2822. Christ In Bonds

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Christ In Bonds

No. 2822-49:121. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, November 2, 1882, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, March 15, 1903.

Now Annas had sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. {Joh 18:24}

Annas therefore sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. {ERV Joh 18:24}

1. Our only subject, on this occasion, is, CHRIST IN BONDS, — the Son of God as an Ambassador in bonds, a King in chains, — the God-man sent, bound, to take his trial in the court of the high priest, Caiaphas.

2. It seems to me that this binding of our Lord shows, first, something of fear on the part of his captors. Why did they bind him? He would not attack them; he had no desire to escape out of their hands; yet, probably, they thought that he might break loose from them, or in some way outwit them. Alas! that men should ever have been so afraid of him who came alone from heaven, neither bearing arms nor wearing armour, — who came to injure no one, nor even to protect himself against the harm that any might inflict on him, — at first, lying as a babe in a manger, and all his lifelong exhibiting rather the weakness of manhood than its strength; yet his adversaries were often afraid of him. It is still so; there is a latent, secret conviction, in the minds of men, that the Christ is greater than he seems to be. Even when they attack him with their infidel weapons, they never seem to be satisfied with their own arguments, and they are continually seeking new ones. To this very day, the ungodly are afraid of Christ, and, often, their raging against him resembles the noise made by the boy who, when hurrying through the graveyard, whistles to keep his courage up.

3. They also bound Christ, no doubt, to increase the shame of his condition. Our Saviour said to those who came to arrest him in the garden, “Are you come out as against a thief, with swords, and with staves to take me?” And now they bound him firm as though he were a thief, — perhaps tied his hands, with tight cords, behind his back, to show that they regarded him as a felon, and that they were not taking him into a civil court where some case of law might be pending, but they already condemned him by the very act of binding him. They treated him as if he were already sentenced, and were not worthy to stand, a free man, and plead for himself before the judgment seat. Oh, what a shame that the Lord of life and glory should be bound, — that he, whom angels delight to worship, that he who is the very sun of their heaven, should even be bound as though he were a malefactor, and be sent away to be tried for his life!

4. We may also look at this matter of the binding of the Saviour as an increase of his pain. I suppose none of you have ever been bound as our Lord was at that time; if you had been, you would know the discomfort and pain which must accompany such action. John tells us that, in Gethsemane, “the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him.” He had scarcely risen from his knees, and the bloody sweat was like fresh ruby dew on him, yet these men “bound him, and led him away to Annas first.” I do not find any indication that his bonds were unloosed by Annas, or that he had even a moment’s relief or relaxation granted to him; but, with the cruel ropes still binding him tightly, he was sent across the great hall into the other wing of the palace in which Caiaphas resided: “Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas.” Then this, surely, must have been done out of deliberate malice. I have already said that they seemed to have some kind of fear that their captive would, after all, escape from them; yet they might, readily enough, have banished that fear from their minds. There was no need to bind HIM. Oh cruel persecutors, look into his face! If you are resolved to lead him away to his death, you may lead him like a sheep goes to the slaughter. He will not even open his mouth to upbraid you. There was no need to put any bonds on One so gentle as he was. Out of sheer malice, I say, they must have done it, so that they might express their hatred by every conceivable method, both in the little details, and in the great purpose at which they were aiming all the while, namely, to put him to a most painful death. Ah, me! how shamefully was our blessed Master mistreated in this inhospitable world! Men had often been regicides, and we need not wonder at that when we think what tyrants they were who were slain; but these men were turning into deicides, putting to death the Son of God himself; and, before they did it they heaped on him every mark of scorn and dishonour that was possible, so that they might cause him to die with opprobrium as well as with pain.

5. You, who love your Saviour, will think, with tender sympathy, of how he was bound by these wicked men; my special object is, to try to find out what the lessons are which we may learn from the bonds of Christ.

6. I. The first lesson is this. From the binding of our dear Redeemer, I learn a lesson concerning sin. THE BONDS OF CHRIST TEACH US WHAT SIN WOULD DO TO GOD IF IT COULD.

