Grace to You

Let's open the Word of God to the fifteenth chapter of Mark's gospel...the fifteenth chapter as John said, the end is in sight. Chapter 16 looking right ahead of you, perhaps in your Bible on the same page, although this is somewhat of a long chapter.

We come to the opening fifteen verses of Mark and in this particular portion of Scripture, we meet this fascinating character by the name of Pilate...Pilate. He is a name to add to the rogues gallery that we've been accumulating in the drama of the murder of Jesus. Names like Judas, and Annas, and Caiaphas, and Herod, and now the Roman Governor by the name of Pilate, fascinating lineup of infamous, evil characters in the unparalleled drama that unfolds around the crucifixion of Christ. They are all part of the black backdrop set behind the shining glory of the Lord Jesus. All of them tried to use their position and their power and their influence and their wits to bring Jesus to His end. Humanly speaking, they are the co-conspirators who finally accomplished the execution of Jesus.

However, divinely speaking God is the true power and God is the true influence who brings His own Son to the cross. God in reality is the true executioner. He is the one who was pleased to kill His Son as a substitutionary sacrifice for our sins. The Apostle Peter will give testimony to this in his great sermon on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2 verses 22 and 23 where he says, "You crucified Him, but by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God." That will be repeated again in the fourth chapter of Acts in a similar apostolic sermon, verses 27 to 28, where while there is human responsibility, God is the one who is accomplishing in the death of Christ His will and His saving purpose. The irony is that Judas from the viewpoint of man bears an immense amount of responsibility for the betrayal of Jesus. He renders, in a sense, the initial death sentence. Annas follows up with his own death sentence. Caiaphas follows with his. Herod plays a role. And Pilate passes final sentence.

But the truth of the matter is, none of them were the cause of the judgment on Jesus Christ. Rather Jesus judged them. Judas thought he rendered a verdict on Christ, but the reality is, man by himself is priced for 30 pieces, Judas sold himself, not Christ. Annas and Caiaphas thought they sat in judgment on Jesus, as did Herod. But the truth of the matter is, He is their judge. And now we see Pilate and I have titled the sermon purposely not Jesus before Pilate, as if Pilate is the judge, but Pilate before Jesus, because in truth, Jesus is the judge....

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Grace to You

John MacArthur Plus

John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, conference speaker, president of The Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You media ministry...

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