Last sermon in John: The resurrected Christ feeds and reinstates his disciples so that they may fulfill his purpose for their lives.

Photo by Jodi. Fremont morning sky after dropping kids at school. Love this place! 2012

IX. The Sermon: The End – and the Beginning – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church. The Sermon Passage: John 21

The Big Idea: The resurrected Christ feeds and reinstates his disciples so that they may fulfill his purpose for their lives.


I. Why are they fishing? (vv. 1-14).

They have just witnessed the greatest event in all the world, and Jesus has already met them in person after his resurrection. Inspite of all this, they return fishing. God’s grand plan of redemption has been unfolded and they go back fishing. Why? Golf had not been invented yet?

Jesus went to the cross alone and abandoned by his desciples. A couple of woman and a couple of unlikely desciples (Joseph and Nicodemus) are the only ones who connect with him in and after his death.

Truth be told, we are all like the desciples in our unbelief and indifference to the grand narrative of the gospel of God.

In Acts 2, a matter of days later than this fishing event in John, these same desciples get the holy spirit. Without the holy spirit giving us deep affection in our hearts for his glory over ours, the desciples would continue in their fishing and indifference. This is just like us and the absolute necessity that the holy spirit has a huge role to play in our daily lives.

Prayerfully, this is how we can approach Sundays in our time of gathering – dependent upon the holy spirit to show us as great the things of the gospel that ARE so great!

II. Fed, restored and reinstated for a purpose (vv. 15-23) .

Jesus is by a charcoal fire just like when Peter was by the same type of charcole fire when he denied Jesus three times. There is no way that Peter could stand there on that day and miss what Jesus is doing by restoring him from his betrayal. Jesus also asks him the same question three times to further make this restoration point so Peter won’t miss it.

No longer does Peter say he is proving to Jesus that he can lead this band of men. Instead he says, Jesus, you know. He is not going to prove it to Jesus but rather he will be still and quiet and say Jesus, YOU know.

Culturally, it was a huge deal to have a meal together. It was deep fellowship. Jesus is saying that, yes, you desciples are train wrecks, but you are my train wrecks and let’s have a meal together. Jesus does not rely on them to do the changing but on God’s great power.

The purpose Jesus restores Peter includes feeding Jesus’ sheep and suffering. Jesus says that Peter will be crucified like Christ but upside down. If you have been reconciled to Christ, you have been reconciled for a purpose. This purpose is not just for indivual blessing but, like Abraham, to be a blessing to others.

The church belongs to Jesus. It is not mine or ours. The sheep do not belong to pastor Kyle. The sheep belong to Jesus. It is his church.

As we talk about restoring the building on 6th and Main, this truth becomes very crucial.

III. Stop eating non-food! (v. 24).

If what the desciples have written in the four gospels is such a great fact and it is true, then why did you go back fishing?

Your food as Jesus’ sheep as his followers is his word. That is why John ends this book saying that this is true, and it is your food to live on.

One of the ways we do know this is true and not made up is the unattractive, weak light that the desciples continue to paint themselves. If they made it up, why write in that you continued to act like an idiot? There is one hero in the story, and that is Jesus.

Amos 8 says there will be a time when there is a famine in the land of God’s word not be readily found. Today, however, it is common to hear from pulpits that we are the hero of our own story. This is not food but malnutrition will cause sickness in our hearts. Eat heartily on Jesus’ words as John closes with that exhortation.

The passage.

1 After this Jesus revealed himself again to the disciples by the Sea of Tiberias, and he revealed himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called the Twin), Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two others of his disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will go with you.” They went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.

4 Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish?” They answered him, “No.” 6 He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, because of the quantity of fish. 7 That disciple whom Jesus loved therefore said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. 8 The other disciples came in the boat, dragging the net full of fish, for they were not far from the land, but about a hundred yards off.

9 When they got out on land, they saw a charcoal fire in place, with fish laid out on it, and bread. 10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.” 11 So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, 153 of them. And although there were so many, the net was not torn. 12 Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” Now none of the disciples dared ask him, “Who are you?” They knew it was the Lord. 13 Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and so with the fish. 14 This was now the third time that Jesus was revealed to the disciples after he was raised from the dead.

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

20 Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” 21 When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 23 So the saying spread abroad among the brothers that this disciple was not to die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he was not to die, but, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you?”

24 This is the disciple who is bearing witness about these things, and who has written these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

25 Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.


Revelation 21 – The Bible tells the story of God’s creation, humanity’s fall and God ’s restoration of all things through the resurrected Christ.

VII. The Sermon: All Things New – Reverend Kyle McClellan, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church. The Sermon Passage: Revelation 21:1-5

Last week we saw the unbelief of Doubting Thomas regarding the resurrection.

