Christ in the Middle of Chaos

The Hour Has Come

Todd walks us through Philippians 4:4-13 and John 18. The key to dealing with trials in our lives is to hold onto biblical truth and endure them with friends who will remind us of truth and support us through the trials. The Lord doesn't promise us a Sunday as he did with the disciples, but He does promise us a Some Day when we will fully understand God's plan for our lives. You can go through any circumstance strengthened by Christ. The secret to peace is to trust in the Word of God, love of God, and character of God, who is trustworthy and makes no mistakes.

Todd WagnerMar 29, 2015John 18-19; Philippians 4:4-13; Philippians 4:11-13; Philippians 1:27-30; John 18-19; John 18:10-11; 1 Peter 3:15-16; John 18:12-27; John 18:19-24; John 18:28-19:2

Well, good morning! We are diving into a major part of the gospel of John. We're making our way through that book again, and last week we walked you back through what the disciples did not remember so that when they got to the place of great crisis they were in great trouble. There are a couple of things I said to kind of wrap up and focus on last week as application points because we were talking about how to have stress on days of overwhelming trial.

This week, I'm going to show you Jesus was able to do what the disciples were not. Today, those who know Jesus and do what Jesus did will be able to do what Jesus did and will not fail as the disciples did. We're going to press on now into this night when Christ was betrayed and he went through six different trials and ended up on a cross. Let's pray, and we'll dive in together.

Father, we thank you for the chance to be together this morning in Dallas and Fort Worth and Plano with folks who are tuning in online. We thank you that we are among the blessed and that you've worked at some level in our lives to have us at a place this morning that we would remember history. We'd see your story. We'd see what you did for us because you love us, that you preserved that record that we might live with a peace that passes understanding in a trying time.

Would you allow us, as we cover a lot of ground this morning, to see what it is you want us to see, that we might be faithful or that we might see that you are the faithful one and learn to follow you and trust you, and as a result of that have life indeed? Would you teach us this morning wherever we are in relationship to you? We pray this in the name of Jesus, who is the star of the story, our hope, our Lord, and our King. Amen.

Well, open up your Bibles to John 18. We are going to spend a lot of time in chapters 18 and 19 today, and as you turn there, I just want to remind you of a few things we talked about last week. We mentioned the very center of this entire thing is that the disciples were about to have a really bad weekend, and the reason they were going to have a bad weekend is they had not listened to what God had said.

You're going to have a bad life, not just a bad weekend, if you don't listen to what God has said. Even individuals who are around the Word of God, if you all you do is just take it as some information and a story but that story does not bring about transformation… Because the purpose of learning is not to increase in information. The purpose of learning is it should produce transformation. It should change you.

As you look at what happened at this particular moment in history, it ought to bring about transformation. We said last week this little phrase. We talked about how God doesn't always clean up the mystery of what he's up to in three days. The disciples forget God had told them, "I'm going to lay my life down, and I'm going to take it back up in three days." They completely were overwhelmed with what they could see. As a result of that, they didn't remember what God had said, and it caused them all kinds of stress and trouble.

But three days later God showed them. "Okay," they thought. "Now we see we can trust God." You and I don't typically find out in three days. In other words, for us, there is often not a Sunday where it all comes together, where we can make sense of real evil, so you'd better know the someone who lived through the Friday trusting in the good one who raised him on Sunday.

The way I said it last week was simply the Lord doesn't promise us a Sunday when we will see. He promises us a someday, and remembering what happened on Sunday is the only way we will hang on till our someday. That's why we look at this every week. That's why we look at this every year.

You know, we don't just talk about the resurrection around Easter, because it's the center of our faith. Without this, we are fools. Jesus was a fool, and all who follow him are fools. Now, here's an amazing thing. I want to show you this because it was just too good. I don't get to dwell too much here, but because the point of this text, in addition to tell us how God remained just at a person who executes a holy wrath against sin…

Again, people as me all of the time, "Todd, is there anything God can't do?" and I answer it the same way every time. "Yes, he can never do anything that violates his character," which creates a real problem because God hates sin and can have no fellowship with sin. We don't obey God and follow him. Therefore, we are sinners, so how can God have a relationship with us who he is bound by his righteousness to have no fellowship with?

Answer: he pours out his wrath on another who becomes the satisfaction. The biblical word for that is propitiation, the appropriate sacrifice that God's wrath could be satisfied, his justice could be satisfied, and he could still justify those he loves. This is the very center of our faith. If this little section of Scripture (John 18, 19, and 20) is not in your Bible, then we're just hoping God's a little sloppy in his execution of wrath.

