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The Guilty and the Innocent

by Rev. Kirby Williams

When truth is lost, justice is denied. The guilty go free while The Innocent is condemned.

Text: John 18:38-40
Date: 05/24/2020, the Combined service.
Series: "John: Encountering Love" Part 178

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After his first interview with Jesus, Pilate returns to the Jews to report he finds no guilt in Him. But when he is confronted by an angry crowd, he vacillates and offers to let Jesus go as part of a Passover custom. But the mob, stirred up by the Sanhedrin, shouts for him to release Barabbas, a known terrorist, instead. And once again John presents us with an ironic but profound encounter: this time between guilt and innocence. We will analyze this situation and find it closely relates to the discussion of truth that precedes it and that when truth is lost, so is justice. The innocent are condemned and the guilty go free. We will then discover this comparison goes far beyond just Barabbas, as we consider our own part in the injustice being done, and ultimately confront the truth of the "glorious" relationship between the guilty and the Innocent.

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I. Introduction
II. Exposition of the text, John 18:38-40.
A. Context, Acts 2:23.
B. On truth and justice.
1. When truth is lost, vs. 38.
a. Acting according to his nature.
i. Devoid of the truth, John 8:44.
ii. All truth is relative.
b. Why did Pilate not let Jesus go?
i. The "extenuating circumstances".
• The crowd had grown.
• The Jews had been busy, Mark 15:11.
• Pilate's problems with Rome.
ii. The "black hole" of relative truth.
• When truth is relative, justice is compromised.
• Pilate's black hole, Matt. 27:19.
c. The "black hole" in our culture.
i. The death of justice.
ii. Denying the laws of God and man.
2. The custom of pardon, vs. 39.
a. The conviction of an innocent man.
i. The irony of the pardon.
ii. Exploring the custom, Mark 15:6,8.
b. Pilate's suggestion.
i. To antagonize.
ii. To manipulate.
3. Choosing Barabbas, vs. 40.
a. Introducing Barabbas.
i. Turning to the other Gospels, Matt. 27:16, Mark 15:7, Luke 23:19.
ii. Barabbas was a terrorist, John 11:49-50.
iii. When truth does not matter, Matt. 27:20.
b. Innocence and guilt.
i. Another powerful confrontation, Luke 23:2.
ii. The irony of Barabbas' name.
iii. Noticing the encounter, Isa. 16:5, Acts 17:31.
c. An aberration of justice.
III. Application
A. Barabbas and you.
1. A parade of sinners.
2. Discovering Barabbas' relevance, 2Sam. 12:7.
B. The "glorious injustice" of the Cross, Rom. 5:6-8.
IV. Conclusion

The Preaching Ministry of Kirby Williams

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