Key question: If the resurrection has great implications for me individually as a follower of Christ, what are the implications for all of creation? It is incomplete to see these implications for just one piece of this. It is like saying, “I had a great game but the team lost again with a new record of 0-10.”. This is backwards.

We are all selfish. That is why it is good to be reminded that things are going on outside of me, myself, and I.

The Big Idea: The Bible tells the story of God’s creation, humanity’s fall and God’s restoration of all things through the resurrected Christ.

I. Read your Bible as one book.

A. Creation (Genesis 1-2).
We are made complete in Gods image and given the creation mandate to be fruitful and multiply and have dominion ov the earth. This is a call for us to build culture.

B. Fall (Genesis 3).
Sin has not just impacted our vertical lationship with God. It impacts our relationships in marriage, each other, our work, and within ourselves. Read on through Genesis 4 and beyond and see just how messed up everything is I’m relationships and all things. After our parents sinned in the garden, they hid from God and no longer walked with him in beauty in the cool of the day.

C. Redemption (Revelation 21:1-5).
In Revelation 21:3-4, However, God is walking again with us the cool of the day like with Adam and Eve!

Genesis one and two are to be recovered and GREAT news!

Bioethicists and scientist today believe we can genetically engineer ourselves. We would no longer be carnivores. Secondly, we would only be 5’9″. Their belief is that we are a parasite to our environment.

This is not what Genesis one teaches. Though often we are not very good stewards of creation, we have indeed been given The role as vice regents of creation for God.

Consumerism is one of the great idols of our culture. It makes it all about me and us. However, when we see this creation story and redemption of it, it places us into a much larger narrative of all human history. It is libations to know there is a greater plan in the universe and that I am not the gat story!

II. Know HOW Jesus’ resurrection plays into the story

(1 Corinthians 15:20-26).

How is it that we can be certain that revelation 21 is going to happen even when an see people andeventually myself dying around me?

The conjunction BUT used in this Corinthian passage, is our hope! Indeed Christ HAS been raised from the dead. The first fruits of the harvest are representative of the whole. It is really saying that we give you, God, all of the harvest which is represented by this offering of the first cuts.

In the same way a man, Adam, death came, so life in Christ comes in a second man, Christ!

Why do we know that creation will be restored? Because Jesus is no longer in the grave! God has already resurrected Christ from the dead as the first fruit! We will follow as the rest of the harvest! As assuredly as God resurrected Jesus from the dead, so he will make all things new!

In some ways, that is what we are saying today with communion. Psalm 75 is the cup of Gods wrath stored up against us. As we read through johns account of Jesus’ last days, there are two cups mentioned: one is the cup of wrath and one is the cup of the new covenant. The new covenant cup also helps us look forward to the feast of the marriage supper of the lamb where the will be cups of wine of blessing!

Which cup do you want? Revelation 20 talks about the great white throne judgment where the cup of wrath will be pured out on all who have not partaken of the cup in Christ of the new covenant. Which cup will you drink?

The passages:

Revelation 21
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

1 Corinthians 15
20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. 22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. 24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Four great sermons on John!

Photo by Jodi. 2012

IX. The Sermon: So What? – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church – The Sermon Passage: John 20:1-29

The Big Idea: Based upon the testimony of three sets of eyewitnesses, John calls us to believe that Jesus is both Lord and God!


I. Listen to the witnesses (vv. 1-23)
A. Mary Magdalene (vv. 1-2, 11-18)
B. Peter and John (vv. 3-10)
C. The Ten Disciples (vv. 19-25)
He appears to them on both Resurrection Sunday and 7 days later.

It is not surprising that John gives us witnesses as he has been doing the whole book. But what is interesting is that Mary is told as the first eye witness and at that time her testimony being a woman was not admissible in court. If the gospel account was somehow concocted, this would never be in there as a woman as the first eye witness. Why did he do it? He is not creating a story, but he is telling it as he saw it.

The Bible has a very high view of women. This is different than our culture and many other cultures too.

Our faith is based upon facts and eye witnesses. Our faith is not a leap in the dark.

II. A Divine Command (v. 27).

Thomas’ problem is not that he doubts but has unbelief. That is why Jesus doesn’t say, don’t doubt, but rather he says believe. It’s our problem as well. We can “church-it-up” in how we talk about doubt, but at the end of the day, we face unbelief. That is our problem. It is not that we doubt God’s promises – we flat do not believe it.

Sometimes also our disbelief is that we just forget. We forget what the promises are, who God is, and that we have facts and eye witness accounts, etc.

III. A Dangerous Confession (v. 28).

At the same time Cesar is on the throne and John is writing this, the Romans made you proclaim that Cesar is god. John writes, 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

All of our idols are inherently violent. They do not deliver what they promise and also displace all other things in your life. Like Adam and Eve in the garden, we want to be Cesar and God. We want to decide what goes first in my life. When God says do this or believe this, we bow our necks and hate it. It’s against our grain. I am the measure of me. God is there when I need a helping hand.

