Text: Luke 22:63-23:25 | Listen to Message
Thoughts on Putting God in The Dock
One of the most bizarre things about the last day of Jesus’ life (pre-resurrection) is how many people simultaneously felt comfortable acting as his judge, jury, and executioner. Think about it: Sinful human beings put the Son of God on trial, found him innocent, and were determined to murder him anyway.
Why – and what’s this got to do with your life?
The why is actually not a single reason, but rather a tangled web of several reasons:
Jesus was the real deal, and the people were following him instead of the official religious leaders of Israel. When they sensed that their power and authority were slipping away – and that nobody really respected them anymore – they became envious and bitter. They put Jesus on trial because he jeopardized their control.
Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, wasn’t worried about Jesus. He clearly wasn’t any threat to the Roman Empire, Son of God or not. But Pilate was skating on thin ice with Tiberius Caesar due to some previous mixups with the Jews. So he knew he had to pick his battles – or lose his position altogether. Though he personally found Jesus innocent three times over, he condemned Jesus to die simply to boost his approval rating with the Jews.
Herod Antipas was another story. He just wanted to see Jesus do magic tricks. And when Jesus wouldn’t give him what he wanted, he made him the object of ridicule. He’d get his entertainment one way or another.
The common people were initially excited by Jesus’ claims to be the Messiah. Finally they would get the rebellion and autonomy they wanted! Except that Jesus wasn’t willing to be the kind of military-political revolutionary they expected. In fact, he seemed utterly resigned to die a martyr’s death, content to say that his kingdom was not of this world. The people’s disappointment turned into frustration, and then boiled over with outright animosity.
Enough about them. What about you?
Oh, you’re not calling for the crucifixion of Jesus, sure. But think about all those times you express a critical, complaining spirit toward God. Think about all the times you (quietly?) demand that He justify His ways to you. What are you doing, except putting God on trial and acting as His judge? His timing is off. He’s doing the wrong thing. He’s letting bad people get away with bad stuff. He doesn’t seem to care about your sacrifice and general all-around awesomeness. And He’d better hurry about and explain Himself . . . or else.
Why are you putting God on trial? Is it because you want to be in control of your life? Is it because that’s what everyone else is doing, and you just want to go along to get along? Is it because you want Him to entertain you by filling your life with good things – and He’s not? Or are you simply disillusioned because He’s not who you thought He’d be, or He’s not doing what you thought He’d do?
If you recognize where you’re trying God, repent. Take a giant step back and admit to yourself that He’s God, and you’re not. If you could see everything He sees – if you knew everything He knows – you’d get it, too. But you don’t, because you’re the creature and He’s the Creator.
Incidentally, what was Jesus up to when everyone was condemning him to die? He was fulfilling the plan for our salvation. He was laying down his life, the innocent for the guilty, so that we could be forgiven and reconciled to God.
In the end, you accomplish nothing by trying and judging God. Instead, trust the one who was tried and judged in your place.