Jesus warned us against participating in the thing that defines most people – including people of faith. It’s judging others. According to Him, when we take it upon ourselves to do that – we have to be willing to be judged in the same way – and with the same measuring stick. Jesus’ warning is that when we judge, we actually place ourselves above those we are judging. And that is a dangerous place to be relationally – especially when our judgment is a matter of opinion – our opinion – and can, in fact, be a sign of pride. And pride is always dangerous.
So – what about when we’re in the seat of the defendant, the judged? That happens a lot. We, in fact, do get judged… that we’re not biblical enough, or clean enough, or organized enough, or spiritual enough. That we’re too hard on our kids, too easy on our kids; that we’re too rich – or too poor. On and on it goes…
The destructive part of being judged is when it goes inside – and we begin to act – not on what is true, but on what other people say. Sometimes we get defensive – repel every bit of criticism and go after people like a junkyard dog. Sometimes we never ask the question about the voices, the labels. Is it true – at ALL? There comes a point where, to find peace, we have to say, THE DEFENSE RESTS! The only chance for good to come out of a situation where you are unfairly judged is to be quiet sometimes – as Jesus was. And then to say, like Jesus, Father – forgive them because they don’t know what they’re doing!

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After all the demands for answers, “just one more sign,” “prove yourself,” “we’ll prove you’re not the Messiah by hanging you on a cross till dead’ – may God have mercy on your soul!” Jesus walked out of the grave in a blaze of glory and power. His resurrection either answered the questions people had – or inspired intentional unbelief. People usually fall on one side or another.

* Jesus actually was dead – and the Romans and the religious hierarchy knew where the grave was.
* The grave was sealed by the Romans with a contingent of guards who saw the stone move.
* There were 500 witnesses – and a mass hallucination is impossible.
* Jesus one brother, James, who had rejected Jesus in his ministry years – believed.
* The Saul of Tarsus – who hated Jesus and Christians, believed and records the earliest account of the authenticity of Jesus’ death and resurrection – and deity.
* The best, earliest and most numerous (by a wide margin) ancient historical records are of Jesus, His life, His death and His resurrection.
* Jesus didn’t just split history – He changed history. That’s a fact. It’s also a fact that He’s still splitting history into BC and AD for those who come to Him.

Bottom line? THE DEFENSE RESTS! And now you – and every other person must decide on Jesus – and what their lives, their future, their destiny, and their eternity will be.

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The most religious, the people who talked about God more than anyone else, and studied the Bible more diligently – and knew the prophecies better than anyone – the best-living people of that day, invaded Jesus’ place of private prayer with His disciples, hauled Him off with the approving kiss of one of His inner circle, held an illegal trial, and manipulated both the Roman governor and the crowd to demand His execution. The irony they missed was that this all took place on Yom Kippur, Passover, the day when the first-born of Egypt died, and God’s people were freed – only by smearing the blood of a lamb over the cross-beams of their doorway.
Even before Jesus’ trial and execution – after an avalanche of signs, the demand of the people and the religious leaders was, “Come on, Jesus – just one more sign!” Judas apparently wanted one more sign. Herod Antipas – wanted one more sign. When Jesus stood before the religious professionals, they demanded answers; He gave them silence. When Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate, He was silent. Even when Jesus had been beaten nearly to death and was hanging on the cross, the high priests, Roman executioners and criminals all demanded just one more sign… “if you’re the Son of God, get yourself off the cross!” Jesus’ only answer to their accusations and mockery was, “Father! Forgive them – because they have NO IDEA what they’re doing!”
Down through history, that’s been the demand. One more sign. Jesus said, “You’ve seen enough! It’s an evil generation that asks for signs.” Why? Because one more sign won’t change a thing! The Defense Rests.

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When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday, there was a crowd traveling with Him shouting, “Save Us Son of David!” Those are clearly Messianic words – proclaiming Him to be the One who had been promised ever since God made the promises to Abraham that He was going to bless the nations through him. So, how is it that Jesus was captured, judged, sentenced and hanging on a cross within 6 days? It most certainly wasn’t for the lack of signs and miracles. Jesus left a trail of goodness and power and stunning miracles behind Him. He’s proved that He was the Lord of quality – by turning water to wine; that He was the Lord of quantity – by feeding a massive crowd with a kid’s bag lunch. He proved that He was Lord of gravity by walking on water; that He was Lord over disease and atrophy by healing all who came to Him – no matter what was killing them. And He proved that He was Lord over death by raising at least three people from the dead – the last of which had been dead and buried for 4 days. He forgave sins, He set people free from demonic spirits, He transformed Himself into a being of light in front of His disciples – and He answered every question He was asked. In addition to that – He lived a perfect life!
The specific issue was that He had already been judged by the entire religious establishment – and because He had challenged their authority and their character, they had already decided that He was going to die. It was just a matter of when. Jesus’ life was so huge – and so world-changing. Everyone in our world is forced to judge Him. The Defense Rests… and now, as a member of the jury, you have to decide; is He God, the promised Messiah, the Saviour… or not? Like the religious professionals, you will actually decide your own future – not His!

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