7. The unregenerate heart, in its enmity against God, would treat him exactly as the men of nearly two millennia ago did to the Son of God. What was done to Jesus is just what man would do, if he could, to the Lord God of heaven and earth himself. “What!” you say, “would men bind God?” Ah, sirs! they would do much more than that if they could, but they would certainly do that. They would annihilate God if they could, for “the fool has said in his heart, ‘No God,’ ” — that is to say, “No God for me!” He would kill God if it were possible. There would be no gladder news to many men, who are living today, than for them to be informed, with absolute certainty, that there was no God at all; all their fears would be silenced at once by such information. As for us, who love and trust him, all our joys would be gone, and our worst fears would be realized, if God were gone; but, as for the ungodly, it would be the gladdest news that ever was rung out from church steeple if they could be assured that God was dead. They would kill him if they could; but, since they cannot kill him; they seek to bind him.

8. Observe how they try to do this by denying his power. There are many men, who say that they believe in God, yet what kind of God is it in whom they believe? It is a God who is fettered by his own laws. “Here is the world,” they say, “but do not let anyone suppose that God has anything to do with the world.” They seem to have a theory, that somehow or other, it got wound up, like a great clock, and it has been going on ever since. God has not even been to see it; indeed, the probability is that he cannot see. Their god does not see, and does not know anything; he is not the living God. They pretend to pay him the compliment of saying that there may be some great first cause; they do not know even that for certain, because they do not know anything. We live in an age in which the man, who professes to be a learned man, calls himself “an agnostic,” — a Greek word which, in the Latin, means “an ignoramus.” That is, when you get to be a very clever man, then you become an ignoramus, knowing nothing at all. Such people go crowing, all over the world, that they do not know anything at all; — they do not know whether there is any God at all, or if there is a God, they do not know that he has anything to do with the world. They say that it is going on all by itself. God may set worlds going if he pleases, but he has nothing do with them afterwards.

9. Ah, beloved! but the truth is, that God’s laws are simply the ways in which he acts. There is no force in the world apart from God. All the potency of attraction is simply because God still lives, and pours his energy into the matter that attracts. Every moment, it is God who works in all things according to the good pleasure of his own will. Omnipotence is, in fact, the source of all the power that there is in the universe. God is everywhere; and, instead of being banished from the world, and the world going on without him, if God were not here, this planet, and the sun, and moon, and stars, would vanish into their native nothingness, as a moment’s foam subsides into the wave that bears it, and is gone for ever. God alone is. All the rest — call them what you please, — are appearances that come out of his ever-existing power. God is. The other things may be or may not be; but God is. Well did David write, under the Spirit’s inspiration, “God has spoken once; twice I have heard this: that power belongs to God.” But that is not the kind of God that the ungodly want; they want one whose hands they can bind in order to make him powerless.

10. They will especially do this with regard to providence. “Look,” they say; “you Christian people pray, and you are foolish enough to believe that, because you pray, God hears you, and sends you the blessings that you ask for.” It is assumed that we are fools; but, I think, it is a mere assumption. Probably, these gentlemen, who are so generous in disposing of their epithets, may be giving away what really belongs to themselves. We are fools; so they say, — these men of culture, the thinking people; at least, they are the people who call themselves by these high-sounding names, and having done so, then, to prove that their culture has made perfect gentlemen of them, they call all the rest of us, and especially all Christians, fools. Well, we are not anxious to contend with them on that matter, and we are quite satisfied to take the position that we do take, and to be called fools, because we believe that God does hear and answer our petitions. Even when these people are willing to admit that there is a God in providence at all, his hands are tied, so that he can do nothing. Well, as far as I am concerned, I would as soon believe in a god made out of the mud of the Ganges, or in the fetish of the Hottentot, as bow my knee to a god who could not hear, and could not answer me.

