Resurrection Road: Truth in Christ (John 18:28-40)

Resurrection Road

Part I: Truth in Christ

{John 18:28-40}


The day we remember our Savior’s resurrection is quickly approaching and we want to take the next four weeks to prepare ourselves for it.

Resurrection Sunday, or Easter, is certainly a day that has been seriously misconstrued by not only the secular, but the spiritual as well. Rightly so when you come across articles such as 5 Ways to Make a Huge Impact on Easter Sunday.[1]

What are the five ways to make a huge impact?

1.) Dress up the décor

2.) Include a meal

3.) Throw a party

4.) Entice with eggs

5.) Teach on location

Other articles, such as Ten Creative Ideas to Make Your Easter Service Special, had similar suggestions for Pastors to utilize during the Sunday morning service:[2]

1.) Host a family photobooth

2.) Have a signable wall or display

3.) Mix up your music

4.) Share stories of life change

5.) Give your media a fresh look

6.) Provide fun and tasty treats

7.) Turn up the fun for kids

8.) Build a new stage design

9.) Take a Sunday selfie with your crowd

10.) Provide giveaways for congregation

I found it interesting that out of all the articles I read there was only one that not only opened with, but seriously emphasized the proclamation of truth:

“You’re going to have visitors. Some of those visitors…don’t have a clear picture of what Christianity is all about…give them a picture of Christianity…Easter is your chance to share the gospel with people…[3] This is an opportunity to proclaim the truth!

Is not the Truth the reason we gather? This brought me to consider a conversation that took place in the early morning some 2,000 years ago in Jerusalem before a crucifixion. Within this conversation a statement is made, a question is asked, but an answer does not follow. It is the answer to this question that we must know and teach.

John 18:28-32

We see here the Jewish Leaders wanting Jesus to stand trial before Pontius Pilate, a Governor of Rome. They are emphatic that He is an evil doer. It is interesting how they want Pilate to be the executioner of a Man without question because they can “assure” him He deserves it. They also fail to mention to Pilate the three illegal trials according to their law which they held against Christ to come to such a conclusion as they did. This is ironic, because the reason they brought Him to Pilate was because they desired to uphold the law of putting one to death. The very law they neglected in trying him.

The power of life and death had been taken from the Jews when Judea became a Roman province prior to this event. Meaning if an individual was to be put to death it was because Rome said so. In fact Pilate will later tell Christ he has the power of life and death over Him.[4] This is why we see Christ’s accusers trying to appeal to Pilot through the political realm:

1.) “And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this Man misleading our nation and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King…He stirs up the people…”[5]

2.) “…Pilate made efforts to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you release this Man, you are no friend of Caesar; everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”[6]

They wanted Christ dead! The amazing part is that in their desire to kill Him they were fulfilling the very plan and purpose of God. Jesus Himself declared:

1.) To the Jews in the temple, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”[7]

2.) To Nicodemus, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up.”[8]

3.) To the Pharisees in the temple treasury, “…When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He…”[9]

4.) To the multitude, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.”[10]

5.) To His disciples, “The Son of Man is to be delivered into the hands of men, and they will kill Him; and when He has been killed, He will rise three days later.”[11]

The truth of His death, burial, and resurrection were the focal point of His ministry. It should therefore be the focal point of this church, especially leading up to Resurrection Day.

We see in John 18 a trial prompted by men who care nothing of the truth. The Scripture tells us that Pilate understood the Jews had delivered Christ up out of envy.[12]

John 18:33-35

Pilate’s question is pretty straightforward, “Are you a King of the Jews?” Jesus’ question in return really directs to the genuineness of his inquiry. It is probably fair for us to assume Pilate is not truly seeking an answer for himself at this time.

John 18:36-37

It is now revealed that Jesus is in fact a King, and His kingdom is not of this earth. Christ also reveals His purpose for why He was born, and why He came to the earth. To bear witness to the truth.

John 18:38-40

It is sad that Pilate had just spent time trying to discover the truth of why the Jews brought Christ, but now he does not care to know it. What is the truth Christ came to bear witness of? Yes, He spoke of His death, burial, and resurrection, which are the climax of the truth, but they did not happen on a whim. If Christ could save others why not save Himself? Why does He not call on His servants to help? Does Christ really have to die? Is The Father unable to save The Beloved Son?

After Pilate declares his authority over Christ, Jesus says, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above”.[13]

The truth points to the eternal and holy God and His relationship with mankind.

When we hear of Resurrection Sunday we rightly think of the final days of Christ’s ministry; H\however Scripture reveals this event also unfolded in eternity past when the plan of redemption in Christ was birthed prior to creation.

