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The Paradox of "Providential Injustice"

by Rev. Kirby Williams

Grappling with the relationship between injustice and God's Providence.

Text: John 19:6-11
Date: 06/07/2020, the Combined service.
Series: "John: Encountering Love" Part 180

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As Jesus' Roman trial continues, the tension between Pilate and the Jews reaches a boiling point. Pilate's attempts to let Jesus go have met with stubborn resistance, while the Jewish leaders have failed to secure Jesus' crucifixion with their accusations of sedition against Rome. In order to break the stalemate, the Jews reveal the real reason they want Jesus dead-- His claim to be the Son of God. This spooks the superstitious Pilate who interviews Jesus one last time to determine who He is. When Pilate boastfully expresses his perceived authority, Jesus bluntly confronts him with the reality of the sovereign Providence of God-- even in the face of the gross injustice being done. We will analyze the Jews' accusation, the confrontation between Pilate's "will" and God's sovereignty, and the nature of the injustice being committed. Ultimately we will confront the burning question of the paradox of "Providential injustice", and find that the two greatest injustices of human history were both God-ordained!

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I. Introduction
II. Exposition of the text, John 19:6-11.
A. Context
B. The final interview.
1. Another failed attempt, vs. 6.
a. Pilate's frustrated response to the Jews.
b. An aberration of justice, Rom. 8:28, Isa. 53:6,8.
2. The religious accusation, vs. 7.
a. Falling back on the Hebrew Law.
i. A change in tactic, Luke 23:2.
ii. The Roman policy of "home rule".
iii. A thinly veiled threat.
b. Analyzing the charge.
i. The charge of blasphemy, Lev. 24:16.
ii. Guilty as charged, John 10:29-33.
iii. Calvin's logical approach, Psa. 2:7, Luke 1:35.
c. Authenticating Jesus, John 10: 20-21,37,38, Matt. 12:24-26.
d. A decision that must be made.
3. Pilate's fear, vs 8.
a. A practical fear.
b. A superstitious fear, Matt. 27:19.
c. A pagan fear.
d. A fear of God?
4. Blind to the truth, vs. 9.
a. A fearful inquiry, Luke 23:6-7.
b. The response of silence, John 18:38, Isa. 53:7.
c. A disturbing principle, John 12:39-40, Rom. 1:18-22.
5. Pilate's misguided claim of authority, vs 10.
a. Pilate's irritated boast.
b. The depths of Pilate's injustice, John 11:49-50.
6. The source of all authority, vs. 11.
a. The principle of "concurrence".
i. All authority is God-ordained, Rom. 13:1,2, Heb. 13:17.
ii. God's use of injustice.
iii. Probing Pilate's "free will".
b. The greater sin.
i. Pilate is NOT exonerated.
ii. Identifying the one with the "greater guilt".
iii. Finding the greater sin.
c. The underlying principle.
III. Application
A. The greatest injustice.
1. Justice was not served by this trial.
2. Jesus did not pursue justice.
3. The emphasis of Jesus' few words, John 18:36,37,19:11.
4. God allows injustice for His purposes.
B. The second greatest injustice.
IV. Conclusion

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