11. Some unbelievers talk about a God who is hand-bound as far as the punishment of sin is concerned. “Men will die like dogs”; and some of these doggish men say, “God will not punish sin”; so some sinners say, who imagine that they have prepared a dunghill for themselves to fall on whenever God shall fling them out of the window as utterly worthless. They imbibe ideas that are contrary to the truth about the Most High in order that they may be able to sin with impunity. But, whatever they may think or say, let us rest assured that there is a God, and that he is a God before whom everyone of us must appear to give an account of the deeds done in the body, whether they are good or whether they are evil. We may be quite certain that, although, in his longsuffering, he may patiently wait a while before punishing iniquity, yet his hand is not bound, and he will lift it up before long; and when he raises it to strike the man who has broken his laws, he will do it so effectively that the sinner shall know that, truly, there is a God who will not overlook transgression, or wink at sin, when it remains unrepented for. Let us, then, be always happy to bear our testimony that God cannot be bound, but let us always expect to see unconverted men, in one way or another, attempting to bind the hands of the Most High as these sinners in Jerusalem bound the Christ of God.

12. Some people think that God ought to do this, and he ought not to do that; and the moment you begin to reason with them, they do not refer to what the Scripture says, but they have a preconceived notion concerning what ought to be done or not done. That is to say, you would tie his hands, so that he must do what you judge to be right; but, if he judges any particular course to be right, and it does not meet your taste, then, immediately, you will either have no God at all, or else a god that shall be handcuffed by your reason, and held in bonds to do your bidding. In the person of our blessed Master brought from Gethsemane with his hands tightly bound, we see an exact picture of what wicked men would always do with God if they could, and what they actually do to him, spiritually, in their own minds and hearts. May God save us from being guilty of such a sin as that! Oh, that the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ may cleanse that sin away if it lies as a load on the conscience of anyone whom I am now addressing!

13. II. Secondly, we have here A LESSON OF LOVE.

14. Our Lord Jesus was sent away, bound, by Annas to Caiaphas; but, before they bound him, there were other bands on him. Christ was bound by the cords of love; and who except himself had bound him like this? Of old, even before the earth was, his prescient eye foresaw all his people, and their sin, and he loved them, and he gave himself to them then, in the eternal purpose; and often he looked, through the vista of the ages, on the men and women who were yet to be born, and, with a near and dear love for each one of them, he pledged himself that, for them, he would bear the shame, and the spitting, and that he would even die in their room and place, so that he might redeem them for himself. So, when I see our divine Master led to the judgment seat like this, I grieve over the bonds of cord with which men tied him, but my heart exalts over these invisible bands with which he bound himself by purpose, by covenant, by oath, by infinite, immutable love, so that he would give himself to be a ransom for his people.

15. Then, following on those cords of love, if you look closely, you will see his love again displayed in that he was bound with our bonds. We, dear friends, had sinned against God, and so had incurred the sentence of infallible justice, and now that sentence must fall on him. We ought to have been bound, but Christ was bound instead of us. If you and I had been bound with despair, and hopelessly led away to that prison from which no one shall ever escape; if this had been the moment when we were beginning to feel the torments of the hell which our sins deserve, what could we have said? But, lo! in our room, and place, and stead, Jesus is led away to bear the wrath of heaven. He must not lift his hand in his own defence, or raise his finger for his own comfort, for he is bearing, —

    That we might never bear,
    His Father’s righteous ire.

16. III. But now, thirdly, learn from this A LESSON OF GREAT PRIVILEGE.

17. Our Lord Jesus Christ was bound, and there flows from that fact its opposite, then, his people are all free. When Christ was made a curse for us, he became a blessing to us. When Christ was made sin for us, we were made the righteousness of God in him. When he died, then we lived. And so, since he was bound, we are set free. The type of that exchange of prisoners is seen in the fact that Barabbas was set free when the Lord Jesus Christ was given up to be crucified; and still more in his plea for his disciples in the garden, “If therefore you seek me, let these go their way.” It is with wonderful joy in our hearts that we sing, —

    We were sore in bondage bound,
       But our Jesus set us free.

