The death of Judas was an expression of despair. He was a man consumed by greed, then guilt, then hopelessness. In today’s message, Dr. John speaks of the suicide of Judas. It was not an inevitable ending. As long as there is breath, redemption is possible. Judas denied that hope.
To be in a position of influence for good is a great responsibility. Pilate failed that responsibility. In today’s message, Dr. John examines Pilate and the role he played in the condemnation of Jesus. We note that Pilate had opportunity to do what is right, but failed because of personal fears and ambition. He deflected his responsibility and justice was failed.
Humiliation is the process of degrading the worth of an individual. By words and actions, the person is belittled and mocked. Dr. John reminds us of the humiliation Jesus endured at His trial, condemnation and crucifixion. He who is of the greatest worth, willingly surrenders to the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual degradation of sinful man. Sin was the cause and defeating sin was His purpose.
Clearly, the focus of Scripture is on Jesus during His crucifixion. Yet Matthew expands the spotlight. Today, Dr. John will echo Matthew’s focus on 5 other groups that surround Jesus on the cross. It is indicative that while Jesus is central, His death affects us all.
Death is a common experience. We each will face our own demise and probably have experienced the loss of a loved one. Death is our experience, but not God’s. How does Life die? Today Dr. John will speak of the death of Jesus – a death He did not deserve and a death He would never experience – unless He willingly surrendered to it. His life was not taken, but given.
We often skip over the burial of Jesus. We focus on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. But the burial of our Lord is part of the Gospel story. In this message Dr. John points to those who participated in His burial. A secret believer from the Sanhedrin. A religious leader who sought out Jesus. Women who followed Jesus and prepared His body for burial. Each demonstrated a faith, loyalty and courage – all the way to Jesus’ grave.
There are sureties in life. The pull of gravity. The passing of time. The finality of death. But God and His purposes are the greatest surety of all. In today’s message, Dr. John speaks of guards set in place to keep Jesus in the tomb.The Roman sentries were assurance against any theft of Jesus’ body. They were useless to stop Jesus from walking out on His own.
We expect actions to back up words. Whatever promises are made, if deeds do not back them up, all credibility is lost. In today’s message, Dr. John reminds us that the resurrection of Jesus is proof of His Words. While the empty tomb proclaims power and glory, it is also certainty that Jesus is who He claims to be and will do what He promises.
In any event, be it tragedy or celebration, witnesses are looked to for information. They offer insight and credibility from their first-hand experience. The same is true with Jesus’ Resurrection. Today Dr. John will walk us through those first witnesses of the empty tomb. Their testimony and consistent witness are a chorus of confidence for us all.