What's really interesting, by the way, is people don't just want a God who is loving. What people really want is authority that is just, that's going to do something about evil. What we forget, though, is we are evil. We always typically make evil something other than our struggle. We make evil what the other guy does, but we have to remember righteousness is not established by what doesn't meet our standard. It is established by the righteous, Holy One, the one who is altogether different than you and me, the one who is in heaven while we're on earth.

Watch this. This is what Paul, who really understood this, says. In Philippians, chapter 4, there's this amazing text. He says, "Rejoice in the Lord…" Notice that. He didn't say, "Rejoice in your circumstances," because he knew Jesus said, "In this world you're still going to have trouble." Let me just tell you something. I love our Bible. It is so realistic! You can tell this book was not written as propaganda because there are some things in there where you go, "I don't believe I'd have said that if I was trying to get people to follow this guy."

You're going to have trouble, but God's going to make it right. "Rejoice in the Lord…again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men." In other words, men ought to see you as somebody who is meek, who is under the authority of God, who, though you're still a man or still a woman full of all of your personality and all of your strength and all of your individuality, you surrender to God who has told you what he's doing and has called you to play a part in his redemptive history.

That's what the word gentle means. It is, again, the word of a stallion underneath the hand of a wise rider who will bring forth all of the glory of the animal, and God will do that. He will bring forth all of the glory of us. We won't just buck and whinny and run wild. We'll have a purpose. We'll have a beauty and a dignity. We'll be cared for, and we will be beautiful.

Then, Paul says this in a very familiar passage of Scripture. "Be anxious for nothing…" You're like, "Todd, that's all I am is anxious. I can't believe God is somehow going to redeem this." I know you can't believe he's going to redeem this but go back and look at what he has already redeemed. He has a résumé so, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving…" That God is sovereign and in control and faithful. "…let your requests be made known to God."

There's no problem saying, "God, I wish we didn't have to go through this, but bottom line is I don't know what you're doing. I know, as the Scripture says, you make all things beautiful in their time. I wish the time was now! I wish this was a Sunday, but it may not be the Sunday, and I'm going to be okay with that because I know you're perfect and good and you make no mistakes."

That's what you have to keep coming back to. He says, when you do this, "And the peace of God, which surpasses all [understanding] , will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Then, he says, "Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

What are those things? It's the story of Christ. He is all of those things. He is true. He is honorable. He is right. He is pure. He is lovely. He is excellent. He is worthy of praise. Focus on this. Paul says it this way in another place. "Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth."

Why? You set your mind on the things on the earth and it's going to freak you out. You don't like what you see in the mirror. You don't like what you see on the doctor's report. You don't like what you see on Fox News or CNN. You don't like what you see in your bank account. You don't like what you see in your spouse.

You say, "Of course, you don't! This world is filled with trouble," but take heart! God is sovereign over the trouble. Paul is applying what I'm trying to get to you out of this text, but watch this. Paul is saying, "The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things…"

If you know Paul, he had been through hell (I mean, literally…all kinds of beatings, all kinds of imprisonments, all kinds of tragedies at the hand of nature). He was bit by a poisonous snake. He was shipwrecked and stranded at sea. I mean, the guy had been through it, but he always went through it with a song because he knew who was in control.

In the midst of that, he says, "Listen! I rejoiced in the Lord greatly." That's what he told you to do back there in verse 4. Remember, "Rejoice in the Lord always…""This is what you've seen in me." " But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity [to help me]."

Paul is writing the Philippian church saying, "Hey! Here's how you can help me right now." Paul said, "I really don't need your help because God will help me, but I'm going to let you be a means through which God can help me. If you have some physical opportunity to help me, go ahead and help me."

"Not that I seek the gift itself, but I seek for the profit which increases to your account." **That's where he gets in just a moment, and he says this before he gets there. He says, "I know how to be content in whatever circumstances I'm in. I've learned this.""I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need."**

You're like, "This is awesome! What is the secret?" Then, he says this verse which is jerked out of context constantly by bad camp counselors who tell kids who can hardly do a front somersault they can do a double back flip on a trampoline if they just quote this verse. It's nonsense! It has nothing to do with that. I don't care how much you trust Christ. You're not going to be able to dunk from the free-throw line like Michael Jordan. That's not what the verse is talking about.

It's saying you can go through any circumstance strengthened by the person of Christ and the goodness of who he is if you know he's always in control and makes no mistakes. If you resist the lies of the Enemy who says, "God's not good. He has forgotten you. His Word is not true. Disobeying is not that big of a deal. Since God's not sovereign you'd better be! You'd better grab the bull by the horns. You'd better get it done! Quit consulting your Bible and get busy!"