18. Dear friends, do you think we use our liberty as we should? Do we not, sometimes, pray to God as if we were tongue-tied, and had the bonds on our tongue? Do we not go to the great coffers full of grace, and, instead of helping ourselves, as we have the right to do, we stand there as if our hands were bound, and we could not take a single pennyworth of the abundant fulness that is laid up there for us? Sometimes, when there is work to be done for Christ, we feel as if we were in bonds. We dare not stretch out our hands, we are afraid to do so; yet Jesus has set us free. Oh believer, why do you go around as if you still did wear the shackles and fetters on your feet? Why do you stand like one who is still in bonds? Your freedom is real freedom, and it is righteous freedom. Christ, the great Emancipator, has made you free, and you are “free indeed.” Enjoy your liberty; enjoy access to God; enjoy the privilege of claiming the promises which God has given to you. Enjoy the exercise of the power with which God has endowed you, enjoy the holy anointing with which the Lord has prepared you for his service. Do not sit and mope like a bird in a cage, when you are free to soar away. I can conceive of a bird, that has been in a cage for years; the cage may be all taken away, — every wire of it; and yet the poor thing has been so accustomed to sit on that perch, inside the cage, that it takes no notice of the fact that its prison-house is gone, and there it still sits and mopes. Away with you, sweet singer! The green fields and the blue sky are all your own. Stretch your wings, and soar away above the clouds, and sing the carol of your freedom as though you would make it reach the ears of the angels. So let it be with your spirit, and with mine, beloved. Christ has set us free; therefore, let us not go back into bondage, or sit still as though we were in prison, but let us rejoice in our liberty this very hour, and let us do so all our days.

19. IV. The fourth lesson, from the binding of Christ, is A LESSON OF OBLIGATION.

20. This may seem like a paradox in contrast with the previous lesson, yet it is equally true. Beloved, was Jesus bound for you and for me. Then, let us be bound for him and to him. I rejoice in the sweet inability that results from perfect love for Christ. “Inability?” you ask. Yes, I mean inability. The true child of God “cannot sin, because he is born by God.” There are many other things that he cannot do; he cannot forsake his Lord, for he says, with Peter, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” He cannot forget his obligations; he cannot withhold his time, his strength, his substance, from his Lord; he cannot become an earthworm and a money-grabber. He cannot wed his soul to any other, for Christ has espoused him to himself as a chaste virgin. There are times when the child of God says, with Nehemiah, “Should such a man as I flee?” Or, “How can such a privileged individual as I am indulge in such and such a sin?” The ungodly sometimes jeer at us, and say, “Ah, you cannot do such and such! We can.” And we reply, “We have lost no power that we ever wish to have, and we have gained the power of concentrating all our force on righteousness and truth; and, now, our heart is bound too firmly to Christ for us to go after your idols. Our eyes are now so taken up with the sight of our Saviour that we cannot see any charms in the things with which you would bewitch us. Our memory is now so full of Christ that we have no desire to pollute the precious stores that lie in them by memories of sin.”

21. Henceforth, we are crucified with Christ, and that brings to us a blessed inability in which we greatly rejoice. Our heart may stir, perhaps, a little, but our hands and feet are fastened to the wood, and cannot move. Oh, blessed is the inability when, at last, neither heart can love, nor brain can think, nor hand can do, nor even imagination can conceive of anything that goes beyond the sweet circle of a complete consecration to the Lord, and absolute dedication to his service! Come, then, you angels of the Lord, and bind us to him! Let this be the prayer of every believer, “Bind the sacrifice with cords, even to the horns of the altar.” Let nothing ever tempt us away from our Lord. You may count the cost of all Egypt’s treasure, and then let it go; and it shall vanish like a dream, for there is nothing in it.

    Solid joys and lasting treasure,
       None but Zion’s children know; —

and these shall remain with you who are bound to Christ, with him to live, and for him to die, if needs be. So, whenever we see Christ in bonds, let us pray that we also may wear his bonds, and be just as much bound as he was. “Oh God!” let every Christian say, “I am your servant, and the son of your handmaid. You have released my bonds, now bind me to yourself and to your blessed service once and for all.”