So what? The confession that Thomas makes changes everything. No longer is he at the center as the captain of his own ship. Jesus is.

Tomas does not just say, you are Lord. Rather he says, MY LORD AND MY GOD.

So what is he for you this morning? Is he a / the lord, or is he YOUR Lord? Do we know it in our heads that he is lord, but have we bowed the knees of our heart to him as our captain?

The passage.

1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”
3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb.
4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.
5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.
6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there,
7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself.
8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed;
9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb.
12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.
13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”
14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'”
18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”-and that he had said these things to her.
19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”
20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.”
22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.
23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came.
25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”
26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”
27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”
29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

IX. The Sermon: God’s Passover Lamb – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church – The Sermon Passage: John 19:31-42

The Big Idea: Jesus dies as the ultimate Passover Lamb, a fact testified to by a pair of witnesses and a pair of unlikely disciples.


I. God’s Passover Lamb is dead (vv. 31-34).

Jesus dies according to the Old Testament scriptures. He fulfills what begins in the Old Testament. When the Israelites left Egypt, they were to kill a lamb and put its blood over the doorpost of your house. It is no mistake the Jesus was killed right at the Passover festival. When Jesus takes this meal with his desciples early in the week long festival, there is no mention of meat on the table because the lamb was AT the table.

John wants us to make sure we see two times in this passage that Jesus’ bones were not broken. The Israelites in leaving Egypt were to eat a lamb with no broken bones.

II. Two reliable witnesses (vv. 35-37).

A. John is a reliable eye witness to confirm that Jesus is dead. John is not telling us this story, confirming Jesus is dead, hoping that in some way it benefits him, because it does not. He was dipped in a pot of boiling oil that did not kill him before being exiled to an island. He also got another mother – Jesus’ mother Mary. He did tell us this, rather, that we might believe.

B. The water and the spirit bears testimony. 1 John 5:6-8. Zachariah 12.

III. Two unlikely disciples (vv. 38-42).

Joseph of Aramathea and Nicodemus. We have heard a lot about the 12 disciples. Yet in this passage, John points out Joseph whom we have not heard anything of so far in the Bible. It is one thing to follow someone who is doing miracles but another thing to want to identify with a dead man. The only time you use 75 pounds of embalming fluid is when you bury royalty.

One thing we can learn from this is that followers of Jesus are a work in progress. You are not yet what you will be – Wendell berry.

Secondly, we need to be careful not to think there is one template on what following Christ looks like. Pray for our Covenant children that they may say. We also need to be careful not to do this with our children as well. Our kids are certainly like us but also so different too. The Holy Spirit will do his work in his own way – don’t question him.

The passage

31 Since it was the day of Preparation, and so that the bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him. 33 But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness-his testimony is true, and he knows that he is telling the truth-that you also may believe. 36 For these things took place that the Scripture might be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken.” 37 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

38 After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him permission. So he came and took away his body. 39 Nicodemus also, who earlier had come to Jesus by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds in weight.
40 So they took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews.
41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.
42 So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, since the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

IX. The Sermon: Accomplished – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church – The Sermon Passage: John 19:12-30

The Big Idea: King Jesus accomplishes all God the Father sent him to do, perfectly fulfilling the grand plan of redemption.


Point One: Choose your king wisely (vv. 12-22).

It is ironic that though they think they have Jesus on trial, he really has them on trial. They are to decide who their real king is. When they say they have not other king but Cesar, it means they are agreeing with the Roman belief that Cesar is divine. Ironically, too, in 70 AD Cesar will destroy Jerusalem and the temple and everything they hold dear. So much for calling out to a king for leadership and protection.

If you chose any other king than king Jesus, he will ruin you and make shambles of your life in the same way. All kings other than Christ can promise life but ultimately will destroy you. Which king will you choose?

Point Two: Not helpless, but according to plan (vv. 23-27).

A. Scriptures fulfilled (vv. 23-25)

This is a perverse scene. Jesus is beaten beyond recognition and now naked hanging on the cross. The seamless undergarment is rolled for in a game of chance by the soldiers. This is not random but fulfills the old testament reading we had today on Psalm 22. As one commentator points out, this is Jesus’ coronation and everything is scripted according to plan.

B. Keeping the 5th commandment (vv. 26-27).

John is there as an eyewitness – John and all the three Mary’s. Most scholars believe Jesus’ earthly father Joseph is dead meaning Mary’s care would fall to the oldest son. With Jesus dying, Jesus is fulfilling the fifth commandment: honor your father and mother. Jesus said that he came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it. What a striking example of this!

C. Fulfilling the Pasove completely

Verse 29 is when the hyssop branch was raised with the sour wine. Why a hyssop branch? Wy does John point this out? This is the third Passover in John’s gospel. Remember, the Passover feast applied the blood to door posts of your house with a hyssop branch. This is the fulfillment of the Passover in every detail.

