Sermon: Jesus the King (Luke 23:1-12)

 

Jesus the King

Luke 23:1-12

Introduction

From last week’s text, we learned that Jesus is Divine, Messiah, Son of Man and Son of God.  The religious leaders were concerned with the fact that Jesus declared Himself to be God’s Son.  They determined that this claim could not be true and for Jesus to make this claim was blasphemy.  We learned that when Luke records this he is also declaring Jesus to be all of the above because one cannot blaspheme a mere man but only God.  Jesus is God’s Son and today we discover that He is also God’s  King.  It was this claim to be the Son of God that created such uproar with the Jews.  They were not willing to see the truth but rather would not play their Messiah card on Jesus because He wasn’t the kind of Messiah they wanted.  They wanted a political leader who would usher in heaven on earth.  They wanted things to be like they had been during the time of King David.  They wanted someone who would over throw Rome and restore power to them.  They wanted to be in charge and wanted a Messiah that would do that for them.  They only wanted Jesus if He could give them what they wanted.

The ruling counsel of the Sanhedrin had just condemned Jesus and sentenced Him to death.  But there is one problem; they couldn’t carry out the death sentence it must be sanctioned by Rome because the Jews have no authority in any civil matters.

Notice how quickly these Jews switch gears.  They know that they have no power to kill Jesus legally.  It must be done or sanctioned by Rome.  They also know that Rome could care less about Jesus’ claim to be the Son of God.  So they switch the charges to be more in line with what Rome would care about.  No longer is being the Son of God an issue but being a King.  Being another King would possibly be a threat to Rome and be something they would care about.

Primary Claim

Jesus is God’s anointed King who must be reckoned with.

The Jesus I don’t need…

Jesus must be dealt with.  There are some who think they can do without Jesus.  For them, He is a crutch and a myth for the weak-minded.  They think their lives are just fine without Jesus and they really have no interest in talking about or exploring any ideas about Jesus.  The sad reality is that these folks will eventually see Jesus face to face and experience God’s wrath for all eternity in a place called Hell.

The Jesus I can ignore…

As much as some try, you cannot be neutral when it comes to Jesus.  You cannot remain neutral Jesus must be dealt with.  You simply cannot ignore Jesus and think He will go away.  Pilate wanted to be rid of Jesus.  Pilate desired his position and fame more than Jesus.  He did not want to deal with Christ, but as we’ll see, you cannot ignore Jesus and hope He will go away.

The Jesus who gets me things…

Some seek a Jesus who can be used for their own ends.  Perhaps they think Jesus will give them a better career, marriage, more friends.  Some think Jesus is a means to an end.

Herod was interested in Jesus because he thought that He was unique and entertaining.  He was only interested in Christ for a show or to get something from Him.  He cared nothing for our Lord except to use Him for self-promotion and enjoyment.

In our text today, we are going to see that Jesus doesn’t exist so we can get things from Him.  Jesus is the One who matters.  He is the King who demands our worship.

The clear fact is that Jesus causes division.  You cannot follow Christ and be best friends with those who do not.  He won’t allow it.  You cannot live with one foot in the world and one foot in the church for very long.  Jesus demands that either we worship Him or be enemies with Him, He will not tolerate anyone who is lukewarm.

Please hear God’s Word for GCC today…

Luke 23:1-12

23 Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”

When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11 And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. 12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other. [1]

1.  You Cannot Ignore King Jesus

23 Then the whole company of them arose and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king.” And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.”

The Jews state basically three charges against Jesus:

-Sedition,

-Not paying and teaching others not to pay the annual tribute tax,

-Assuming the title, King.

All of these charges they thought would be something the civil authorities would care about.

Their initial charge was that this man is trying to bring down our nation.  He is teaching the people contrary to Roman rule.

This is not a complete lie.  Jesus was teaching about another kingdom.  From the very beginning of His ministry He preached the Kingdom of God.  He did not teach on how to be a good Roman citizen but how to be a good citizen in God’s Kingdom.

