SermonPleading for Repentance
An all-creatures Bible Message

Pleading for Repentance
A Sermon Delivered to
The Compassion Internet Church
9 April 2017
Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

Scripture References

Isaiah 50:1-3
Matthew 26:14-27
Matthew 27:11-26

Pleading for repentance is what God is constantly doing; He wants to save everyone, but relatively few people accept His loving offering of forgiveness.
If we think carefully about God pleading for repentance, this is really what the celebration of Palm / Passion Sunday is all about.
In Isaiah 50:1-3, we hear God speaking to His wayward children as a pleading father.

1. Thus says the LORD,
"Where is the certificate of divorce,
By which I have sent your mother away?
Or to whom of My creditors did I sell you?
Behold, you were sold for your iniquities,
And for your transgressions your mother was sent away.

We believe that the Lord is speaking to the children of Israel who have turned their backs to God, because they would rather follow the corrupt and evil ways of the devil, whose violence causes millions of humans and billions of other animals to suffer and die every year.
However, God never gives up pleading for repentance to come from His wayward children.

2. "Why was there no man when I came?
When I called, why was there none to answer?
Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom?
Or have I no power to deliver?
Behold, I dry up the sea with My rebuke,
I make the rivers a wilderness;
Their fish stink for lack of water,
And die of thirst.

God is reminding the people of His great power, even the power to save them, and at the same time pleading for repentance that they might enter the kingdom of heaven.

3. "I clothe the heavens with blackness,
And I make sackcloth their covering."

The wearing of sackcloth was an outward symbol of a personís repentance, but in order to receive Godís forgiveness, we need to truly repent.
In Matthew 26:14-29 we see the contrast between Judas and the other disciples.

14. Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests,
15. and said, "What are you willing to give me to deliver Him up to you?" And they weighed out to him thirty pieces of silver.
16. And from then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Him.

Remember that God is always pleading for repentance, but unfortunately most people seem to want to continue in the corrupt and evil ways of this world.
First we saw the evil intent of Judas who went to the chief priests to betray Jesus, an innocent man, for money; but why would Judas go to the chief priests?
Arenít the chief priests to be leading the people in the heavenly will of God?
Of course they are, but they werenít, and Judas recognized that they were just as corrupt and ungodly as he was, and the priests proved that they were just as corrupt as Judas by paying him to betray Jesus, simply because they recognized Jesusí Godly ways as being a threat to their ungodliness.
And, we have the same kinds of things going on in the world today, including within our religious institutions.
As we move on to verse 17, the scene changesÖ

17. Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?"

We need to remember that in the time of Jesus, there were several sects of Jewish vegetarians who did not kill and eat a lamb for Passover; they substituted the bread for the lamb and wine for the blood, as we will see that Jesus did.

18. And He said, "Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, 'The Teacher says, "My time is at hand; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples." ' " 
19. And the disciples did as Jesus had directed them; and they prepared the Passover.

Neither the disciples nor anyone else killed or prepared a lamb for Jesusí last supper, so we know that there was no death at this Passover meal.

20. Now when evening had come, He was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples.
21. And as they were eating, He said, "Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me."

Jesus knows that itís Judas, and is using this occasion as a final way of pleading for repentance, but as we will see, Judasí heart is hardened.

22. And being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, "Surely not I, Lord?"

And from the way this verse is written, it sure seems that Judas was among those responding in this way.

23. And He answered and said, "He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me.

Instead of Judas responding to Godís pleading for repentance, Judas is still pretending that he is one of Jesusí close friends, but Jesus knows the intent of Judasí heart and soul.
So Jesus continuesÖ

24. "The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born." 

Even in this statement, Jesus is still pleading with Judas for him to repent, but he didnít.

25. And Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You have said it yourself." 

Jesus has had enough, and He calls out Judas for his hypocrisy and hardness of heart.
And each and every one of us needs to be on the alert about people in our own lives, for as with Jesus, we also could have a Judas among us who pretends to be a child of God, but who really is a child of the devil.
Then Jesus talks about what the Passover was really all about, and its modern day celebration of a communion service.

26. And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body."

The bread is now the flesh, for in a repentant world there should no longer be any killing of any kind and for any reason.

27. And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you;

The grape juice or wine is now the replacement for the blood, for in a truly repentant world, there should be no shedding of blood. 

28. for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.
29. "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom." 

Jesus knew that all His disciples, except for Judas, were repentant and thus would be with Him in heaven.
And remember that up until this meal, Jesus was pleading for repentance from Judas, and he didnít want any part of it; Judas would not be joining the other disciples in heaven.
Donít be like Judas.
Note the unrepentant nature and hardness of heart in the people as we look at Matthew 27:11-26Ö

11. Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, "Are You the King of the Jews?" And Jesus said to him, "It is as you say." 
12. And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He made no answer.

It is interesting to note the differences in Jesusí response to Pilate as compared to His response, or lack of response, to the chief priests and elders.
Pilate may not have known any better, and may have just been repeating what he had heard, but the chief priests and elders knew exactly who Jesus was, and yet they deliberately chose to falsely accuse Jesus; thus, Jesus refused to answer them.
Jesus had previously been pleading for repentance, but these chief priests and elders still knowingly continued to falsely accuse Him, for they saw Him as a direct threat to their worldly way of life.

13. Then Pilate said to Him, "Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?"
14. And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so that the governor was quite amazed.

Because, by His silence, Jesus proved to Pilate that He was who He said He was.

15. Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the multitude any one prisoner whom they wanted.

This feast was probably a Passover celebration.

16. And they were holding at that time a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas.
17. When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?"
18. For he [Pilate] knew that because of envy they had delivered Him up.

This is also why Jesus answered Pilate about who he was, but would not respond to any of the false charges.

19. And while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, "Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him."

God was reaching out to Pilate and pleading for repentance, but how will Pilate react?

20. But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitudes to ask for Barabbas, and to put Jesus to death.

Note how evil the chief priests and elders were.

21. But the governor answered and said to them, "Which of the two do you want me to release for you?" And they said, "Barabbas."

Like the chief priest and elders, the people rejected Godís pleading for repentance, and instead sided with the evil ways of the devil and his minions.

22. Pilate said to them, "Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?" They all said, "Let Him be crucified!"

It is obvious that Pilate and the people knew that Jesus was the Messiah, but none of them would let go of their hardness of heart and worldly ways.

23. And he said, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they kept shouting all the more, saying, "Let Him be crucified!"

Pilate goes a step further because he knows that Jesus has done nothing wrong, but the people refuse to soften their hearts and repent.

24. And when Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of this Man's blood; see to that yourselves."
25. And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children!"

The people even were willing to condemn their own innocent children; they didnít want to have any part in Godís pleading for forgiveness; they liked being evil like the rest of the world.

26. Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him to be crucified.

Pilate has the power to free anyone, including Jesus, but he shows that he really is just as hard of heart as the chief priests and the elders who wanted Jesus condemned.
Pilate was a people pleaser and not a God pleaser, and since he knew the truth and refused to listen to Godís pleading for repentance, he may be even guiltier than the people.
And what is worse, he condemns Jesus to be tortured to death, for scourging and crucifixion was a Roman way of torturing someone to death in a process that could last three days.
This shows the evil nature of many people, even to this very day, and it is causing billions of animals to suffer all their lives and then be murdered every year, and like Jesus, these animals are all innocent.
Donít be like these people.
Jesus is still pleading for repentance, even from the cross.
Repent and accept His forgiveness.
And letís all keep death off of our plates, today, and for every day to come.

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