Sermon-To Tell The Truth-John 18:28-40

Below are my notes from the sermon I preached today at Hesston MB. It was based on John 18:28-40 and was entitled, "To Tell the Truth."

Introduction: Do you remember the game show “To Tell the Truth”? Premiered in 1956 & ended in 2001 & the purpose was for celebrities to guess which of the contestants was telling the truth about an occupation or experience. This morning, I am the contestant of “To Tell the Truth”. I have put three statements on a slide. You are to guess which one is the lie.

A.      Attended Michael Jackson “Thriller” Tour

B.      Valedictorian of My High School Class

C.      Have Most Speeding Tickets of all HMBC pastors 

We naturally are seekers of truth.  We want to know whether what we are told in the media, by teachers, bosses, families are true. Today, our passage focuses on truth in a conversation between Pilate & Jesus.

 Who’s Who?

·         Jews-In the NT, ‘Jews’ is used of members of the Jewish faith or their representative leaders[1]

·         Caiaphas-High priest during the life and ministry of Jesus, presided over the Sanhedrin, or its highest court. Next to the Roman governor he was the most powerful man in Judea and was responsible to the Romans for the conduct of the nation.[2] ;gave his opinion that Jesus should be put to death “for the people, so nation would not perish (John 11:50).

·         Jesus-Arrested & on trial

·         Pilate-Roman governor of Judea from AD 26–36/37. Appears in the Gospel narratives at the trial of Jesus. Responsible, with the Jews present, for having Jesus crucified.[3]

·         Barabbas-Criminal who was released instead of Jesus. Barabbas was a robber who had been imprisoned for committing murder during an insurrection. He was regarded as a “notorious prisoner”[4]

Read John 18:28-40

·         Law

o   Vs. 28-To avoid breaking their law, they would not enter palace because they wanted to eat the Passover.

§  The religious leaders did not hesitate to condemn an innocent man, but they were careful not to be defiled by walking on Gentile ground![5]

§  Object of Passover-blood of lamb-

·         Exodus 12:13;26-27-The Blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you…And when your children ask you, what does this ceremony mean to you? Then tell them It is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, who passes over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt.

§  Before we are quick to judge the Jews, we need to be reminded that we are just like them & guilty too. God’s way is best.

§  Just like the Jews, a wrong focus on the law can cause us to miss the point. We do this in the church. What are examples?

·         Movies, Music, Clothing, Drinking, Behavior

·         If you think you are doing pretty well with keeping the 10 Commandments or Sermon on the Mount, you are missing the point.

·         Perfection is required. James 2:10-For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. Since I am not perfect, I need someone who is. That is Jesus. He perfectly kept all of the law and fulfilled it in my place because I couldn’t.

·         Purpose of the Law- The law is not bad—it is doing one of the things it is supposed to do, revealing need and sin!...The Law apart from the Gospel can only crush; it can’t cure. The law shows us what love looks like but it does not produce love. Love, not law, produces love. (Tullian Tchividjian)

o   Vs. 29-31-He is a criminal, judge Him by your law vs. Roman law

§  Luke 23:2

o   Vs. 32-Kind of death- (a) to fulfill prophecies (that none of His bones be broken;) (b) to include both Jews and Gentiles in the collective guilt for the deed; (c) by crucifixion, Jesus was “lifted up” like “the snake in the desert”[6]

·         Truth

o   Vs. 33-Are you king of the Jews?

§  Vs. 34-Your idea or others?

o   Vs. 35-Am I a Jew? Your people, your priests-what have you done?

§  Vs. 36-kingdom is not of this world

o   Vs. 37-Affirmed he was King

§  He was “born,” which indicates His humanity; but He also “came into the world,” which indicates His deity[7]

o   Vs. 37-38-Testify to truth

§  What is truth?

·         In Greek Literature, the words for truth do not have the same personal & moral connotation. Rather, truth is intellectual.

·         Same Greek Word for truth as John 1:17 (Jesus full of grace & truth, John 14:6-I am the Truth, & Holy Spirit as Spirit of Truth

·         But the significant thing is that he suddenly turned away from the One who is “the Truth” (14:6) without waiting for an answer[8]

§  Not guilty-R.C. Sproul—The Man who stood before Pilate that day was truth incarnate and a Lamb without blemish.


·         Closing--Vs. 39-40-Release Barabbas or Jesus?

§  Bad News—You and I are Barabbas. We are guilty. We have sinned. We deserve punishment. We deserve wrath.

§  Good News-One who is Truth, who was perfect, without sin, fully kept all of the Law. He took our guilt, our sin, our punishment, God’s wrath upon himself.

§  Wonderful Exchange (Luther) “That is the mystery which is rich in divine grace to sinners: wherein by a wonderful exchange our sins are no longer ours but Christ’s and the righteousness of Christ not Christ’s but ours.

·         Because of Jesus’ mercy (we don’t get what we deserve)

·         grace (we get what we don’t deserve)

·         He makes us righteous, redeemed, forgiven, reconciled, holy, loved.

[1] Wiseman, D. J. (1996). Jew. In D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, & J. I. Packer (Eds.), New Bible dictionary (3rd ed., p. 584). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
[2] Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (p. 398). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
[3] Massey, M. B. (2012, 2013, 2014). Pontius Pilate. In J. D. Barry, L. Wentz, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair-Wolcott, R. Klippenstein, D. Bomar, … D. R. Brown (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
[4] Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (p. 263). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
[5] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 377). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[6] Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 337). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[7] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 378). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.
[8] Blum, E. A. (1985). John. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 338). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.


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