From the point of view of the secular world, Jesus was misleading the nation.  He taught a different and more significant purpose for living than simply being a Roman citizen.

Matthew 4:

17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [2]

Jesus’ message was not seek forgiveness from Rome and begin obeying their laws but repent and start living under God’s rule.  From the standpoint of Rome’s authority, Jesus was misleading the people.  He was leading them away from Rome and empty religion to God.

They said one way He’s doing this is teaching the people not to pay their taxes… and forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar.

This was an outright lie.  Just taught that one should pay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.

Luke 20:

19 The scribes and the chief priests sought to lay hands on him at that very hour, for they perceived that he had told this parable against them, but they feared the people. 20 So they watched him and sent spies, who pretended to be sincere, that they might catch him in something he said, so as to deliver him up to the authority and jurisdiction of the governor. 21 So they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God. 22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or not?” 23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said to them, 24 “Show me a denarius. Whose likeness and inscription does it have?” They said, “Caesar’s.” 25 He said to them, “Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” 26 And they were not able in the presence of the people to catch him in what he said, but marveling at his answer they became silent. [3]

Then they told Pilate that Jesus was claiming to be a King.  This is partially true.  He did claim to be a King and He was, but not in the sense that He was a King who was a political threat.

So they declared that

-Jesus was teaching the people to rebel against Rome.

-He was teaching them not to fund Rome, and

-He was declaring Himself to be in authority as King over Rome.

I want us to get the full picture of Jesus before Pilate.  So, let’s turn to John 18:

28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover.

Notice that these Jewish leaders would not enter into Pilate’s house because they believed this would defile them so that they could not celebrate the Passover.  Never mind that they were liars and murderers and already defiled.

29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.”

Do you see what they were saying to Pilate?  Never mind what the charge is, we just want you to do your job and carry out the death sentence.  Never mind what the charge is, we want you to put Him to death.

31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

We also see that Jesus explains to Pilate what type of King He is.  He tells Pilate that His kingdom is not of this world but of a different world.  It’s at this point Pilate is not interested in hearing any more.  In reality, Pilate could care less if Jesus were the King of Mars as long as He doesn’t pose a threat to Roman rule or to his lesser rule.

37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. [4]

Luke stresses the same thing John does when he reports that Pilate comes out, because the Jews were still outside, and declares Jesus innocent of the charges brought before Him.

Jesus is without sin and even a pagan governor can see that… I find no guilt in him.

 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.” But they were urgent, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, from Galilee even to this place.”

These accusations were very shrewd.  This took some planning.  These Jews were very good at playing the politicians for their advantage.  A close study of all the Gospels reveals that at least three different times, and some say as many as five, Pilate declares Jesus to be innocent of all charges.  It seems though Pilate, in many ways, was a weak leader.  Eventually, he would give in to their demands and crucify Jesus.

Pilate and the Jews had a bit of a history.  There was no love lost, Pilate detested the Jews and they hated him too.  One occasion we’ve already read about in…

Luke 13:1.

There were some present at that very time who told him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. [5]

We remember the incident when the Galilean worshippers were posing a threat to Rome as they were stirring up a rebellion.  Pilate sent his army in and killed all of them right in the temple area.

The religious leaders, no doubt, remembered this and thought that if they could get Pilate to think that Jesus was doing the same thing those other Galileans were doing that he would very quickly give the order to have Jesus put to death.

What is ironic is that the very charges the Jews were leveling against Jesus, they themselves were doing at that very moment.  The language suggests that they were on the outside of Pilate’s mansion almost about to insight a riot over getting Jesus put to death.

This was the last thing Pilate needed.  Any more disruption from his jurisdiction could cause Tiberius to intercede and possibly remove him from office.  He wanted more than anything for the Jews to be quiet and go away.

To rid himself of this mess, Pilate thought since Jesus was considered a Galilean that he could send him away to Herod who was king over the area of Galilee and in Jerusalem for the Passover Celebration.

