Stephen Caswell © 2005
The Worst Sin
What is the worst sin? Is it destroying the life and body by drinking? Is it prostitution? Is it adultery? Is it homosexuality? Could it be murder? Could it be drug abuse? God can forgive all these sins. However, there is one sin, the worst of all sins: rejecting God’s love. Some may not be guilty of the sins listed above, but they are guilty of rejecting God’s love. — Croft Pentz
Today is Good Friday. Mankind has set this day aside to remember Christ’s death. We remember the tremendous sacrifice made to purchase our salvation. John 3:16: tells us that God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. The Lord Jesus Christ is God’s best gift to mankind. Yet tragically the world rejected Him. They rejected Christ and put Him to death on a cruel cross. This morning we will reflect briefly on 3 things they rejected about Christ. 1. They Rejected the Son of Man. 2. They Rejected the Son of God. 3. They Rejected the King of the Jews.
1. They Rejected the Son of Man
a. The Pharisees & Priests
John 18:29-30: Pilate then went out to them and said, What accusation do you bring against this Man? They answered and said to him, if He were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him up to you.
The religious leaders rejected the Son of Man. Pilate called Jesus Christ the Man. Sadly, the religious leaders rejected His perfect life. They made up some charges against Jesus and took Him to Pilate. They wanted Him to be put to death; No they demanded it. What were the charges brought against Him? They told Pilate that Jesus was an evil doer. This word, κακοποιός, means, to be a criminal, an injurious person, to be evil, injurious or dangerous. What evil had Jesus done? None. The religious leaders rejected the Son of Man for exposing their sin. Let’s review Christ’s life on earth.
The Religious Leaders heard Him speak to the people because He openly taught God’s Word. Christ pleaded with the people to repent and believe in Him. Although Jesus always spoke the truth many people hated Him because of it. The religious leaders saw how the Son of Man came to serve. Jesus cared for the poor and the sick. He provided wine at a wedding so the bride and groom wouldn’t be embarrassed. He fed 5,000 men along with their wives and children. He had compassion, seeing people as sheep without a shepherd. He wept with Mary and Martha when Lazarus died.
Christ understands our weaknesses. He was often tired, weary and hungry. He walked among us. John 1:14: And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. He set free those possessed by evil spirits. He ate with tax collectors and saved some of them. Jesus forgave the immorality of an adulteresses. The Pharisees saw all of this.
Yet, they said that He was the friend of sinners. The Son of Man was the only perfect human that has ever lived. He lived as a man so that He could save us and be a compassionate and merciful High Priest. He lived as a man to save us! Yet the religious leaders rejected Christ for healing the sick on the Sabbath Day. They rejected Him for being merciful to sinners. Christ incurred their wrath by cleansing the temple. The religious leaders rejected the Son of Man because He exposed their sin.
John 1:10-11; 3:19-20: He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
b. Pontius Pilate
John 19:4-6a: Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.
Pontius Pilate examined Jesus Christ and found Him without fault; none of the charges against Him were true. 3 Times in John’s Gospel, Pilate said that he found no fault in Jesus Christ. He realized that the Jews wanted an innocent man to death.
Matthew 27:17-19: Therefore, when they had gathered together, Pilate said to them, Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ? For he knew that they had handed Him over because of envy. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.
Pilate sought to release Christ a number of times. I am sure that Pilate had heard of Christ’s miracles and teaching. Certainly King Herod had. The other Gospels tell us that Pilate informed the religious leaders of Herod’s and his own judgment; Christ was a just man. But the religious leaders stirred up the crowd to call for Christ’s death. They yelled out crucify Him until eventually Pilate consented. Before doing this he washed His hands of the matter. Pilate sought to remove his own guilt for killing an innocent man.
A Unique Trial
They brought Him before the judge, They pressed for sentence of death
He voiced no plea of innocence, … And He was condemned to die.
Was He really guilty? Or was He, mistakenly condemned?
The judge proclaimed Him innocent. Yet the judge sentenced Him to death.
Found free of guilt, He yet died under judicial sentence.
Not a transgressor Himself, He was numbered with transgressors.
Acts 3:13-15a: The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and killed the Prince of life.
The religious leaders rejected Jesus Christ as the Son of Man. They called His good life evil and released a murderer instead. What hypocrisy and injustice took place that Day.
2. They Rejected the Son of God
John 19:6b-8:Pilate said to them, you take Him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him. The Jews answered him, we have a law, and according to our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God. When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he was the more afraid;
a. His Own Witness
The religious leaders also rejected Jesus as the Son of God. They heard His testimony and rejected Him. They rejected Christ’s deity because they knew His parents and his family. They questioned His lineage. They knew that Jesus came from Nazareth which was considered unworthy of Messiah. No prophet ever came from Nazareth, said a Pharisee to Nicodemus. They didn’t look very hard or they would have found that Christ was born in Bethlehem. They’d have found that Jesus Christ was a descendant of David. That He was born of a virgin as the prophet Isaiah had foretold. Sadly, they believed that Jesus Christ was a man; just a man. They tried to kill Him many times before Calvary.