Paul is saying that's not the secret to peace. The secret to peace is being a person who lives as Jesus lived on Friday trusting in the Word of God, the character of God, and the love of God who makes no mistakes. You may tune out on me a little later, so let me just give you the key. Are you ready? Here's what you always have to do.

1._ Hold onto the Word of God._ This book is your anchor. He is not a man that he should repent. He's not a liar. His Word is true. It's why, again, I keep telling you this. He's a God with a résumé. He's a God who dares not just to tell you grand ideas; he's a God who anchors his story in history. He says, "Check me out." Hold on to the Word.

2._ Don't hang out alone._ Even Jesus (this is amazing)…even Jesus… Some people go, "Todd, if I really loved God I wouldn't need community. I wouldn't need others." I go, "That is crazy!" If you'll notice, Jesus ran with other people. Even in Gethsemane, he took his disciples with him. He said, "Let's go! Peter, James, and John, I've spent more time with you than anybody. You come with me. You sit here and pray. I'm going to go over there. I'm going to talk to the Father, but you intercede for me." Don't hang out alone.

I've told you, gang, this is what you need to do. It's what I did yesterday. I had a friend, a member of our church, whose wife passed away yesterday, so we were all there together. We were reminding each other of things that were true. The Word of God is sufficient, but we need others to remind us the Word of God is true, so we were there. We were talking about the truth of what the Word of God said and what it means and why it can be comfort to elementary-school children and middle-school children and college children who are part of this family.

3._ Hang your hope on what he has done._ This is where you have to keep coming back to this. You have to hang your hope not just on his Word like his promise, but focus on that, focus on that with others who can remind you, who will sing songs that are true. It's why we gather and not forsake our gathering because it's a beating, so we need to get back in here and go, "He's beautiful! He's beautiful! His love never fails. Our God is with us always." That's why we sing. We go, "Okay. That's right. It's true!"

4._ Go back to history._ That's what we're going to celebrate this week. History. It is anchored in history, and I'll tell you I love it. This is one of my favorite sections of Scripture. It's one you ought to know. This is Paul in Philippians 1, just before this. In Philippians 1, Paul is reminding them in verse 27 and following.

He says, " Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…" In other words, you've heard the good news. God loves you. This world is not spinning out of control. In other words, all from his sovereignty he's in the middle of it, he's redeeming it, and the righteous will have a someday. Live with that hope. Grieve but not as those who have no hope.

We're going to do a crazy thing. When we bury my friend Susan this Friday, we're going to sing. What kind of idiots sing at the loss of a mother, a sister, a daughter, or a wife? People who know something you don't know. Paul says, "…conduct yourselves…so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel…" I love this. "…in no way alarmed by your opponents…"

I have rehearsed this, gang. I've had to because I know not my Friday but my trial day is coming. Like, a really significant trial day. You guys know cancer came and I was about to lose some real mobility. Who knows if God's not going to turn that on and I am going to lose my foot? Who knows if God turns that on and it goes to my chest and my days are shortened? Who knows? But that wasn't really a trial. I'm talking about real trial days. I'm talking about days when something happened to a kid or something is happening to me. Like, it's show time.

ISIS is a great illustration. All you have is an orange jumpsuit with hands tied, and they say, "You profess that Muhammad is God's prophet or we're going to take your head off." Right here is the verse to go to. By the way, most of you guys will never be in an orange jumpsuit with a machete over your head, but you're going to come across stuff this week where you're going to have to decide if you're going to back away from the hope of the gospel, if you're going to stand firm on the Word of God, or you're just going to get caught up in the cultural mores of the day.

Watch this. He says, "Don't be alarmed at your opponents. He told you a day is coming when people are going to think they're doing God a favor by persecuting you." He says, "…in no way alarmed by your opponents…" Why? This is what you're about to see. Paul is not a genius; he's just observing what I'm about to teach you.

He says, "Watch what Jesus did. He wasn't alarmed by Annas and Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin and Pilate and Herod and the masses. He wasn't alarmed by them because he knew God was at work." Watch this. When you have a peace that passes understanding, it is a sign of destruction for them, but it is a sign of salvation for you.

One of the ways you know you're saved is when you go through something this world says, "That makes no sense and there's no way God can redeem that," and you go, "My God can redeem everything! You don't know my God. If your god can't redeem this, you'd better find another God."

This is what it says right there in verse 27. It says, "…which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake…" Church, are you ready? It's granted that not only do we get to believe in him but we get to believe in him through the trial day, through the weekend waiting for our Sunday/someday. Are you ready? You will be, if you're like Jesus, which is God's goal.

