No Basis Exchange - Luke 22:63-71; 23:1-25 NIV
I believe we are born with a “fairness” gene. Children say early in life: “That’s not fair.” We think life should be fair. Yet the single most important exchange in human history was as unfair as it could be!
1. ________________ has nothing to do with it.
”The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, ‘Prophesy! Who hit you?’ And they said many other insulting things to him.” Luke 22:63-65 NIV
Before any charges were brought, before any trial, Jesus was mocked and beaten, insulted, made fun of. Lest we are quick to hurl accusations at the guards, I believe they acted under orders. What we see from beginning to end, fairness had nothing to do with it. Jesus did not get what he deserved. As we’ll see before we’re finished - that ends up being a good thing for us. Why? Because we don’t get what we deserve either! All that Jesus endured he endured for us - in our place. There is an “unfair fairness” to Jesus’ passion. He endured the unfair punishment so we wouldn’t have to be fairly punished.
2. Jesus never ________________ on us. (But He still IS Lord!)
In the mockery of a trial, the religious leaders tried to get Jesus to incriminate himself about His divinity. He knew it and gave them nothing.
Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.” Luke 22:67-69 NIV
Consider what Jesus could have done. Remember the power he demonstrated when he replaced the high priest’s servant’s ear? He could have called down a legion of angels to reveal themselves. He could have forced each one of them to bow down. He could have caused them to immediately suffer from leprosy. However, that has never been the way Jesus operated. Either then or now. He never forces faith on anyone.
Do you want to have faith? Do you want to believe in Jesus? Then he will make it possible. You’ll discover Jesus in your life…
“Anyone who chooses to do the will of God will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.” John 7:17 NIV
What does Jesus say through John when he is on Patmos 60 yrs later?
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:20 NIV
If you are indeed a Christ follower, then you know the truth of this. We call it being under conviction. Feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit asking to come into your life. But He never forces himself. (How could we love if our actions were only forced upon us?) And yet it’s also true that we could not have faith and could not love without Jesus and what he did
3. There was _____________ for any charge against Jesus.
Pontius Pilate - the Roman governor under the emperor of Tiberius. He was officially known as the Prefect of Judea. As such he was granted the power of a supreme judge. He had sole authority to order the execution of a criminal. Yet 3 different times Pilate says there is no basis for Jesus:
Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”
“I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him.”
“What crime has this man committed? I have found in him no grounds for the death penalty.” Luke 23:4,14,22 NIV
Basis is an interesting word. In this jurisprudence sense it means grounds for execution. We would call it grounds for a guilty verdict. Except it didn’t have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. And remember that Pilate is both judge and jury here.
Basis has another meaning in economic terms. The basis of an investment is its cost. When filing a tax return, we must know the basis of a sold asset in order to calculate its gain or loss. If something has no basis, then the sale is all profit and results in the highest tax penalty possible. Pilate claimed the charges against Jesus had no basis - or 0 basis. Pure profit for us who are saved by Him. 100% penalty for Jesus!
4. Crowds and mobs do not make the __________ choice.
We come to one of the most troubling (and unfair) parts of this event. The mob cries out for Jesus’ execution. And when Pilate offers Barabbus, a criminal actually guilty of the crimes, the crowd demands Jesus be killed!
“But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.” Luke 23:23 NIV
Be careful of “falling in with the crowd.” There is a psychology that happens that overpowers our reasonable sense of right and wrong. If everyone around us agrees, then it seems - feels right. Even though it clearly is not. We must also realize is that mobs can be manipulated:
“The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus executed. / [They] stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.” Matthew 27:20 / Mark 15:11 NIV
Don’t be a member of a mob. Don’t be a crowd pleaser. Stay in tune with God and His sense of right and wrong. Be willing to stand up against the crowd. Whenever I read this I ask where was the blind man? The deaf man? The centurion whose daughter was healed? The lame man? The bleeding woman? The father whose son was paralyzed? Lazarus? Zachhaeus, tree climber who had lunch with Jesus? The large crowds who laid out palm branches the week before? Thousands who were fed?
5. Barabbas for Jesus - the ___________ exchange ever?
“So Pilate decided to grant their demand. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, the one they asked for, and surrendered Jesus to their will.” Luke 23:24-25 NIV
So we come back to the fairness question. Pilate gave in to political expediency. Kept the peace at the sacrifice of the one sinless, guiltless person there. In exchange was a criminal guilty of all the crimes. Was this the worst exchange ever? Yes… and no!
Or the ______________ exchange ever?
“He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4:25 NIV
Remember how I’ve told you that you should read this story in such a way that you put yourself into the story? But who are we in Jesus’ trial? I submit to you today that each one of us is Barabbus. Our sins. Our justification! Our transgressions! Our iniquities. Isaiah 700 years before:
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” Isaiah 53:5-6 NIV
Conclusion: Over the next 2 weeks heading into Easter, think about this no basis exchange. There was no basis for people bringing a charge against the sinless God-man, Jesus. There is every basis for God to bring a charge against each one of us - all sinners, all guilty. As hard as it is to think this way, pray - “But that’s not fair!” “And thank you God!”