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Matthew 27:1-2; 11-26

What Will You Do with Jesus?

  • Samuel Wilson
  • Weekend Messages
  • February 28, 2021

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

What Will You Do with Jesus?

Matthew 27:1-2; 11-26

Intro: What now?

This morning we are going to open to Matthew chapter 27, where we find Jesus stand before a Roman governor by the name of Pontius Pilate who must make a judgement as to what he would do with Jesus. The situation puts on full display the question that all must answer in their lives today… “What will you do with Jesus?”

Read: Matthew 27:1-2; 11-26

Illus. Many Trials. 

With the question, “what will you do with Jesus?” in mind, I encourage you to consider what was defined in Jesus’ life and…

I.    Turn to Him for Truth

Matthew 27:11-14 

  • As Jesus stands before Pilate, it is important to understand that Pilate is in a predicament. 
  • Pilate was the overseer of Judea and served directly under the Roman Emperor, Tiberius Caesar. A large part of Pilate’s role in Judea was to maintain peace at all costs. 
  • Pontius Pilate had a reputation as a man who was severe, powerful, and an antagonist to the Jews. This caused disturbances in the area he was in charge of and put his position as governor in jeopardy. 
  • From historical records, we understand that at the time Jesus stood before him, he was in a political predicament because he had already been warned about some uprisings that had taken place in his region.

Illus. A bit of the Backstory.

  • The backstory ultimately showed Pilates inability to do well at keeping the peace, the people had the power to potentially get Pilate out of power by causing an uproar, or by rioting.  
  • They did not have the power, however, to put Jesus to death. The Romans had taken away their right to capital punishment, they would need Pilates approval, and he as we’ve seen, needed their approval politically. 
  • The religious leaders bring Jesus before Pilate and from Luke chapter 23, we understand the charges specifically given.

Luke 23:1-2, They began to bring charges against Him, saying, “We found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.” 

Illus. Were the charges true or false? 

  • As the charges are voiced, we understand that Pilate’s objective in hearing the charges, was to get to the truth about Jesus.  
  • For Pilate, the most important consideration is whether Jesus is a threat to Rome, or to Caesar.

Matthew 27:11, Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, “So You are the King of the Jews?” And Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” 

  • All four gospels record this question being asked of Jesus, and the way it is written in the original Greek, places an emphasis on the word “you.” “You, are you the king of the Jews?”
  • We can understand why Pilate would ask it that way. Pilate was looking at Jesus, He was not dressed as someone posing to be an emperor, or a dignitary.
  • Rather he was looking at someone dressed in simple clothes, blood stained from being beaten in the Garden of Gethsemane, tired, peaceful, humble, gentle.

Isaiah 53:2, He has no stately form or majesty that we would look at Him, nor an appearance that we would take pleasure in Him. 

  • Regarding the question as to whether He was king, Jesus responded, “it is as you say.” 
  • From John 18 we a given greater details surrounding just how the conversation goes down. 

John 18:33-38

  • Upon asking Jesus for the truth about Himself, Jesus gave him the truth, He was, in fact, a king, but His kingdom was not of the world. 
  • There were other things being said and suggested about Jesus, from verses 12 to 14 we see that regarding the other charges, Jesus would not say a word. 

Isaiah 53:7, He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.

  • I love that it is the truth Jesus is asked directly, and despite many false accusations, it is only the truth He responds to. 
  • In this trial, Pilate turned to Jesus for the truth, Jesus gave him the truth, and in John 18:38, believed Him to be true, finding no grounds at all for the charges. In other words, He was no threat to Rome at that time.

John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

  • This scene is an important one for us to see, because it was not just in that day that people have applied false accusations and information about Christ. 
  • We know from John 17 that the Word is truth, and from John 1:1 that Jesus is the Word, who has been from the beginning and is God. 
  • When asking yourself the question, “what will I do with you Jesus,” it is essential that you turn to Him for the truth. 
  1. Know That the Truth Requires a Decision Personally
  • What happened next chronologically is seen in Luke 23:5-12. After turning to Him for the truth and finding no fault, Pilate hears that Jesus is from Galilee and put’s off his personal decision regarding what to do with Jesus onto another. 
  • So, he sent Him to Herod, who was in charge of the territory of Galilee. Herod was delighted to see Jesus, he wanted Jesus to perform a miracle, but Jesus remained silent.

Matthew 12:39, “an evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign; and yet no sign will be given but the sign of Jonah the prophet;”

  • In other words, Jesus was raised from the dead by the power of God, Jesus Himself, the Savior, Messiah, the Son of God, the King. 
  • He had already answered the most important question, and no other question was worth consideration. 
  • The sign Jesus spoke of would be coming shortly and was the only sign Herod would need to see. 
  • After Jesus would not oblige, Herod and his soldiers then ridiculed and mocked Jesus, before sending Him on His way. 
  • The decision Pilate had tried to put off regarding what to do with Jesus, was back before Him. 

Illus. Big Decision. 