One more thing. In John 18, verses 10 and 11, you're going to see, again, a classic example of a guy who did not see what God was up to. His name is Peter. When you don't believe God is in control, you have to take control, and whenever you take control, whenever you don't sow to the Spirit or live according to faith…

Again, what I would tell you is we don't need to see the end of how things are going to work out. We just need to see God is in everything and God's peace. God is never alarmed. God says, "I got that. I'm not worried. You want to see a two-point reversal? It's coming. I'll make all things beautiful in its time. Not in your time. I'm seldom early. I'm never late. I will show up. I will get it done. Trust in me."

So we grieve but not as those who have no hope. We say, "To live is Christ and to die is gain. It's better for me. I'd like to go to heaven, but it's better for you if I remain." Why? Because I'm going to be about the gospel, and if you want to kill me, kill me. That ought to make them go, "What does this guy know that I don't know, that he is singing in the midst of suffering? What does this guy know that I don't know that he loves me enough to offer me his coat before I bloody it by the machete?"

You'd better right now figure that out. That's the only way you can do what Stephen did, what Jesus did, which is to say, "Father, forgive them. They must not know what they're doing, but I know what I'm doing. I'm trusting in you, the one who makes no mistakes." "Todd, why should I trust in him?" A great question.

John 18 and 19. Peter is a classic example of a guy who doesn't know God doesn't make mistakes, so you're going to watch what he does in this particular moment right here. What Peter is going to do is sow to the flesh, and whenever you sow to the flesh, two things happen. It brings upon your impending death and it causes destruction in those who are near you.

Let me say that again. When you don't trust in the Word of God, it leads to your impending death. It may not be a physical death. It might be the death of your marriage. It will certainly be the death of your testimony, and it's going to be destruction and ugliness to those who are near you.

What does Peter do? Peter goes, "I love you, Jesus, but you clearly have lost it. Sleep deprivation. You don't know what you're doing!" He hasn't listened to the Word of God, so we're at the moment now where they've come into the garden. He's there. Jesus goes toward them and says, "Who do you seek?" and they say, "We're looking for Jesus of Nazareth." He gives them his other name, I Am, the one who was and is and is to come.

They fall down at the revelation of the glory of Jesus. He picks them back up and says, "Let's go through this again. Who are you looking for? I'm the one right here. We're going to let these boys go. You're going to take me, and we're going to get busy letting God be satisfied in his wrath at my perfect provision, and three days later I'm going to be back and I'm going to save all of these. You're not going to take a single one of them, so these boys can go."

Peter is not listening. He pulls out his sword. He has his CHL. He cuts off the right ear of Malchus. He gets busy, and Jesus stops him right there and says, "Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?" In other words, he says, "Peter, I'm doing my daddy's bidding. I told you this is what I'm going to do. They're not doing this to me. I'm doing my daddy's bidding, and if you are my friend, you would not want me to stop doing what my dad wants."

Let me just give you a couple of little applications out of this because this is very important and you need to see this. Friends who are not spiritually appraised always get in the way of God's call on your life. This is why you cannot be a companion and should not be in community or do business or life with those who don't understand the gospel, because the gospel is the only thing that allows you to really believe that God has it covered and he's going to flip this thing.

He can take a cross, humiliation, massive public misinformation, the world being convinced that you're a loon and your Lord is a loon, and he can flip it in a day or as fast as he wants. He chose to do it here in three days, and he told us he'll do it someday. Let me just tell you this again. If you have friends who you're partnering in life with, real companions who are not spiritually appraised, they might mean well, but they will not give you biblical counsel, and it will not go well with you.

Let me say it to you another way. Let me just change the word appraised to apprised. If you have friends who are not spiritually apprised and they are never or not at all surprised at what you do, then you can be sure you're not doing what the Spirit wants you to do. Let me say that to you again. If you have people in your life who don't know the gospel story and they don't think your life is a complete befuddlement, both of you aren't spiritually apprised. Do you get that?

Fleshly people… By the way, this is Galatians, chapter 6, verse 8. "He who sows to the flesh will reap destruction," or "Those who sow to the flesh will reap corruption." It's not going to go well for your life if you don't think God is in control so you're going to go in there and you're going to do what the flesh wants to do (spike in anger, manipulate back).

Jesus says, "Peter, that's not going to work well. If you live according to the flesh you're going to die according to the flesh." Jesus says it this way. "If you're an individual who lives by the sword, you'll die by the sword. If you live by the flesh, you're going to run into other fleshly people. It's not going to go well, but if you're a spiritual person, God has your back. He'll make even your enemies to be at peace with you."

You guys have to decide right here, but look what happens. I would offer you one other little application, and this really gets to what I'm going to talk about all next weekend. I would just say it to you this way. If your life consistently makes sense without the resurrection, then you are not consistently living like the resurrection says you should. If there is nothing in your life (no hope, no peace) that can only be explained by the resurrection, then I would tell you maybe you don't understand the resurrection.

