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Legacy Of Perfect Trust

SUFFERING KING: THE BOOK OF MARK:
Legacy Of Perfect Trust: Mark 15:1-5
Pastor John Weathersby
Sunday June 20, 2021

What we’ll see in Jesus today is a trusting Transcendent King. Not a king, in the sense that the Jews have presented him to the Gentile court, but a king nonetheless. One who trusts His Father’s perfect will for this moment.

Often as we study this passion of Christ, we focus on the injustice exacted against Him, and that injustice is there. However, we can do so to the neglect of Jesus’ legacy of perfect trust in God, we’ll see that Jesus’ deep rooted trust in God bears fruit in timeless behavior.

Maybe Paul would remind us to imitate him, as he imitates Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1), faithful in trust in every circumstance.

1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV)
1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.

In Jesus, we don’t see desperate attempts at defense of His innocence. Rather, we see the legacy of perfect trust in the trusting transcendent king who’d said:

John 13:18 (ESV)
18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’

Mark 10:33 (ESV)
33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles.

Jesus is the Trusting Transcendent King.

1 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate.

Mark, who spent so much time describing Jesus’ interactions with His disciples leading up to these final moments, moves quickly through the trial’s events, and without the other gospels, details are missed. We read that as soon as it was morning. They’d taken Jesus from the garden where He was preparing in prayer to usher in the forgiveness of Sin, and His church age after His ascension where His disciples now would take the mantel – those who didn’t remain awake in prayer, who’d defect but be restored. They’d taken Jesus in the night, as though He was a robber, and as Pastor John described last week, tried Him. The Israelite’s who’d been taken from an unjust people in Egypt worshipers of false gods to a system directed by God, as we see in Deuteronomy. They’re to have judges who protect, not distort or show partiality, rather pursue justice (Deuteronomy 16:18-20). Consistent with Moses organization:

Deuteronomy 16:18-20 (ESV)
Judges
18 Appoint judges and officials for each of your tribes in every town the Lord your God is giving you, and they shall judge the people fairly.
19 Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the innocent.
20 Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Numbers 11:16 (ESV)
16 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you.

This structure pulled forward into the Jews living in Diaspora in Rome, designed to protect the innocent – intended to be differentiated as the ultimate in graceful fairness. This Sanhedrin, made of 71 members in 3 categories, high priest, elders, and scribes.

These Sanhedrin, while in the Judea region had power across all of Jewish life, they sent Paul chartered to gather the Christians, as we see in Acts 9:2 and Acts 22:5:

Acts 9:2 (ESV)
2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.

Acts 22:5 (ESV)
5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them, I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.

As pastor John discussed last week, the lesser Sanhedrin of 23 are similar in structure to the fuller, 71. These would have two clerks at either end of a semicircle of members, each in plain view of the others. Facing the council are disciples of the members while the accused stands inside this structure facing the chief priests, elders, and scribes. The defense would be heard first. As Pastor John said, this was all about fairness and transparency. Next, the accusations are levied. Any elder having spoken in defense could not also speak against the accused. There would be no flip-flopping and indecisiveness. Voting on matters was accomplished with the youngest standing first, to then the oldest each physically standing to issue their vote – no hiding the vote, no abstaining, no older more powerful driving the vote from within. This was all about transparency and fairness.

This was the structure.

Even Mark’s abbreviated account shows VAST deviation from the accepted structure designed to echo God’s care for just treatment. However, the Sanhedrin did not exercise this same care and transparent system into Jesus’ trial. Instead, we see an abandonment of care.

Mark’s statement “as soon as it was morning” demonstrates their hasty approach to this capital trial. What about Simi-circles, watching disciples, speaking in defense or offense but not both, voting in age order. Where is the structure of God’s justice? Were they abandoned perhaps in favor of driving the outcome? Here is the terrifying part, who among them knew they’d like perverted Justice for evil? Likely each had plugged their own ears and convinced themselves that this was right, though it was really serving their own interests. Does that make you fearful that authoritative structure, power, and money can move people, not unlike yourself, to accept un-Godly structures, in the name of God in the name of justice, while really lusting for power?

Do we see that still in denominations today?

Do we see that in the hearts of men today?

Do we see that in ourselves?

And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests consulted with the elders, scribes, and the whole council. They bound Jesus and they led Him away delivering Him over to Pilate.

The chief priests held a consultation – this reads in the greek with the chief priests gathering the others “elders and scribes” (these collectively being the offices that make up the Sanhedrin) to make a decree or to pass a resolution to make a formal death sentence. The night court concluded death, the wee hours of the morning court (5am) confirmed and wrote the decree – now they’d send Jesus bound as a criminal to Rome for the death penalty.