Luke 23:13-14, Then Pilate called together the leading priests and other religious leaders, along with the people, and he announced his verdict. “You brought this man to me, accusing him of leading a revolt. I have examined him thoroughly on this point in your presence and find him innocent.”

  • Pilate proclaimed Jesus’ innocence, but he would still try to find another way out of making the decision personally. 

Matthew 27:15-18, Now at the Passover Feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted. And at that time they were holding a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that it was because of envy that they had handed Him over.

  • Pilate made it his custom to give the people the opportunity to release one prisoner per year. Some suggest that this custom was likely created to help Pilate’s relationship with the people. 
  • While Jesus was standing trial, Pilate had in custody a notorious prisoner named Barabbas. Barabbas was in prison. 
  • Barabbas was a well-known criminal who had been imprisoned for a revolt against the Roman government, and for murder. (Lk. 23:19). 
  • Pilate could see that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him (Mk. 15:10).
  • But Pilate also needed to keep the peace in order to keep his position. 
  • So, he puts two choices for potential release from custody before them. 
  • For Pilate it would be a way out, he would not have to reap the consequences of choosing Jesus personally, and could also maintain a good reputation politically and professionally. 

Illus. Under Cover. 

Matthew 5:11-12, Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. 

  • In order to be persecuted for righteousness sake, there must be a deep commitment to righteousness. 
  • We can look at persecution in other countries and understand that the way we are persecuted in light of those who face death daily is minor. 
  • There is no question that there is someone out there who is being persecuted to a greater degree. Jesus himself was persecuted and died to make a way for us. 
  • This persecution, however, cannot be limited to physical opposition or torture (which does exist in parts of the world today). 
  • When you experience persecution, hostility, harassment, trouble, mistreatment for His sake, you are blessed. Jesus says “rejoice and be exceedingly glad,” leap for joy! Why? Because the persecuted will have a great reward in heaven. 
  • Likely, you will not feel like rejoicing, there may not be much to rejoice about on this earth. But Jesus promises heaven itself!

Illus. Marriage and Family 339. 

  • With Pilate, he understands the fact that Jesus is innocent, there is no fault in him, yet he is remaining in the neutral zone. 
  • But God doesn’t make the neutral an option for any, and it wasn’t going to be an option for Pilate. 

Joshua 24:15, “Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are now living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Matthew 12:30, He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters.

  • Jesus removes any illusions about neutral ground regarding Him or His work. He is essentially saying, “you’re either with me, or against me.”
  • What Jesus is suggesting in Matthew 12:30 when it comes to being with or against Him is that a “no decision” is a “no” decision.
  • It is impossible to know about Christ and remain neutral, Jesus is making sure that those in the neutral zone know that no ground is gained in neutral.  

Illus. Neutral Zone. 

C. S. Lewis: “You must make your choice.” 

  • Pilate would need to make a choice that day, personally. He would continue with his attempt at “no decision,” but his “no decision” would be a “no” decision. 

Matthew 27:19-23 

  • As Pilate sat in his judgement, he had all the evidence he needed and knew Jesus was innocent…. 
  • If Pilate’s own understanding of Jesus weren’t enough to give him pause in the path forward, his wife comes with the message that Jesus was now the man of her dreams and to leave Him alone!
  • The crowd clearly had something different to say. The crowd who had given shouts to Jesus at the beginning of the week, “Hosanna! (save now), in the highest!” had now begun to shout differently. 
  • The crowds call for the release of Barabbas, and he asks the crowd, what shall I do with Jesus?
  • For Pilate, for the people, for you, and for me, it all comes down to that very question… What shall I do with Jesus?

John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

John 8:31-32, “If you abide in My Word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

  1. Know the Truth about being Set Free

Matthew 27:24-26, Now when Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; you yourselves shall see.” And all the people replied, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus flogged, he handed Him over to be crucified. 

  • Pilate tried to wash his hands of being guilty, “I find no fault, but it is what it is, these things happen, it’s on all of you.” His washed hands were still dirty, the power and responsibility of what to do with Jesus rested on Him personally. 
  • The people declared that Jesus blood would be on them personally and their children, and surely, they too were guilty. They had no idea what they were asking for, and it isn’t what God wanted to give. 

John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him.

  • Jesus was headed to the cross so that the people could know and see the truth, and ultimately, know the way to be set free. 

Romans 5:6, 8, For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly… But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

  • That is our reality when we receive Christ personally, and on that day, physically, it was the reality for Barabbas. 

Romans 5:6, 8, For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly… But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

    • Barabbas physically is a picture of you and me Spiritually. Barabbas deserved death, but Jesus died in his place.

2 Corinthians 5:21, He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Matthew 27: 1-2

Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus to put Him to death; and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor.

Matthew 27: 11-26

Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer. Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed. Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the people any one prisoner whom they wanted. At that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” For he knew that because of envy they had handed Him over. While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.” But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death. But the governor said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Crucify Him!” And he said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they kept shouting all the more, saying, “Crucify Him!” When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.” And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he handed Him over to be crucified.


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