22. V. The last lesson is one which I pray that all of us may learn, whether we are saints or sinners; it is A LESSON OF WARNING.

23. Dear friends, I have tried to picture, though I have done it in a very feeble way, Christ being bound with cords; and now I want very solemnly to say to all of you, — Do not bind Christ with cords. Beware, you who are unconverted, that you never bind Christ. You may do so by not reading his Word. You have a Bible at home, but you never read it; it is clasped, laid away in a drawer with your best pocket-handkerchiefs. Is it not so? That is another picture of Christ in bonds, — a poor closed Bible, that is never allowed to speak with you, — no, not even to have half a word with you, for you are in such a hurry about other things that you cannot listen to it. Untie the cords; let it have its liberty. Commune with it sometimes. Let the heart of God in the Bible speak to your own heart. If you do not, that clasped Bible — that closed Bible — that precious Book hidden away in the drawer — is Christ in prison; and, one day, when you least expect it, you will hear Christ say, “Inasmuch as you did this to the greatest of all my witnesses, you did it to me.” You kept Moses, and Isaiah, and Jeremiah, and all the prophets, in prison; and all the apostles, and the Master himself, you bound with cords, and you would not hear a word that they had to say. Do not let that be true of any one of you, dear friends.

24. There are others, who will not go to hear the Word. They do not attend any place of worship. They may have dropped in here once; but, as a rule, they never go anywhere to worship God. Here, in London, people live on the street where there is a soul-saving ministry, yet many of them never cross the threshold of the house of prayer. On some streets, not one in a hundred ever darkens the doors of the place where God’s people gather for worship. Is that not tying Christ’s hands? How can the gospel get to people who will not hear it, — absolutely refuse to listen to it? They are really gagging our blessed Master, and that is even worse than binding him with cords. They thrust a gag between his teeth, and make him hold his tongue so far as they are concerned. Some of them, if they could, would gag the messenger as well as his Master, for they do not want him. “Do not trouble us,” they say. “Are you come to torment us before the time?” And so they bind Christ, and send him away, just as Annas sent him bound to Caiaphas.

25. There are some who both read the Bible, and go to hear the gospel, but they tie Christ up, all the same, by prejudice. Some people can never get a blessing, through certain ministers, because they have made up their minds that they will not be profited by them. You know how they come, with some preconceived notion; and though an angel from heaven were to speak, they would pick holes in whatever he might say, because of the prejudice which exists in their mind. Probably, they can give no better reason for their antagonism than the person gave who did not like Dr. Fell, —

    I do not like you, Dr. Fell,
    The reason why, I cannot tell;
    But this I know, and know full well,
    I do not like you, Dr. Fell.

26. I have known men to bind Christ in another way, by delaying their decision. They have heard a sermon, and have felt its power, their soul has been impressed by it; but their chief idea has been to try to escape from Christ, or to bind his hands, if possible. I think I have told you before that, once, when I was preaching in the country, the gentleman, with whom I stayed, suddenly got up, towards the end of the sermon, and went out; and a dear friend, who had gone with me, followed him outside, and asked him, “What brought you out here?” He replied, “If I had stayed there another five minutes, I should have been converted. Mr. Spurgeon seems to treat me just as if I were made of india-rubber; he squeezes me into any shape he likes, so I was obliged to come out.” “But,” my friend said, “might it not have been a great blessing to you if you had been converted?” “Well, no,” he replied; “at least, not just now. I have some things planned that I really could not miss, so I cannot afford to be converted just now.” There are others, who do not act quite like that, but the result is the same. They say, by their actions, if not in so many words, “Now, Lord, I am going to tie you up for a little while. I intend to give heed to you eventually; I hope your blessed hand will be laid on me for my salvation, but not just now, please; — not just now.” Such people always use silken cords, but the binding is just as effective as it would be if they took an ugly pair of handcuffs, such as a policeman pulls out for a thief. The man says, “Permit me just to tie your hands for a little while; — another month, perhaps, — possibly another year.” Oh, that accursed procrastination! How many have been ruined for all eternity by it? It is the bond that binds the hand of Christ the Saviour, who says, “Now is the day of salvation.”