Point Three: Drained to the dregs (vv. 28-30; cf.: John 18:11).

What is finished? The cup of God’s wrath. Jesus had drank the cup to the dregs. It is accomplished. He who knew no sin became sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God in Him – 2 Cor.

3 Practical Considerations:

1. I’m not OK, and neither are you.

God does not grade goodness on a relative scale or on a curve. There are no curve busters in heaven. It takes a holy, perfect God to pay the debt that evil you and me racked up. Do you understand the God’s own son was just slaughtered. If you are okay and I am okay, then this is one screwed up sick joke. But if we are not okay, then God’s son had to be slaughtered.

2. “Working hard to get to heaven”?

Common idea we have that is captured in an Alan Jackson song. Do you think you could drink God’s cup of wrath to the dregs? Do you live that way? Why does lazy work ethic drive us crazy in other people? At the root we still think deep down inside that my strivings somehow impress God and he is happier with me than the one who does not. Are we resting in the gospel or are we tired and exhausted in our soul because Christ is not our rest?

3. All will be well.

When cancer hits, for example, people ask, “why is God punishing us?” God is redeeming all the nonsense in your life as a follower of his – he does not have to punish us as he punished his son fully. There is no punishment. Nothing in your life as a follower of Christ is there for punishment. It is and will be fully redeemed!

So which king will you choose?

The passage.

12 From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” 13 So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” 16 So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.'” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,

“They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. 28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

IX. The Sermon: freedom and authority – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church

The Sermon Passage: John 19:1-11

The Big Idea: in a passage fought with irony, we are called by John to decide for ourselves as we witness the true nature of freedom and authority.

I. So who’s really free? (Pilate, a second-class diplomat caught between a rock and a hard place). Vv 1-5

Matthew 27, Pilate’s wife is in his ear too. She tells him the visions she has about Christ. He is trying to placate the Jews. He is not free from the whims of the crowd. Ironically, Jesus, the one who looks to not have freedom here as a prisoner is the one most free.

II. Marvel at how God’s plan moves forward spledendly while man’s fails totally. vs 6-8

The Bible is full of examples like this. Jonah’s story is a good one. He tries to foil God’s plan but cannot. In John, we read that Jesus came to his own but his own received him not. This was the plan from the beginning.

III. John calls us out. vs 3, 6

There are considered two types of people: jews and Gentiles. This is not just an isolated event of people rejecting Jesus’ kingship from God. It is all humanity – sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. What about you? I rejected him and he still died for me. That is what WE have done. Have you submitted your will to the rightful reign of your creator?

IV. Know for certain who has absolute authority. Vs 9-10

Pilate is now more afraid. He asks where Jesus is from and he gets no answer. Do you know what a big deal it is when God stops speaking to you? In scripture, it is a big deal. King Saul hs nothing from God so he consults a medium and conjures up dead Samuel. Romans 1 says God gave mankind over to its lusts.

The gospel turns our world upside down. If you are making an authority claim, it is a naked grab for more power. We would think that the next phrase of Jesus might be, my father gave you power and I am out of here. He does not. Instead, Jesus SUBMITS to the will of his Father.

Freedom does not mean I have a right to do whatever I please and am not held to the consequences. It means Jesus is so free he can go back – he can love us who crucified him.


1 Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. 2 And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. 3 They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. 4 Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” 5 So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” 6 When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. 9 He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

IX. The Sermon: Two Questions – Rev. Kyle McClellan, Senior Minister, Grace Presbyterian Church

The Sermon Passage: John 18:28-40

The Big Idea: In Jesus’ initial encounter with Pilate, two questions emerge – questions we ourselves must also answer 2000 years later.


I. Hypocrisy defined (vv. 28-31).

II. The first question: in what sense is Jesus a King? (vv. 33-37)

A. The Church/sphere sovereignty (cf.: Ephesians 4:11-14).

B. The King of the Nations (cf.: Matthew 28:18; Psalm 2).

C. Now and not yet (cf.: Revelation 19:11-16).

III. The second question: what is truth? (v. 38).

IV. Beware playing politics (vv. 38b-40).

The passage.
28 Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. 29 So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” 30 They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” 31 Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” 32 This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

33 So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” 34 Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” 35 Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” 37 Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world-to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” 38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. 39 But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 40 They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

Psalm 51. Why does a Psalm which starts in individual confession end with community?

18 Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem;
19 then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar. Psalm 51, King David.

Salvation is not just a restoration of the individual only but rather David in this passage is the great hint to Christ – christ is restoring all things to himself including creation. That is why this passage after beginning in an individual confession ends in the plural and with the city. As sin is a cosmic undoing, so salvation in Christ is a cosmic restoration both now, and it will be fully manifested in the new heavens and new earth.