I want to ask you… When was the last time when what the Bible says should be a normal course of affairs for you that your life is sanctified? This is 1 Peter 3. "…but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts…" In other words, give him his rightful place. Get a right and correct view of God revealed primarily through Jesus. Then, it says, "…always be prepared to make a defense when everyone out there who is not spiritually appraised demands you give an account for the hope that is in you…" Then, do it with gentleness and reverence.

"… and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered…" **That you're insane. That your faith has gotten a little too radicalized."…those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame."** Because at the end of the day, they're going to go, "That's a better way to live. If everybody lived like you, that would be a more glorious way. I just don't believe you can do it. I don't understand why you're doing it." Because they don't know John 18 and 19.

Two questions. First, who are your friends? Are they spiritually appraised? If they are not giving you biblical counsel and flipping through the Word and if what they tell you to do in your broken relationship, in your debt, in your giving in your abundance, in your living in your singleness, if they are not admonishing you and encouraging you from the Word of God, then they are not spiritually appraised, and if their life isn't befuddled by yours, neither are you.

Let me show you somebody who is spiritually appraised. His name is Jesus, and he's going to get rung through the ringer right here. It starts in verse 12. It says, " So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, and led Him to Annas first…"

So who is Annas? Annas is the father of the guy who we're going to spend a lot of time with here in a moment. His name is Caiaphas. Annas became high priest just after Jesus was born. The Romans did not like really centralized power for a long time, so they made Annas not have that title, but he was the godfather.

He continually worked behind the scenes. The next six high priests were Annas' five sons and his son-in-law, so what you'll see is, even though there is a new high priest by name, the godfather who was really behind the whole thing is who they go to first. "Bring him to me." That's the first place he'd go, to see the godfather. Part of what happened is he's telling Caiaphas, "Go get the rest of the boys together. We're going to run through this little kangaroo court here tonight," so the very first thing he does is he appears before Annas, the leader of the ball.

Caiaphas, as you know, is the one who God used to speak prophetically what was true. I love this! What you're going to see is God uses a rooster to confirm his word. In the Bible, he uses a donkey to confirm his word. Here, he uses a godless high priest, because the people are saying, "Folks are starting to follow this Jesus, and if too many people start to follow him, who knows if the Romans are going to like that?" Caiaphas goes, "We should kill Jesus. It's better for the nation that one man dies than the whole nation gets thrown into trouble."

He was dead-on right, and he executed on that dead-on rightness. He was just wrong in what God was going to do. He was going to use Caiaphas in his unspiritual appraisedness to kill Jesus so God's wrath could be satisfied so even the likes of Caiaphas could be saved. We're going to get to this one little point right here at the trial. There are six of them.

Annas was the first. Caiaphas was number two. Then, the whole Sanhedrin, which is the Supreme Court of all of the Jews, comes together. I'm going to show you those in just a second. This is all happening now. This is Thursday night late and early into Friday morning, but we have to catch Simon Peter first. Let me just read to you verses 15 through 18 and then jump down to verses 25 to 27. We'll take care of Peter right here, and I'll tell you why this is here.

"Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple." **We know it was John, or most of us believe it was John because of the detail of his record with what was going on."Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in. Then the slave-girl who kept the door said to Peter, 'You are not also one of this man's disciples, are you?'"**

That's what happens when you're a loud-mouth. There are a bunch of disciples, but if you're a loud-mouth, they're going to know you're one of them. Right? So, "Shh! No. Be a loud-mouth. The world ought to know you're one of his disciples, but there's Peter. I love this. Do you remember how Jesus declared himself?

"We're looking for Jesus of Nazareth," and he'd say, "I am." What does Peter say? "He said, 'I am not.' Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself."

If you pick it back up over there in verse 25, you'll see what happens. " Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, 'You are not also one of His disciples, are you?' He denied it, and said, 'I am not.' One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off…" You recognize the guy who cut your buddy's ear off. "…said, 'Did I not see you in the garden [carrying a knife] with Him?' Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed."

I love what it says in Luke. If you go to Luke in chapter 22, verse 61 (if you want to just write that down, you can go back and look at it later), it says, "The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord…" He wouldn't have been in that spot had he remembered the word of the Lord in the first place.

Note to self: the reason I get in trouble in the garden and in the courtyard and everywhere is because I don't remember the word of the Lord, and the word of the Lord is going to come true. The word of the Lord is, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you'll be saved," or "Every knee is going to bow before me and acknowledge I'm King, but it will be too late."