Read back in time:

Mark 10:33 (ESV)
33 saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles.

Jesus knows all this will happen. He trusts God with the outcome, and His silence and lack of need to defend himself is evidence that He is the trusting transcendent king.

2 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.”

Mark is brief here, as the other Gospels captured more detail, and so we will be too but know that these are the charges that Rome was interested in – was Jesus causing an insurrection? They were about order, structure, and taxes. Pilate is charged with exacting judgment to keep that order, maintain that structure, and ensure the taxes. When he asks about the charges, Jesus isn’t deflecting, ‘you have said so’ can come across that way in translation, but it is a clear answer. We see a fuller account in John 18:20-37, but Mark’s purposes are fulfilled here.

John 18:20-37 (ESV)
20 “I have spoken openly to the world,” Jesus replied. “I always taught in synagogues or at the temple, where all the Jews come together. I said nothing in secret.

21 Why question me? Ask those who heard me. Surely they know what I said.”
22 When Jesus said this, one of the officials nearby slapped him in the face. “Is this the way you answer the high priest?” he demanded.
23 “If I said something wrong,” Jesus replied, “testify as to what is wrong. But if I spoke the truth, why did you strike me?”

24 Then Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Peter’s Second and Third Denials
25 Meanwhile, Simon Peter was still standing there warming himself. So they asked him, “You aren’t one of his disciples too, are you?”
He denied it, saying, “I am not.”
26 One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?”

27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.
Jesus Before Pilate
28 Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.
29 So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”
30 “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”
31 Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”
“But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected.

32 This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

3 And the chief priests accused him of many things.
4 And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.”

Again, Mark is brief, and Luke 23:2 captures some of those charges:

Luke 23:2 (ESV)
2 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.”

  • Misleading our nation – was he leading the nature or teaching scripture(s)
  • Forbidding us to give tribute to Caesar – literally Jesus – “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s.”
  • Saying he was King – true, but His kingship wasn’t earthly; He was a peasant on earth and a King before God, Rome was not concerned with His Kingship

But again, this wasn’t about finding the truth of the matter. This was about the Sanhedrin retaining power, protecting structure, and ultimately making a living and way of life. Their decisions were rooted in Sin, and in the ultimate irony, God would use that to exact justice against Sin.

Isaiah 53:5 (ESV)
5  But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.

2 Corinthians 5:18–21 (ESV)
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
21 For our sake he made him to be Sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Deep rooted trust in God bears fruit in timeless behavior.

When we realize God’s own purposes transcend the actions of creatures, we aren’t so caught up in how we feel about creaturely actions. Rather we are focused on God. Consider where Jesus is here, having been taken (but really giving himself over now in the fullness of time). Been tried at night, then a second time at the crack of dawn, handed over to the secular government to be executed –

Acts 2:23 (ESV)
23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Jesus’ Kingdom vision gave him a timeless behavior because He is the trusting transcendent king, having left for us that legacy.

5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.

Pilate was amazed. He was “thaumazo.” This is the same way the crowed “wondered” when they saw a mute speak that Jesus healed.

Jesus was thaumazo, at the faith of the centurion (up and against all of Israel) who trusted Him to heal his servant:

Matthew 8:8–10 (ESV)
8 But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.
9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.

Jesus’ silence reveals Him as he Trusting Transcendent King. Contrasted against, Peter who denied Him, in front of men.

Judas sold Him to men for the praise of men.

And now Pilate, fearful of men, all cowered.

But Jesus, the Transcendent trusting King

Genesis 50:20 (ESV)
20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

The doctrine of concurrence says that God ordains no just the ends but also the means – and we see that in Jesus sovereign foreknowledge over what would happen. In Mark 10:33, He literally said all that is now happening.

While I may not know what God is doing, I can understand that the God of Genesis 50:20, and

2 Corinthians 5:18–21 (ESV)
18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
21 For our sake, he made him to be Sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Is also the God of:

Romans 8:28 (ESV)
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

And

Isaiah 55:8 (ESV)
8  For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

When we learn to trust God wholly, we’re free to have a transcendent faith in all circumstances after Jesus legacy. By faith, we pick up the flame of Christ, passed on through Paul in:

Philippians 4:11 (ESV)
11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.

1 Corinthians 11:1 (ESV)
Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Will you be transcendently trusting and content in all things? Here are 3 areas we can focus on this week in working to imitate Christ:

  • Inspect your motives, your reactions,
  • Inspect your intentions against God’s goodness and
  • Live as people, focused not here on power and money, but to God’s own purposes.

Be imitators of Christ; deep rooted trust in God bears fruit in timeless behavior.

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