The deeper questions: How confident are you… in your salvation? …in Christ to guide you daily? … that Jesus loves you no matter what? … to stand firm in your faith when tempted? If this message helps even one of you move the needle of living with confidence in Christ it is more than worthwhile… On this side of eternity, confidence is on a scale. Balanced confidence has a measure of humility & assurance!
Today’s scripture: the trials of Jesus. Several characters and groups make an appearance. All can be evaluated according to their confidence level. Then there is Jesus: perfect confidence. We cannot attain perfect confidence like Christ, yet he will forever be thee example of perfect confidence…
Jesus is on trial; he acts with perfect confidence because He has assurance God has already declared him victorious. We call this section the trial of Jesus, but the more accurate title: “Trials of the Accusers.” Jesus is not on trial, his accusers are. So are we!
Jesus is bullied by the guards (READ Luke 22:63-65). For those who suffer from bullying, a terrible scourge of society, know this: Jesus was bullied//, yet he is confident. The irony: many bullies are people who lack confidence ~ they build themselves up by tearing others down… if everyone were nice to each other confidence would be much less of a problem, but that is not the world we live in… many people demand everyone conform to the way they think… too many are in love with their position/power and will blast those that are a threat.
Jesus was arrested the night before; at daybreak he is taken to the council of the religious leaders. They are threatened by Jesus. People in positions of authority that feel threatened are the most dangerous people on the planet! Everyone has authority – figure it what your authority is and act with humility. Confident leaders live with humility.
As the council convenes with Jesus, there are rules to guide their decisions In this preliminary hearing, they break the rules. They are supposed to have witnesses, and a defense to prove Jesus innocence, and then decide. Instead, they ask Jesus a yes or no question…READ Luke 22:65-67a. Jesus’ first answer is practical: they violate the rules. READ Luke 22:67b-68. i.e. you’ve already decided and not interested in a fair trial… A confident person will follow the rules and let the outcome be honest and truthful….
Be confident, follow the rules, do what is right.. let the outcome be whatever it is… I’ve been telling Sally for 40 years, if I run into a problem situation, don’t you dare take my side because it’s me, if I’ve done wrong tell me… I try to live my life by what is right, not my reputation, my power, my authority, my advantages….
I want to skip for now the most lofty verse in this scripture. Luke 22:69 gives us a glimpse of the mind of Christ and how he lives with perfect confidence. Skipping to the next sections, the religious leaders pass the trial of Jesus onto a wimp of a man, Pilate; Only the Roman occupiers can condemn Jesus to death. The accusers of Jesus serve as the negative examples of confident living. I have to laugh, in Luke 22:71 the religious leaders determine Jesus must be put to death because he admits he is the Son of God, yet when they cart him off to Pilate, they accuse Jesus of a different charge READ Luke 23:1-2. Liars are not confident people, they are manipulative.
Pilate wants nothing to do with Jesus’ death. Pilate is fascinating because he innately knows Jesus is innocent, but he is a wimp wanting to please people. He’s stuck. Pilate knows the truth but has no confidence to live by the truth… isn’t that a lot of people in our society, they know who Jesus is but it’s too hard to live by what they know… Pilate asks a few questions but tries to wash his hands of the matter. READ Luke 23:3-4.
Who’s in charge? The religious leaders of the Jews or Pilate? Just for fun, I want to read a most fascinating story about Pilate and the Jews which helps explain why Pilate is a wimp. Josephus…ancient historian that lived in Jerusalem, wrote down this story about the 90’s first century… READ Antiquities, Book 18, ch. 3.
Pilate has no confidence. He lives with fear. He is manipulative. Wants to please everyone. A confident person allows the things of this earth to fall where they may, knowing Jesus Christ is Lord regardless of what happens. Life is unfair, the world is not always kind, there are bullies. We live in a hard world, yet God is God, Jesus Christ reigns… Pilate, in my mind, is the antithesis of confidence in almost every way… Pilate passes the buck to Herod.