Peter tells the Jews on Pentecost,

“Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know – this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.”[14]

It is here we see God execute His plan of redemption through the free will of man. Paul declares to the Ephesians:

“…just as He chose us in Him (Christ) before the foundation of the world…”[15]

This means as God verbally told Adam.

“…From the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”[16]

The Godhead had inwardly conversed saying:

“Adam, you shall surely die and at the right time I shall surely die for you and for your descendants!”

What do we see take place in the garden? After Satan was thrust from heaven for his pride to be like the Most High he brought deception to those whom God had made in His own image.[17] He knew that God is Holy, and that within His holiness He is completely just.[18] He also knew that God loved His creation. Satan therefore sought to kill those who bore the Creator’s image knowing God demands death for sin.[19]

Think about it, since his own rebellion solidified his destruction it would undoubtedly do the same for the crown of creation. We know he was successful in deceiving them for the Scripture says,

“…she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate.”[20]

After man’s fall into sin we can almost envision Satan rubbing his hands together with a smirk on his face knowing full well the justice of the Holy One. Yet, what were the very first words he heard from God to man after the fall? “Where are you?”[21]

There was a facet of God that Satan was unaware of and still does not understand today, which is the mercy and grace of the Almighty. We can certainly see a ceasing of the hands and a fading of the smirk as Satan confusingly watched God walking in the garden seeking those who had died. Spiritual death, or separation, had thus occurred between God and humanity. What do we see? The Holy One reaching out to the unholy. The Just in search of the unjust!

This brings up the truth of justice and mercy, for it is critical in understanding the gospel. As humans we can either enact justice on a deserving individual, or we can show mercy. If we choose justice we are not merciful. If we choose mercy justice is unsatisfied.

However, since God is good He must enact justice. If God ceased being completely just He would cease being completely good and holy. Understand though, God in His goodness does not have to show mercy. Meaning He is still good even when He chooses not to be merciful. If God owed humanity mercy it would no longer be mercy but merit.

This means that if God then chooses to show mercy to the undeserving He must also enact pure justice, or else forfeit being good and holy. A paradox has now been formed.[22] Leaving creation with the question: How can a holy God, Who is both completely just and the total essence of love, lovingly justify guilty humanity without compromise?How can He do it without perverting His nature? Justice demands death, but mercy allows life. How is God going to accomplish both?

He revealed a glimpse of His eternal plan in the garden immediately after the fall. We see after man deliberately defied the Word of God and clung to Satan’s word,[23] God delivered the Protoevangelium[24] towards the serpent saying:

“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed, and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise Him on the heel.”[25]

What does the first gospel tell us?

1.) God is sending Someone who will oppose Satan and all who are born of him.

2.) This Someone will not have an earthly father, but they will come through a woman.

3.) This Someone will destroy Satan and the work he has done.

4.) This Someone will be bruised in the process of crushing Satan.

As Christ stands before Pilate, we are near the fulfillment of this promise made in the beginning, but contrived in the everlasting. The heel is going to be crushed. God will execute His purpose in redeeming fallen mankind in Christ, Who satisfies the justice of God by bearing the penalty of sin humanity deserves. It is in this act He will crush the head of Satan, but it will come with a price. Since justice will be satisfied in Christ, mercy will be shown to those who rest completely in His work.

Let the faithfulness of God towards His Word be heard! Let the love of God in Christ be known!


[1] 5 Ways to Make a Huge Impact on Easter Sunday, Hal Seed; https://churchleaders.com/pastors/pastor-articles/173433-easter-is-a-huge-outreach-opportunity-5-ways-to-make-a-big-impact.html

[2] https://www.thecreativepastor.com/ten-creative-ideas-to-make-your-easter-service-special/

[3] https://blog.logos.com/2016/02/4-simple-ways-to-make-your-easter-service-awesome/

[4] John 19:10

[5] Luke 23:2,5

[6] John 19:12

[7] John 2:19

[8] John 3:14

[9] John 8:28

[10] John 12:32

[11] Mark 9:31

[12] Matthew 27:18

[13] John 19:11

[14] Acts 2:22-23

[15] Ephesians 1:4

[16] Genesis 2:17

[17] Genesis 3; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:11-19

[18] Isaiah 6:3

[19] John 8:44

[20] Genesis 3:6

[21] Genesis 3:9

[22] A Paradox is a seeming contradiction.

[23] Genesis 3:6-7; Romans 5:12-21

[24] Literally meaning The First Gospel or First Good News.

[25] Genesis 3:15

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