2. You Cannot Use Jesus

When Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who was himself in Jerusalem at that time. When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him, and he was hoping to see some sign done by him. So he questioned him at some length, but he made no answer. 10 The chief priests and the scribes stood by, vehemently accusing him. 11 And Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him. Then, arraying him in splendid clothing, he sent him back to Pilate.

Jesus was taken to the cruel king Herod.  Herod was the same king who had John the Baptist beheaded over his preaching.  Later, he would be the king who would have James, the half brother of Jesus put to death.  He was cruel through and through.

This king was also in Jerusalem for the Passover.  Pilate, who was a good politician, saw his opportunity to ignore Jesus.

Luke wants us to notice something here…

Herod was a wicked Jewish King.  If anyone would have a problem with these claims of Jesus it would have been Herod.

Antipas, was a 1st-century ruler of Galilee who bore the title of tetrarch (“ruler of a quarter”).

Herod was the ruler over the area where most of Jesus’ public ministry had taken place, yet it seems, he had never before seen Jesus.

There stood our Lord, beaten and bloody.  The Jews were shouting His crimes over and over in Herod’s presence.  Surely, the Jews must have thought they would get somewhere with Herod.  Because Jesus would not answer or do any signs Herod and his soldiers joined in to beat and mock Jesus more.  They dressed Jesus in kingly clothes in order to make fun of Him and then sent Him back to Pilate.

What’s important is that even the wicked and perverse King Herod did not find Jesus guilty of any crime, nevertheless a crime that deserved death.  So rather than Jesus entertaining him with a magic trick, Herod was entertained as they mocked Jesus. He sends Him back where He came from, back to Pilate.

3. The Godless are Reconciled

12 And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other that very day, for before this they had been at enmity with each other. [6]

Why would Luke add this small bit of information?  Luke adds this seemingly out of place bit of trivial politics for a very significant reason.

This event of Jesus’ various trials and times of questioning are prophesied about in the Book of Psalms.

Psalm 2:1-3

       Why do the nations rage

and the peoples plot in vain?

   The kings of the earth set themselves,

and the rulers take counsel together,

against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,

   “Let us burst their bonds apart

and cast away their cords from us.” [7]

These two rulers who were enemies come together because they both can agree that Jesus is a problem.  Rather than Jesus uniting enemies to God, these two refused to worship Jesus so they were reconciled to each other and continued to be God’s enemies.

Primary Claim

Jesus is God’s anointed King who must reckoned with.

Jesus faced Governor Pilate and Pilate found no fault in Him.  Jesus face wicked King Herod and Herod found no reason He should be put to death.  Jesus was innocent of all charges.

He remained silent before Herod standing in His royal robe dripping with blood.  He was found innocent and it is this innocence that is infinitely important for us.  Jesus is pure and sinless.  Even a false court could not make the charges stick.  But beloved we are not innocent and sinless.

Isaiah 53:

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,

yet he opened not his mouth;

       like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,

and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,

so he opened not his mouth. [8]

1 Peter 2:21-25

21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He 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. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. [9]

Human condition changed or Human need met

We must realize that Jesus must be reckoned with.  We cannot ignore Him, like Pilate or use Him to our ends like Herod.  He is King with all authority.  Every human will bow before this King of Majesty and worship.  Some will do it as His people others will do it as His enemies but all will fall to the ground because of His majesty.

Exhortation in godly living

Beloved, see the real Jesus today and worship Him.  He cannot be ignored, used, or gotten rid of.  He is King.

And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?

 

Lord’s Supper…


[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Lk 23:1–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Mt 4:17). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[3] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Lk 20:19–26). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[4] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Jn 18:28–38). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[5] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Lk 13:1). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[6] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Lk 23:1–12). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[7] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Ps 2:1–3). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[8] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (Is 53:7). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[9] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2001 (1 Pe 2:21–25). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

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