John 10:31-33; 36: Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me? The Jews answered Him, saying, for a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God. Do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, You are blaspheming, because I said, I am the Son of God? Christ wasn’t making Himself to Be God’s Son; He was!
b. Other’s Witnesses
God didn’t leave His Son without a witness. When Jesus was baptized, God the Father spoke from heaven, saying this is my beloved Son in Whom I am well pleased. John the Baptist prepared the people to receive their Messiah. He too testified concerning Jesus Christ. John 1:33-34: I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God. Many would have heard the voice that day. This would have spread through out Israel.
Jesus Christ had perfect knowledge. He knew what was in a person’s heart. He often declared what people were thinking. The Scribes and Pharisees tried to trap Him with loaded questions. Yet Christ saw through their schemes and answered them.
Jesus Christ exercised authority over sickness and demons. Christ healed the sick and cast out evil spirits. He had authority over nature, calming the tempest and walking on water. He had authority over death, raising the dead. These miracles proved Jesus Christ is God’s Son. Yet the religious leaders said He cast out demons by the power of the devil.
They rejected Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This was the only genuine charge that they had. Tragically, because of their stubborn pride they didn’t recognize God’s Son. So they schemed and broke the Law so that they could put the Son of God to death.
Matthew 26:59-66: Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses came forward
and said, this fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days. And the high priest arose and said to Him, do You answer nothing? What is it these men testify against You? But Jesus kept silent.
And the high priest answered and said to Him, I put You under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God! Jesus said to him, it is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think? They answered and said, He is deserving of death.
The Rejected Stone
The Jews had a legend based on a statement of the psalmist. According to that legend, when the Temple of Solomon was being built, the masons sent up from the quarry below a stone different in size and shape from all the rest they had sent up. Looking at it, the builders said: There is no place for this stone. There must be some mistake. So they rolled it down the edge of the cliff into the valley of Kidron below the Temple area.
As time went on for the Temple was seven years in building, they were ready for the chief cornerstone. When they asked for it they were told, We sent it up to you long ago. One of the workmen said: I recall it now. There was a stone altogether different from the rest, and we thought there was no place for it and rolled it down to the valley below. Men were sent down to the valley to find the stone. They succeeded in doing so; and when the stone was brought up it fitted perfectly into its place—the headstone of the corner.
Do you believe that Jesus Christ is God’s Son? Your eternal destiny is tied up in this! Do you believe that He died for you? Do you believe that He rose from the dead to give you eternal life? If you haven’t received Jesus Christ can I encourage you to do so today!
3. They Rejected The King Of The Jews
John 19:13-16: When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus forth, and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.
Finally, the religious leaders rejected Jesus Christ as the King of the Jews. Christ was born to be King. The word Messiah means God’s anointed. Our Lord is King because God says so. The angel Gabriel told Mary before Christ was born that Jesus would reign from David’s throne. Both of Christ’s parents are descendants of David. He has the right to rule humanly speaking. He has even more right because His Father says so. Yet, Jesus knew that the people of His day would reject His rule. He foretold it in a parable.
Luke 19:11-14: Now as they heard these things, He spoke another parable, because He was near Jerusalem and because they thought the kingdom of God would appear immediately. Therefore He said: A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, do business till I come. But his citizens hated him, and sent a delegation after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.
Although God the Father has decreed that His Son will reign, He knew many would rebel. Peter applied this Psalm to the rejection Christ endured at His 1st advent.
Psalm 2:1-3, 6-8: Why do the nations rage, And the people plot a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against the Lord and against His Anointed, saying, Let us break Their bonds in pieces And cast away Their cords from us. Yet I have set My King on My holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: The Lord has said to Me, You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession.
Pontius Pilate asked Jesus Christ if He was King and about His kingdom. Christ said that He was born to be King and that His kingdom was not of this world. His kingdom is from another world. Therefore, Pilate sought to release the King of the Jews, but they wouldn’t allow it. The people demanded His death. So Pilate gave them their wish and rebuked them by placing a sign on the cross. It read, Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.
The Jews rejected their King about 2,000 years ago. Tragically they didn’t recognize the One Who came to save them. But let us be careful. The Jews aren’t so different from us. We too may have been amongst those who rejected Jesus Christ that day. Yet Christ prayed for our forgiveness on the cross.
Praise God His prayers were answered for many Jews believed in Christ after the resurrection. Psalm 2:10 also gives us a warning at the end.
Psalm 2:10-12: Now therefore, be wise, O kings; Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear, And rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
What about us? How have we responded to Jesus Christ? Have we rejected Him or received Him. Have you rejected the Righteousness of the Son of Man. Or do you believe that He lived a perfect life? Have you rejected the Deity of the Son of God? Or have you received the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, to be your Savior? Have you rejected the Reign of the King of the Jews. Or have you submitted to Christ your King?
Hebrews 13:20-21: Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.