Here, Peter remembered the word of the Lord when he said, "Peter, you're going to deny me three times." Now, here's a little trivia question. When I teach the very end of the book of John, I'm going to come back and remind you of this but I'm going to say it right now. Here's a trivia question. Which disciple said he would never deny Jesus?

"Is he really asking us that? I think we just kind of went over this." Here's the reason. I want to tell you there are not many stories that are in all four gospels. The resurrection is in all four gospels. The feeding of the 5,000 is in all four gospels. The crucifixion is in all four gospels. Do you know what else is in all four gospels? Peter's denial of Christ. There's a reason all of those things are there. There's something going on there that God says, "I don't care who is telling the story, but make sure you tell this part of the story because this matters."

Which disciple said he would not deny Jesus? The answer is all of them. "Well, Todd, how do you know that?" I know that because I believe the Word of God, and this is what the Word of God says in Matthew 26:35. "** Peter said to Him, 'Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.' All the disciples said the same thing too."**

All of them said it, and I'm going to tell you…listen…all of us have said it, haven't we? "Lord, I'm not going to forsake you. I see how much you love me." There's a reason it's there. Because all of us can relate. I want to know him. I'm that guy. I don't hear a cock crow every time that happens, but I'm that guy.

I told you, when you go to Israel, if you ever go, don't go to churches. Churches are a beating. They're built on top of stuff with traditions that hold it there. They might even be on the right spot, but there is one to go to. It's in Gethsemane. There's another one I would recommend you go to. It's called the Church of St. Peter in Gallicantu. It's the Latin word for the cock crows. It's where Caiaphas' house was. They know it was the high priest's house. Here's a picture of it. Let me just show you some cool stuff.

That's actually the courtyard. Let me show you a picture in the courtyard of a sculpture that's right where those people are standing. It's a picture of Peter where he says, "I don't know the man!" You'll see there the slave girl. You'll see Malchus' relative. You'll see the guard, and you'll see a rooster. How would you like to have a church named after you of your great failure and the beacon call from the rooster that forever immortalizes it in history?

I don't know if Saint Peter would make that his home church or not, but do you know what? I think he would! That's why we come and sing about the gospel. It's the gospel of redemption. Welcome, all you people who said, "I'm not going to deny him this week," and you did. Jesus saw you when you did it just like he saw Peter, and that's why he died. He knows you are fickle and small people, but strengthen your heart.

"Get together. Don't forsake being together all week long. I love you. I'm not mad at you! I'm not saving you because you're going to be perfect this week. I'm saving you because I love you. Just live in my love. Remember, my Word is true. Don't go at it alone. Remember what I've done. Come on. Suffer with me. Live for the gospel. Be excellent in everything so when they slander you, they go, 'These are better people.'"

When we make mistakes, we seek forgiveness. This week, I had to send a long email to a guy because I just… In fact, the way I responded to something was a re-trade. I didn't even know I was re-trading. He reminded me. "Todd, you said this." I go, "You know what? I did, and forgive me for even causing you stress and having to read my email like I was going to try and claim I didn't say something."

I went back and looked. That's exactly what I said. "Will you forgive me? I was wrong." I didn't just say it. I went very specifically at what I did that was wrong. "I grieve that you went through that angst because of me." Hey, gang, it wasn't intentional. I just did it, and I owned it, and his response was amazing. He said, "That's amazing! That's not the response I thought you were going to give me."

Hey! This is here so we wouldn't forget that God loves the likes of us and Peter. All of the disciples say, "I'm not going to deny you this week," and we might, but his love never fails. It never gives up. Don't you want to serve that God? After that failure, he still gets the beating for Peter. After that failure (that forsaking), he still goes to the cross. After that failure (that forsaking), he still loves him, and he can't wait to get to where he gets to call Peter back in the resurrected glory and say, "Peter, come here. It's coming. I can't wait to get there with you."

They all said it. They get to Caiaphas. Look at verse 19. It says, "The high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching." **"Who follows you? How many of them are there? What do you teach them?""Jesus answered him, 'I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret.'"**

"I don't have two messages, Caiaphas. What I say in private I live in public." Can you say that? Can you say that? Is what you're doing in here completely different than what you're going to do out there this week? I hope not, because we want to be like Jesus. He says, "Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said."

"By the way, so do you, Caiaphas. The problem is not that you don't know what I said; the problem is you don't like it." This is the intro to the book of John. It says in the book of John, chapter 3, verse 19, "This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil."

