Today’s message summary of March 29, 2015 from Pastor Gus Brown:
God is at His best in man’s worst condition. You may wonder where He is at times, but He is definitely at work.
God does not refer to people in sin just to call names. He is making us aware of the fact that we are sinners. We often will not see God at His best unless we are at our worst.
In looking at this passage, someone might think that Jesus is reflecting weakness. In actuality, He is demonstrating His strength.
“This is why the Father loves Me, because I am laying down My life so I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the right to take it up again, I have received this command from My Father.”
In spite of those who turned Jesus over to the authorities and with Pontius Pilate and Caiaphas proclaiming that they were in control as to whether or not Jesus would be crucified, Jesus was the one in control of His destiny to die on the cross. Jesus had the authority, and the ability to act and repel His enemies, yet He chose, in His strength and authority, to be obedient to His Father unto the cross.
For He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will.
All those who live on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name was not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slaughtered.
Man at his worst and God and His best:
While He was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, suddenly arrived. A large mob, with swords and clubs, was with him from the chief priests and elders of the people. His betrayer had given them a sign: “The One I kiss, He’s the One; arrest Him!” So he went right up to Jesus and said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. “Friend,” Jesus asked him, “why have you come?” They they came up, took hold of Jesus, and arrested Him.
For the mind-set of the flesh is hostile to God because it does not submit itself to God’s law, for it is unable to do so.
The high priest then stood up and said to Him, “Don’t You have an answer to what these men are testifying against You?” But Jesus kept silent. Then the high priest said to Him, “By the living God I place You under oath: tell us if You are the Messiah, the Son of God!”
“You have said it,” Jesus told him. “But I tell you, in the future, you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! Why do we still need witnesses? Look, now you’ve heard the blasphemy! What is your decision?” They answered, “He deserves death!” Then they spit in His face and beat Him; others slapped Him and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah! Who hit You?”
You are at your best when people say whatever they want to you, and that you are able use restraint and control your anger. Even when others are at your worst, you can be at your best by being obedient to Jesus Christ and following His example.
Christ was truly at His best when He gave Himself for each of us in dying on the cross.
Jesus Christ does not ask you to do anything that He has not already experienced. My denying yourself and living for Jesus Christ, you will be faithfully carrying out His will and plan for your life. You will be at your very best.
It is always a good idea for you to ask God to reveal your heart, for in reality we really don’t know unless it is shown to us. You may have good intentions, but Peter had to also learn this lesson.
They seized Him, led Him away, and brought Him into the high priest’s house. Meanwhile Peter was following at a distance. They lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, and Peter sat among them. When a servant saw him sitting in the firelight, and looked closely at him, she said, “This man was with Him too.” But he denied it: “Woman, I don’t know Him!” After a little while, someone else saw him and said, “You’re one of them too!” “Man, I am not!” Peter said. About an hour later, another kept insisting, “This man was certainly with Him, since he’s also a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. Then the Lord turned and looked at Peter. So Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.
Are you walking with the Lord at a distance? You may want to have a relationship with Him, but you keep Him far enough away to give others the impression that you don’t want to be seen as a “Jesus freak.”
Pontius Pilate tried to please everyone. The reality is that no one can please everyone.
Now Jesus stood before the governor. “Are You the King of the Jews?” the governor asked Him. Jesus answered, “You have said it.” And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He didn’t answer.
Then their whole assembly rose up and brought Him before Pilate. They began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this man subverting our nation, opposing payment of taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is the Messiah, a King.”
Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to Him, “Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about Me?” “I’m not a Jew, am I?” Pilate replied. “Your own nation and the chief priests handed You over to me. What have You done?” “My kingdom is not of this world,” said Jesus. “If my kingdom were of this words, My servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. As it is, My kingdom does not have its origin here.” “You are a king then?” Pilate asked. “You say that I’m a king,” Jesus replied. “I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.” “What is truth?” said Pilate.
After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again and told them, “I find no grounds for charging Him. You have a custom that I release one prisoner to you at the Passover. So, do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.
4 Pilate went outside again and said to them, “Look, I’m bringing Him outside to you to let you know I find no grounds for charging Him.”
5 Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!”
6 When the chief priests and the temple police saw Him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”
Pilate responded, “Take Him and crucify Him yourselves, for I find no grounds for charging Him.”
7 “We have a law,” the Jews replied to him, “and according to that law He must die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”
8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was more afraid than ever. 9 He went back into the headquarters and asked Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus did not give him an answer. 10 So Pilate said to Him, “You’re not talking to me? Don’t You know that I have the authority to release You and the authority to crucify You?”
11 “You would have no authority over Me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given you from above. This is why the one who handed Me over to you has the greater sin.”
12 From that moment Pilate made every effort to release Him. But the Jews shouted, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Anyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar!”
13 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus outside. He sat down on the judge’s bench in a place called the Stone Pavement (but in Hebrew Gabbatha). 14 It was the preparation day for the Passover, and it was about six in the morning. Then he told the Jews, “Here is your king!”
15 But they shouted, “Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!”
Pilate said to them, “Should I crucify your king?”
“We have no king but Caesar!” the chief priests answered.
16 So then, because of them, he handed Him over to be crucified.
Therefore they took Jesus away.
Even when man is at his worst, God will continue to do His best, and He implores His chosen people to do the same as a testimony before others.
Then He said to them all, “If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me.