and close us on the back of Jesus, and it's going to give us a frontal picture with Jesus walking into the jurisdiction of Herod. Now, how should I finish?

You say, Well, don't ask us, just finish. Okay, and let me finish with two points of application, very simple and straightforward. First of all, a word to those who do not believe. The unbelief that we have just considered here on the part of these individuals is alive and well in Cleveland. Despite the curiosity of men and women and their willingness to acknowledge that Jesus of Nazareth was a fine ethical teacher and a good man and apparently a prophet, men and women remain unprepared to acknowledge that he is the Savior and that they are sinners, unwilling to acknowledge that they deserve everlasting punishment, and that in the death of Jesus there was the vicarious sacrifice that was designed in order to satisfy the justice of God and to reconcile an offended God to the sinner.

And so the unbelief that turned its back on Christ, that refused what the Father said concerning his Son, is alive and well in suburban Cleveland. And this morning, he remains despised and rejected by men. Again, let me point out to you, he's not despised as a moral teacher. He's not despised as a figure of history. He's not despised as someone whose ethical impact is something that a society could do well to pay attention to. He is despised and rejected as the sole sacrifice for sin. Question? Is he despised and rejected by you?

And if so, are you prepared to do something about that? Well, that's the application to the person who doesn't believe. What about the application to the person who does believe?

Well, it's very simple and straightforward. We should take heart by realizing that when Satan threw everything he could at Christ—and here we really have the master plot of hell—when Satan did everything he could to destroy God's plan and God's purpose, his schemes weren't simply counted at every point by a different or a better plan. His schemes were actually woven into the plan and made to serve its ends. Peter grasps this and speaks it in Acts 2, when he says, you know, this Lord Jesus was delivered up according to the plan and purpose of God, and he was crucified at the hands of wicked men. It's not unusual for me to feel or to meet others who feel that somehow or another the pendulum has swung dreadfully against those men and women of faith, those who embrace Christianity, those who want to follow Jesus. My generation is saying, now, what will it be for our grandchildren?

That's what they say now. And I find myself saying, that's what I heard my parents saying, and we're living it, and so on. But what we need to realize is this, that nothing is out of control, and nothing is going to get out of control, because Jesus reigns, and he reigned from his cross, and he reigns now from a throne, and everything is worked out according to the eternal counsel of his will. You're listening to Alistair Begg on Truth for Life with the conclusion of a message he's titled, Jesus Despised and Rejected. Keep listening, Alistair returns to close today's program with prayer. If you have benefited from Alistair's teaching on the events surrounding the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, keep in mind you can stream or download or share any of the messages in this study for free. The series is titled, A Study in Luke.

We're currently in volume 13, we're currently in volume 13, and you'll find the series on our website at truthforlife.org. You can also purchase Alistair's teaching through the entire Gospel of Luke. That's hours and hours of solid Bible teaching on a single USB.

It's perfect for listening to on a road trip or on your daily commute to work. The Study in Luke USB can be purchased for just $5 at truthforlife.org slash store. Now if you listen regularly to Truth for Life, you will hear me mention our mission to teach the Bible with clarity and relevance to listeners all around the world. And as we keep that mission in focus, we're excited to update you on a partnership that we now enjoy with a team of international publishers and ministries. These partners are actively translating Alistair's books into their own languages for distribution throughout their countries. Just to give you a sense of what's being done, let me tell you about our partner Andrea at Coram Deo Publishing in Italy. His team has already translated four of Alistair's books into Italian, Pray Big, Brave by Faith, The Hand of God, and volume one of the Truth for Life devotional. They're currently working on translating volume two of the Truth for Life devotional. Andrea is so excited to make these books available in Italy.

He recently told us that only one percent of Italians consider themselves evangelical Christians. He said while books for individual believers, pastors, churches, and students are plentiful in the UK or in the U.S., in Italy the situation is quite desperate as there are very few biblically sound books available in Italian. Now let me just add here, if you'd like to purchase these titles by Alistair in Italian, we don't actually inventory them here at Truth for Life. You'll find a link to the Coram Deo website at truthforlife.org translation and perhaps their team can ship the books to your location. We hope you will keep Andrea and the team at Coram Deo Publishing in your prayers and please ask God to use these translated books to bring many to a saving personal relationship with Jesus. And when you give to Truth for Life, know that your donation in part is helping to fund translation projects like these. So on behalf of Andrea and the Coram Deo team, thank you for your generosity.

You can give a gift today through the Truth for Life mobile app or visit us online at truthforlife.org slash donate or call us at 888-588-7884. And a quick reminder, if you've not already requested the book O Sacred Head Now Wounded, you'll want to do so today. Today's the last day we're featuring this devotional for use right after Easter as a thank you for your donation.

Now here's Alistair. Father, we thank you that you've given us the Bible and that you ask us to use our minds to think properly. We thank you that it speaks to the very center of our being, encouraging us to feel deeply. We find ourselves saying it is a thing most wonderful, almost too wonderful to be, that God's own Son should come from heaven and die to save a child like me. And yet I know that it is true he came to this poor world below and wept and toiled and mourned and died and all because he loved us so. I cannot tell how he could love a child so weak and full of sin.

His love must be most wonderful if he could die my love to win. How deep is your love for us, Father? We bow beneath its wonder. We embrace it. We hide in it. In Jesus' name, Amen. I'm Bob Lapine. Hope you have a wonderful weekend and are able to enjoy worship with your local church. On Monday we'll find out how deafening Jesus' silence can be. The Bible teaching of Alistair Begg is furnished by Truth for Life where the Learning is for Living.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-15 05:18:19 / 2024-03-15 05:26:52 / 9

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