Sixth Sunday in Lent; Palm/Passion Sunday; Series B

Sermon – Lent 6/Palm Sunday – March 25, 2018
Mark 14:53-65 ‘The Son of Man’
CT: The Judge of the world was judged by the world that He might bear our guilt, pay our ransom, and pardon us.

Intro: Courtroom drama shows abound these days; we’ve come a long way from Perry Mason. But the real cliff-hangers are always those cases when the defendant faces the death penalty. Jesus faced the death penalty. He was arrested at night and dragged before the highest court in Jerusalem; to appear before the high priest, all the chief priests, elders, and teachers of the law. His was a high profile case before the whole Sanhedrin, and yet He stood silent before His accusers and those who bore false witness against Him.
And that was the problem; Caiaphas, the head prosecutor had nothing but false testimony; his case against Jesus was unravelling. So he made a bold move, never mind answering to the lies; he asked Jesus to speak the truth. And there’s never been a more dramatic and shocking testimony ever given on a witness stand than the one Jesus gave during his trial. Caiaphas went straight for the heart of the matter; the reason for the council’s jealousy and rage; Jesus’ claim to be the Father’s Son. “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” The high priest would not even use God’s name, but rather a Hebrew idiom for the same. Yet the question was clear; and so was Jesus’ answer; “I am.”

God’s Name: The name that everyone in the Sanhedrin would jump through hoops to avoid saying, Jesus spoke: “I, I am.” Remember how Moses stood with bare feet before the burning bush, wanting God’s name to take to the people in slavery in Egypt. And God said to Moses, “I AM who I AM.”
The Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day, even to this day are so respectful and fearful of God’s Name that they avoid using it, because He will not hold anyone guiltless who uses His name in vain. But Jesus was not afraid to speak of God or use His name in a sentence: “I, I am the Bread of Life… the Good Shepherd…the Resurrection and the Life”…and in John 8 Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Moses was, I am.” Jesus claimed God as His Father, but now before the whole Sanhedrin He settled the matter. But when Jesus said, “I am,” he couched it with: “And you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

Son of Man: While others asked Jesus if He was the Christ, Jesus most often referred to Himself as ‘the Son of Man’. It’s a title that gets its messianic meaning from Daniel 7. In a vision Daniel saw one like the son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven. This Son of Man is an agent of God’s judgement leading to the climax where the He is installed as the eternal King over all. Jesus is saying that He is the Judge and everlasting King, and that there’s been an enormous reversal; the Judge of the entire world is being judged by the world.

Judge and King: Is this anyway to treat the King who will come to judge the living and the dead; to judge you and me? Such power and authority should be approached with humility and with pleas for mercy, for our sins will be judged by this King. Over and over again we have judged Jesus as not having authority over certain parts of our lives. If the truth be told, we’d rather not think about God’s authority and over us. In this age of self-determination, we judge what’s right for me! To this day people from every corner of the world judge Jesus as not being worthy of being their King; He couldn’t possibly be who He said He is, and He’s definitely has no say in how my life is lived. But at Jesus’ trial, He told those who would judge Him that that He has complete authority over them. Whatever they do is because He let’s it be so, because something greater is at stake.

Your King: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him may have eternal life.” It is you and I that are deserving of death; the accusations against us are not false. Yet the judgment levied against us was on Jesus. He was punished for your sins so that you could be free of them. He was abandoned by His Father that you would not be; that we could call God, ‘our Father’. Jesus died our death that death would no longer have the final say in your life.
Jesus is the Son of Man; God’s response to our death-ridden judgements. He is seated at the right hand of power; all power and authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Him. And He is the Judge who gave His life into death for you in order that He might judge us justly; that our blood soaked pardon would bring us to repentance and faith and life. From “Hosanna” to “Crucify Him” He is no ordinary king; He is the Judge and eternal King, who took on your death sentence in order to give you His verdict of eternal life.

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