You're going to find Caiaphas is motivated by maintaining his power and the status quo. He's not listening to the words. He's not watching the signs. He's suppressing the people because he likes what he has, and to Caiaphas I would say what Jesus would say which is, "Hey, Caiaphas! If you like what you have, keep doing what you're doing, but, bro, if you keep doing what you're doing you're not going to like what you got. I'll make provision for you so when you don't want to do that you can come home, but meanwhile, continue on."

Verse 22: "When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, 'Is that the way You answer the high priest?' Jesus answered him, 'If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?'" After that, the Sanhedrin starts to shuffle in, and we have, in effect, the third trial. You don't find it in John. John kind of accelerates through that.

You find it in Mark, chapter 14, verses 53 through 65. It's where they bring in a bunch of false witnesses who can't even get their stories together. They can't even agree what they're going to say to Jesus, but at one point, they're sitting there doing that, and Jesus is just sitting there silently. He's just letting them go on about the deal because that's part of God's program.

He's not going to try and convince them he's right and they're wrong. He's going to trust himself to the one who judges rightly, and finally, it says in Mark 14, verse 60, "The high priest stood up and came forward and questioned Jesus, saying, 'Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?' But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him…"

Listen. What you have to do is not just go to Mark 14. Here, you go to Matthew 26, where the same story is told. Matthew adds in that Caiaphas says to him, "I adjure You by the living God…" I love this. This is important. He's quiet. He's not saying a word. "Don't you hear what these men are saying? Answer them!"

Finally, he just goes, "I adjure You by the living God…" Then, he says to him, "…that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God. […] Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" And Jesus goes, "Okay. Now I'm not answering fools. You're asking me to speak for God," so he speaks up.

You tell me if this isn't clear. "I am…" I love this. He goes, "Do you want me to testify? I am, and you will see me again, Caiaphas." "…and you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven." The defense rests. That's Philippians 1:27. Caiaphas went, "Uh-oh."

Actually, what he did was he ripped his robe, which if he's really concerned about the law, the law says very clearly in Leviticus the high priest is never to rip his robe. Other people can, but the high priest shouldn't. You're going to see Caiaphas is just a clown. He's just a charade, and Jesus is going to let it all go down, but I love this. Do you get this? "You tell me, by the name of God, who are you?"

"I am him. I am the Son of God. I will come back again with the clouds, and you will see me, and your knee will bow, and those clowns won't testify. They'll just sing my praises with you before judgment. Carry on." I love this. This is Jesus in all of his glory. This is not a man shaken. This is his trial, a false trial, a monkey trial in kangaroo court. "Carry on. You're not in control."

I love this. Very quickly now, they rush off. They take him to Pilate. They take him to the Praetorium. Do you guys learn this way? What the flip is a Praetorium? Well, a Praetor is a commander in chief. The Praetorium is the big hall in the commander of chief's digs. There we are in the Praetorium. Because these guys were religious and they didn't want to be defiled, they couldn't go into the home of the Gentile, so Pilate had to come out to them. Do you see just what dead religion does? It's just nonsense.

"I can't miss mass. I can't miss church. Who cares if I don't stay faithful to my marriage covenant?" It's dead religion. They go there and they're hanging out. In verse 29, "…Pilate went out to them and said, 'What accusation do you bring against this Man?'" Here are the Jews. They're so humble. "They answered and said to him, 'If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered Him to you.'"

"Just do what we want you to do!" "So Pilate said to them, 'Take Him yourselves, and judge Him according to your law.'" It says in Matthew 27, " For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over." He had heard about Jesus. Everybody had heard about Jesus. He knew the problem with Jesus was that Jesus was more popular than their dead religion. "You just go deal with it yourself." The Jews said, "We're not permitted to kill him, and we're committed to killing him."

Why did it happen? Look at verse 32, gang. This is what you need to keep going back to. It was going to be that the Jews weren't going to kill him. What did the Jews do to blasphemers? They stoned them, but God wasn't going to let them stone him because it was to fulfill the Word. What was the Word? The Word was the Messiah would not ever have a bone broken. Killing by stoning usually breaks bones. It might just be your cheekbone, but your bones get broken. He said, "No bones are going to be broken in this land."

Secondly, it was that he was going to be judged not by the Jews but by the whole world. It was the Roman and Jewish cohort. Thirdly, he was going to be lifted up. Crucifixion is the only death at that time where you would die by being lifted up. God is in control even in the way he's going to die just like he's in control in the way he was going to be born.

"Therefore Pilate entered again into the Praetorium, and summoned Jesus and said to Him, 'Are You the King of the Jews?'" **I love this because now you're going to see the way he handles the powers of the day. Verse 34:"Are you saying this on your own initiative, or did others tell you about Me?" In other words, "Is that really your concern because your men have told you that, or do you think I'm a rebel? You think I'm a threat to Rome?""Pilate answered, 'I am not a Jew…'"** "I don't really care about your little Jewish games."