27. Other men bind the hands of Christ by seeking pleasure in sin. After having been impressed under a sermon, they immediately go away to some ungodly meeting-place, — a public house, perhaps; or, tomorrow, they go into company where every serious thought will, in all probability, be stamped out as men stamp out a fire; and what is this but binding the hands of Christ? I know some, — I tremble as I think of them, — who persistently do what they know will prevent them from ever feeling the power of the Word of God. Oh, that, by some means, they could be wrenched out of their present position, and be carried right away where truth might influence them, so that they might be led to Jesus’ feet! I think I hear someone say, “That is a shocking way to bind Christ’s hands.” Then take care, my friend, that you yourself do not fall into that sin.

28. Now, in closing, I want to speak to the Lord’s own people just for a minute or two.

29. Do you not think, beloved, that you and I have sometimes tied Christ’s hands? You remember reading this sentence, “He could not do many mighty works there.” His hands were tied; but what tied them? Finish the quotation: “because of their unbelief.” Are there not many churches where they have tied the hands of Christ because they do not believe he can do any mighty works there? If the Lord Jesus Christ were to convert three thousand people, at one time, under their pastor’s preaching, what do you think the deacons and elders of that church would probably say? “Well, we never thought that we should see such excitement as this here; to think that it should have come into our place of worship! We must be very careful now. No doubt these people will be wanting to join the church. We shall have to summer them, and winter them, and test them a good deal; we do not like such excitement.” Ah, sirs, you need not trouble yourselves with any such expectation! God is not likely to give such a blessing to you; he never sends his children where they are not wanted; and, as a rule, until he prepares his people to receive the blessing, the blessing will not come.

30. Do you not think, also, that a minister may very easily tie the hands of Christ? I am afraid I have done so, sometimes, without intending to. Suppose I were to preach some very fine sermons; — I do not do that, notice that; — but just suppose I were to preach some very fine sermons that went right over people’s heads, and a good old woman were to say, “I would not have the presumption to understand it, but it is very wonderful,” do you not think that I should be tying Christ’s hands with garlands of flowers? And may we not come into the pulpit, and talk a lot of theological jargon, and use words which are appropriate for us in the class room, but quite misunderstood, or never understood at all, by the majority of the people? Is that not tying Christ’s hands? And when a preacher is what they call very “heavy,” — by which is not meant that he is weighty, — but dull; or when he is very cold and heartless, and preaches as if he were working by the piece, and would be glad to get it all over with, — when that is the case, do you not think that Christ’s hands are tied? Have you never heard sermons of which you might fairly say, “Well, if God were to convert anyone by that discourse, it certainly would be a miraculous kind of miracle, — something altogether out of the common way of miracles, for he would be using an implement that was positively calculated to produce just the opposite effect, and making it accomplish his purposes of grace?” I have heard such sermons, now and then, to my great sorrow. And you Sunday School teachers must take care that you do not teach so as really to be hindrances to your students rather than helps, for that is to tie the hands of Christ, and to lead him into your class, like Samson bound, rather to make sport for Philistines than to get honour for him. May we all have the grace given to us to avoid such an evil as that!

31. And do you not think, dear friends, that we, who do love Christ, bind his hands when we are cowardly and retiring, and never say a word for him? How can the gospel save sinners if it is never spoken to them? If you never introduce Christ to your companions, — never put a little book on your friend’s table, — never try to say just a word about the Saviour to him, is that not tying Christ’s hands? The next thing to having no Christ at all is for the church to be silent concerning him. It is an awful thing to contemplate what it would be if there were no Saviour; but what improvement is it if there is a Saviour, but men never hear of him? Come, you very retiring people, do not excuse yourselves any longer. “Oh, but!” one says, “I always was of a very retiring disposition.” So was that soldier, who was shot for running away in the day of battle; he was guilty of cowardice, and was put to death for it. If you have been, up to the present time, binding the Master by your retiring spirit, you should at once come forward, and declare what Christ has done for you, so that, with unbound hands, he may do the same for others.

