“If we are to receive the crown of life, Christ must receive the crown of thorns. He cannot be our Saviour any other way. . . . . In the crown of his deity alone, Christ could only say to a dying thief, ‘Be thou accursed’; but in the crown of thorns he can say, ‘This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.’ In the crown of his deity alone, he can only say to a Magdalene or a publican, ‘Depart from me’; but in the crown of thorns he can say, ‘Go in peace, your sins are forgiven you.’ It is in his diadem of thorns that he stoops low in humiliation and shame and sorrow to seek and to save sinners. It is only by the sharp thorn of his suffering that the poisonous thorn of our sin is drawn. In other words, apart from the cross God cannot forgive sin.” (Frederick S. Leahy, The Cross He Bore: Meditations on the Sufferings of the Redeemer, p. 66).
In preparation for the Wednesday evening Bible study and prayer time at Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC.
Jesus, as King, entered this world to testify to the truth. Jesus, as the Word made flesh, came into this world to reveal the glory of the Father, “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). John the Baptist’s testimony about Jesus was that through him grace and truth have come (John 1:17). Jesus spoke of himself as “the way, the truth, and the life.” As he stood before Pilate to be condemned to die he was revealing the truth—the gracious love of God who so loved the world that he gave his own Son as the Savior. Jesus, as the truth, is the only way to the Father.
“Testify” is legal, courtroom language, but Jesus is not taking the stand in his own defense. Rather, as he solemnly proclaims the truth, revealing the Father and his own kingship, roles are reversed. Pilate is the one accountable to Jesus, who is the truth. One day you will stand before that King.
“The place and calling of the Christian community in the world are determined by its differentness. As citizens not only of this world but also of Jesus’ kingdom, Christians are concerned with the struggle for justice and righteousness, even in the political and social sense of those words, and that not only for the benefit of the church but also for the well-being of the world. But the meaning of their existence as the church in the world does not lie there. The primary focus of their attention and message is otherwise. It is not found in what unites it with ‘the world’ but in what distinguishes it from the world. It is found in what Jesus now (v. 37) positively describes as the content of his kingship: testimony to the truth as he has heard and received it from the Father.” (Herman Ridderbos, The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary, p. 595.)
(In preparation for the Wednesday evening Bible study and prayer time at Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC)
As he tells of Jesus’ trial before Annas and Caiaphas, John interweaves segments recounting Peter’s denial of Jesus (John 18:15-27). You are not surprised that the chief priests and the Council isolate Jesus, make him the scapegoat, and pursue his death. But you should be startled that Peter, Peter who had confessed his Lord, Peter who had insisted that he would never abandon Jesus, this Peter denies knowing Jesus, not once, but three times. Not Peter, but Jesus is the central character in this account of Peter denying his Lord.
Herman Ridderbos comments:
“In the extreme restraint of the repeated ‘I am not’ the Evangelist is . . . echoing the repeated ‘I am’ with which Jesus answers his interrogators (vss. 5, 8). With this contrast the Evangelist lays bare the deeper meaning of Peter’s denial: Jesus goes alone on a road from which no one can keep him and on which no one, not even Peter, can join him or follow him (13:36; cf. 13:33). Peter tries to follow Jesus, and that only plunges him into denying Jesus. Jesus had foretold this. The cock crows ‘at once’ into Peter’s ears when for the third time he must say of himself: ‘I am not.’” (The Gospel of John: A Theological Commentary, p. 585.) Continue reading
“To suffer voluntarily, when we have the power to prevent it, and to suffer for a world of unbelieving and ungodly sinners, unasked and unthanked—this is a line of conduct which passes man’s understanding. Never let us forget that this is the peculiar beauty of Christ’s sufferings, when we read the wondrous story of His cross and passion. He was led away captive, and dragged before the High Priest’s bar, not because He could not help Himself, but because He had set His whole heart on saving sinners.” (Ryle’s Expository Thoughts on the Gospels, Vol. 4, p. 475).
Wednesday evening’s Bible study/prayer time at Trinity Presbyterian Church, OPC, will focus on Jesus before the high priests (John 18). In a trial which was a verdict of guilty looking for excuse to convict, the high priest examined Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus responded that he had not taught in secret, but in the synagogues or the temple. He challenged his interrogator, “Ask those who heard me.”
The Dutch theologian and preacher, Klaas Schilder, suggests that Jesus’ response might be expanded. Ask the men who cut wood. Ask the women who carry water from the wells. Ask the people who listened to the sermons and parables. He invites the high priest, the representative of the court of the land, to bring in his hearers as witnesses. Schilder suggests the appropriate resp0nse:
“Reply now, and tell Annas, and say to Caiaphas, and to the whole world, that in reference to Christ there is but one appropriate thing to do: to surrender and to be willing to believe.” (Christ on Trial, pp. 44-45).