"'Your own nation and the chief priests delivered You to me; what have You done?' Jesus answered, 'My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.'"

"My kingdom is bigger than Caesar's, bigger than the Jews, and bigger than yours." By the way, this is what he said to Peter in the garden when Peter cut off Malchus' ear. He said, "Peter, put it away. Dude, listen. If I asked my Father, would he not send me 12 legions of angels? We wouldn't have to fight. I'm not asking Dad to bail me out of this because Dad wants me to go through this, so put your sword away!"

He's just repeating the same thing right here to Pilate. "Therefore Pilate said to Him, 'So You are a king?' Jesus answered, 'You say correctly that I am a king.'" Notice he did not deny messiahship to the Jews and he did not deny sovereignty to Rome. "Hey, high priest, I'm your God. Hey, Caesar, I'm your King." That's who he thought he was. It's pretty clear to me. He said, "Here's the deal, Pilate. I have come for one reason and that is to testify what is true."

"'Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice [or listens to me] .' Pilate said to Him, 'What is truth?' And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews and said to them, 'I find no guilt in Him.'" Do you see what he says? Gang, some of you guys are here and you're listening to me and you kind of go, "That's nice. Come on. How do you really know?" You walk away and you don't ever wrestle with it.

What I'm telling you is I'm asking you to ask questions. This is anchored in history. If something is true, no amount of scrutiny will affect it. Don't do what Pilate did, which was, "What is truth?" I would go figure out who Jesus is, what he was doing on the cross, and what that has to do with you. It's the only question that really matters.

He says, "I find no fault in this man," and the Jews said to him, "We don't want Jesus. We want you to kill him. We need you to do it." Pilate had a custom. He'd let somebody go during the festival. He said, "Shall I release to you the King of the Jews?" They cried out, "Not this man, but give us the son of the father."

That's literally what Barabbas means. Abba Father. Abba is the tender word for Daddy. Son of the Daddy. "Give us that one! Free that one!" That's really what happens because Jesus, the Messiah, stays and is killed. All of the Daddy's sons can be set free. All of the murderers, all of the insurrectionists, all of the rebels can be set free because Jesus stays where they belong. Do you see how beautiful that is?

" Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him." **Scourging wouldn't satisfy God, and it didn't satisfy the Jews."And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head…"** You remember this. Right? What happened when Adam and Eve sinned? It says the earth will bring forth thorns and thistles. The earth will be cursed. They laid the curse of the earth on his head.

Just like in Genesis 3, where it said the Serpent would strike this coming singular male on the heel, but that singular male will crush the Serpent's head. He takes the curse. He gets struck and falls, but he rises again and defeats the curse and defeats the liar to set men free. It's tight, man! It's tight! In here, there's a little shift off of Herod. It comes back to Pilate, and he sends him to the cross.

This is your Jesus. He is sovereignly in control. He is testifying to religious men. He is testifying to powerful men. "I'm in control of all of this." He's testifying to you. "Trust in the Word of God." In three days, this is a no-brainer, but right now, he is beaten, he is mocked, he is spit upon, he is the sovereign God who makes men who he lets punch him in the face.

He has been eternally one with perfection and deity, and in a moment, he is going to be separated from that for you and me because he loves you. Will you trust him? You're going to have a trial day. You're going to have something that's going to go for a long time. I don't know when your someday is going to come. Do you trust him? Hold on to the Word. Don't hang out alone. Hang all of your hope on what he has done.

I'll see you Friday to remember this with great intensity. I'll see you Sunday to sing it with great joy, but we don't have to be somber now. We live in the resurrection always. We'll remember it appropriately Friday, but I pray we remember the whole story right now. Let's pray.

Father, I thank you for my friends that we can gather in here and we can walk through this and just be amazed at your strength, that we could be amazed at your beauty, that we could be amazed at your peace. I pray we would be surrounded by godly people who would help us hold firm to the Word.

I pray we would be godly people who would go into other's trouble and we would not pull out swords and the counsel of men but we would walk in the counsel of God and be biblical counselors, that we'd sing songs of comfort, we'd mourn with those who mourn, we'd rejoice with those who rejoice, and we would wait for the day.

Father, help us to look to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who was unshaken, and I pray it is a source of absolute conviction to others and it is evidence of salvation to us that we sing at the grave. We sing in troubled times because you are our God. Help us to serve you now. If there is anyone here, Lord, who does not know you, I pray they'd come. I pray they'd be deeply convicted, drawn by your beauty, and they would be saved. In the name of Jesus, I pray, amen.

Have a great week of worship. We'll see you.