32. And do you not think that, whenever we are inconsistent in our conduct, — especially in the family, — we tie the hands of Christ? There is a father praying for his children that they may live before God. Five minutes later, listen to him. Why, his boys hate the sight of him! He is such a tyrant to them that they cannot endure him. There is a mother, too, who is praying God to save her daughters. She goes upstairs, and pleads very earnestly for them; yet she comes down, and lets them have whatever they want, and never says a word by way of checking them in their evil actions. She acts like a female Eli to every one of them; is she not tying the hands of Christ? What can she expect but that God, who works according to rules, will be more likely to let her unkind kindness influence her girls for evil, than to answer her prayers for their conversion? Let us be holy, dear friends, for then we shall, by faith, see the holy God freely moving and working among us, and doing great deeds to his own glory. So may he do, for our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

Expositions By C. H. Spurgeon {Joh 18:12-14,19-24 Mr 14:53-65 Lu 22:63-23:1}

The passages, which we are about to read from three of the Evangelists, make up a continuous narrative of our Lord’s trial before the high priest.

First, John gives us an account of our Saviour’s appearance before Annas, of which I need not say much, since I preached on it last Thursday. {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2820, “Christ Before Annas” 2821}

18:12-14. Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him, and led him away to Annas first; for he was the father-in-law to Caiaphas, who was the high priest that same year. Now Caiaphas was he, who gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

19-21. The high priest then asked Jesus concerning his disciples and his doctrine. Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world; I always taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, where the Jews always resort; and I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard me, what I have said to them: behold, they know what I said.”

What an admirable answer that was! Whatever he might have said about his doctrine, they would have twisted into a basis for an accusation against him, so he simply said, “Mine has been public teaching, open to all. I was not found in holes and corners, secretly fomenting sedition. I spoke in the streets; I spoke in the synagogue; I spoke in the temple; ask those who heard me to tell you what I said.” What more convincing answer could he have given?

22-24. And when he had spoken like this, one of the officers, who stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, “Do you answer the high priest like that?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why do you strike me?” Now Annas had sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

So there we see him standing, bound, before Caiaphas, the acting high priest for that year.

Now follow the narrative as given by Mark.

14:53,54. And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.

We may regard what was said to Jesus, by Annas and Caiaphas, as a kind of unofficial preliminary examination; and, meanwhile, their fellow conspirators were scouring the streets of Jerusalem to gather together the members of the Sanhedrin, and also searching among the slums in order to find witnesses who could be bribed to give false evidence against Jesus.

55. And the chief priests and all the council sought for witnesses against Jesus to put him to death; and found no one.

A pretty court that was, occupied in seeking for witnesses who might enable them to condemn to death a prisoner against whom no charge had yet been formulated.

56-59. For many bore false witness against him, but their witnesses did not agree together. And there arose certain ones, and bore false witness against him, saying, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’ ” But neither did their witness agree together.

It was a rule that they should be examined separately, and there had not been time for them to be coached concerning what they were to say, so one contradicted the other, and it looked as if the trial must break down.

60. And the high priest stood up in the midst,

Losing all patience, he stood up, in a furious rage at the way things were going.

60, 61. And asked Jesus, saying, “Do you answered nothing? What is it which these witness against you?” But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said to him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”

This time, according to Matthew’s account, the high priest said to Jesus, “I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.” So being, as it were, put under oath, the Saviour felt compelled to answer. He could not remain silent when such a great and important question was at stake.

62-65. And Jesus said, “I am: and you shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.” Then the high priest tore his clothes, and says, “What need have we of any further witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say to him, “Prophesy”: and the servants struck him with the palms of their hands.

Perhaps we have the same narrative in Luke; possibly, however, he gives us a continuation of the sad story; it is difficult to say which is the case.