If Pilate is a wimp, I think of Herod as a dope… Herod, a Jew, is a bridge between the Jews and the Romans in charge of the area in Galilee up north; he’s in Jerusalem for the festival. Jesus before Herod is told in Luke 23:8-12. I won’t read it, but what is clear is that Herod, unlike Pilate, is not sincere. He sees Jesus as a spectacle. that’s how a segment of people see Jesus? They make fun of Christians/ the Bible, not sincere at all…. You now how confident people answer insincere critics? Do what Jesus did: SILENCE. READ Luke 23:9. They mock him, make fun of him, do all sorts of things, but Jesus is silent… Jesus is silent with those who have already made up their mind…. No point… that’s confident. If people won’t L-I-S-T-E-N, rearrange the letters to S-I-L-E-N-T. I am not interested in arguing with people who have no intention of listening….
Finally, back to Pilate. Luke 23:12 is fascinating: READ. One is sincere but a wimp, the other is an insincere dope… they form an alliance against the confident Jesus…Guess what, just because two people seem to be against you, that doesn’t mean they are on the same page with themselves…. more manipulation from Pilate, I won’t take time to read the story but Pilate is still a manipulative person as he puts great energy into getting the people to release Barabbas, a murdering rebel, and gets the crowd to condemn Jesus to death…. Make no mistake: Pilate is guilty of condemning an innocent man, so are the religious leaders, so are the people… If you live without confidence but know the truth, you’ll be haunted, your mind will dwell on the person you know you should be. Jesus Christ has the power to save you from yourself!
Back to the most lofty verse in this scripture: Jesus’ words in Luke 22:69. He is on trial for his life, and he declares with confidence the verdict is in. READ Luke 22:69-70. In the face of human threats, Jesus speaks with confidence declaring His sovereign rule is already settled.
Nothing the courts, religious leaders, the people can do that can take away his position at the right hand of God! Imagine as Jesus faces threats, a mock trial, unfair accusations, lies and manipulations if he were to get on FB to decide how to respond. On FB he would get advise about walking away from toxic people, the haters aren’t worth it, to save himself, to get out while he’s ahead… But Jesus response is different: he knows who he is and what is coming ~ he is confident. No earthly authority can threaten him because truth is truth and he is loved by God. It is a divine gift to scratch the surface of living with the same amazing confidence. You have an amazing future with Jesus Christ.
A couple years ago I brought in a struggling woman into this room to see our window ~~ she got a tear in her eye and said “Do you really believe heaven is real?” Without hesitation I said, “YES”. She needed to hear it. She needed to hear confidence. Your confidence in Christ will help others. Guarantee. I’d be lying to you if I told you I never waver… How you answer certain questions in your heart determines how confident you are as a Christian: Is Jesus your Lord? Is heaven real? Do you believe the Bible, even the parts that go against societies beliefs? Jesus knows how the trial will end no matter what earthly authorities decide. No matter what bullies do to you…
Do you believe Jesus died for your sins? Can you see the coming day when you will stand face to face with the Lord? Here’s the trick: 1 Cor. 13:12 (KJV) says, “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” The trick for us: live with confidence in Christ though we do not yet see with complete clarity. That’s called faith, hope, expectation, That is what gives us peace in the middle of trials. We know the end.
The verdict is in: God loves you, Jesus died for your sins and he is raised to new life… The knowledge of who you are in Christ is vital for you confidently stand firm. How you respond in threatening/tempting situations, whether to speak or be silent, what to say to defend yourself if anything, will flow from your confidence as a person of faith in Jesus Christ. You don’t need to memorize how to respond to the wimpy bullies like Pilate or the sarcastic Herod’s, because just being confident is the answer. Jesus responds differently to each person/group, but the common thread of them all is that he is confident!
When you are facing hardships/threats in your life, I cannot tell you exactly how to respond, but I can say this: be confident in Christ. Whether it be life threatening illness, pressure to compromise your Christian convictions, the subtle temptation to join the crowd… it might be good to walk away, speak truth, confront… it all depends on how sincere the confrontation is and how strong/weak you are at this time in your life, but I can say this: be confident. And the more you live with confidence, the more you’ll be satisfied in however you respond.
Confidence is the brake that holds you back from fighting, it overcomes the need to prove yourself, to beat others up and punish them, confidence allows us to accept the fact that life is unfair, sometimes very unfair, not always needing to get our way, a confident person meets the changes of life easier because you always have a consistency in Christ as your main identity, confidence respects other people’s perspective…. Confidence keeps you from beating yourself up!
The verdict is in: Jesus knows who he is before the trial begins! That’s perfect confidence.