22:63-71. And the men who held Jesus mocked him, and struck him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, “Prophesy, who is it who struck you?” And many other things they blasphemously spoke against him. And as soon as it was day, the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, “Are you the Christ? Tell us.” And he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe: and if I also ask you, you will not answer me, nor let me go. Thereafter the Son of man shall sit on the right hand of the power of God.” Then they all said, “Are you then the Son of God?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.” And they said, “What need have we of any further witness? for we ourselves have heard from his own mouth.”

23:1. And the whole multitude of them arose, and led him to Pilate.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, His Praise — Christ’s Sufferings And Glory” 426}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death — The Shepherd Smitten” 291}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — Longing To Be With Jesus” 806}
 Sermons in this series: —
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2820 “Christ Before Annas” 2821}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2822 “Christ In Bonds” 2823}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2824 “Mocked By Soldiers” 2825}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2825 “Majesty In Misery” 2826}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2826 “The King In Pilate’s Hall” 2827}


Jesus Christ, His Praise
426 — Christ’s Sufferings And Glory
1 Now for a tune of lofty praise
   To great Jehovah’s equal Son!
   Awake, my voice, in heavenly lays,
   Tell the loud wonders he hath done!
2 Sing how he left the worlds of light,
   And the bright robes he wore above;
   How swift and joyful was his flight,
   On wings of everlasting love!
3 Down to this base, this sinful earth,
   He came to raise our nature high;
   He came to atone Almighty wrath;
   Jesus, the God, was born to die.
4 Deep in the shades of gloomy death
   The Almighty Captive prisoner lay;
   The Almighty Captive left the earth,
   And rose to everlasting day.
5 Lift up your eyes, ye sons of light,
   Up to his throne of shining grace!
   See what immortal glories sit
   Round the sweet beauties of his face!
6 Amongst a thousand hearts and songs,
   Jesus, the God, exalted reigns;
   His sacred name fills all their tongues,
   And echoes through the heavenly plains.
                        Isaac Watts, 1709.


Jesus Christ, Sufferings and Death
291 — The Shepherd Smitten
1 Like sheep we went astray,
      And broke the fold of God;
   Each wandering in a different way,
      But all the downward road.
2 How dreadful was the hour
      When God our wanderings laid,
   And did at once his vengeance pour
      Upon the Shepherd’s head!
3 How glorious was the grace
      When Christ sustain’d the stroke!
   His life and blood the Shepherd pays,
      A ransom for the flock.
4 His honour and his breath
      Were taken both away;
   Join’d with the wicked in his death,
      And made as vile as they:
5 But God shall raise his head
      O’re sons of men to reign,
   And make him see a numerous seed,
      To recompense his pain.
6 “I’ll give him,” said the Lord,
      “A portion with the strong;
   He shall possess a large reward,
      And hold his honours long.”
                     Isaac Watts, 1709, a.


The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
806 — Longing To Be With Jesus
1 My soul amid this stormy world,
      Is like some flutter’d dove:
   And fain would he as swift of wing,
      To flee to him I love.
2 The cords that bound my heart to earth
      Are broken by his hand;
   Before his cross I found myself
      A stranger in the land.
3 That visage marr’d, those sorrows deep,
      The vinegar and gall,
   These were his golden chains of love
      His captive to enthral.
4 My heart is with him on his throne,
      And ill can brook delay;
   Each moment listening for the voice,
   “Rise up, and come away.”
5 With hope deferr’d, oft sick and faint,
      “Why tarries he?” I cry:
   Let not the Saviour chide my haste,
      For then would I reply:
6 “May not an exile, Lord, desire
      His own sweet land to see?
   May not a captive seek release,
      A prisoner to be free?
7 “A child, when far away, may long
      For home and kindred dear;
   And she that waits her absent lord
      May sigh till he appear.
8 “I would, my Lord and Saviour, know,
      That which no measure knows:
   Would search the mystery of thy love,
      The depths of all thy woes.
9 “I fain would strike my harp divine
      Before the Father’s throne,
   There cast my crown of righteousness,
      And sing what grace has done.
10 “Ah, leave me not in this base world,
      A stranger still to roam;
   Come, Lord, and take me to thyself,
      Come, Jesus, quickly come!”
                  Robert C. Chapman, 1837.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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