I FIND IN HIM NO FAULT
Dr. W. A. Criswell
5-25-80 8:15 a.m.
Pilate saith unto Him, What is truth?
And he went out and said unto the Jews, I find in Him no fault at all.
Pilate took Jesus, and scourged Him.
And he brought Him forth to the Jews and said, ecce homo – idou ho anthropos – that ye may know I find no fault in Him –
And when they cried out the more saying, Crucify Him, crucify Him, Pilate saith unto them, Take ye Him, and crucify Him: but I find no fault in Him.
The first hostility that was developed against our Lord concerned the Sabbath day. It occurred in a synagogue. There was a man present who had his hand withered. And those who belonged to the sect of the scribes and of the Pharisees asked Him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?" in order that they might accuse Him [Matthew 12:9-10].
And He spoke of the man who had a sheep that fell in a pit and wouldn’t they lift him out. "How much more," the Lord said, "is a man better than a sheep." So He turned to the man with the withered hand and said, "Stretch it forth." And it was restored like the other. Then the Pharisees went out and held a council against Him; how they might destroy Him [Matthew 12:11-14].
The way the question is framed it is easily seen that they expected the Lord to heal that man with the withered hand. Before the Lord had done anything, they asked Him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?" [Matthew 12:10]. They had a thousand little formulae and rules and interdictions about the Sabbath day, and one of them: you couldn’t heal on the Sabbath. So the way the question is framed, they expected Him to do it; they had watched Him and they knew Him. And wherever there was hurt and sickness and wounded bleeding, there was the Lord moved with compassion to heal. They expected Him to do it, "Jesus, moved with compassion [Mark 1:41]," is His ever-enduring name.
And seeing the man there in the presence of our Lord with his hand withered, they knew what He would do. So the way they framed the question, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day?" [Matthew 12:10], they were expecting Him to do it. And the Lord, moved with compassion, asked that man to stretch forth his hand; and his hand was healed, just like the other [Matthew 12:13]. And when they saw it, they went out and held a council how they might destroy Him [Matthew 12:14]. "But I find no fault in Him at all" [John 18:38].
The second confrontation with our Lord is in the fifteenth chapter of the Book of Luke, "Then drew near unto Him all the publicans and sinners for to hear Him. And the scribes and the Pharisees murmured, saying, This Man,"houtos – a term of contempt and ridicule, houtos – translated, "this man"; houtos, this guy, this flotsam and jetsam. "This Man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them" [Luke 15:1-2].
When He was in the home, a guest in the house of Simon the Pharisee, reclining at the table eating, a sinful woman from the streets came and bathed His feet with her tears and dried them with the hair of her head. And Simon the Pharisee said, "This Man is no prophet. If He were a prophet, He would know what kind of a woman this is and would not allow her to touch Him" [Luke 7:36-39]. But the Lord said to Simon the Pharisee, "Two men owe a debt, an enormous debt owed by one, a small debt owed by the other. And in the gracious goodness of the lender, both were forgiven. Who would appreciate it and love him the most?" And Simon the Pharisee said, "I suppose the one to whom the greatest debt was owed" [Luke 7:40-43]. And the Lord replied, "So with this woman of the street. Her sins, being many, are now all forgiven. And her love is great, expressed by her tears and the drying of My feet from those tears with the very hair of her head" [Luke 7:47].
The Pharisees and the scribes murmured saying, "This Man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them" [Luke 15:1-2]. But I find no fault in Him at all, that He receives sinners and forgives them, that He loves us when we’re unlovely, "I find no fault in Him" [John 19:6].
Then the third confrontation: when the Lord came, after the triumphal entry into Jerusalem and entered the temple, He saw there those that sold and bought. They were selling sacrificial animals and changing Roman money into Jewish money in order that it might be presented as a worthy offering to the Lord. And He came into the temple and overthrew the tables of the money changers and the seats of them that sold doves. And He said, "It is written in God’s Book, My house shall be called a house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves" [Luke 19:45-46]. And the scribes and the chief priests heard Him say it, and they sought how they might destroy Him [Luke 19:47].
He said, "You have made it a den of thieves" [Luke 19:46]. What they were doing was obvious. They exacted and asked exorbitant prices for those sacrificial animals that had to be offered unto the Lord. And when they changed Roman money into Hebrew money, into Jewish money, to offer it in the name of the Lord, they exacted a high differential. And all of that exorbitant exchange went into the pockets of the Sadducees, the party of the Sadducees, who controlled the temple. And the Lord denounced it and overthrew their tables and those that sold those sacrificial animals [Luke 19:45]. And they went out and held a council how they might destroy Him [Luke 19:47]. "But I find no fault in Him at all" [John 18:38].
The next confrontation: in the last day of His life, they accosted Him – and it was their privilege – concerning His qualifications as a teacher of God, as a rabbi sent from the Lord. And in this great confrontation in the temple, they sent their finest lawyers and their most astute scribes and their Pharisees, trained in every theological casuistry. So they set a trap for Him in His words. And the first was this: the Herodians and the Pharisees came to ask Him a question to catch Him in His words. And they asked, "Is it lawful to give tribute Caesar, or not?" [Mark 12:14]. If He said, "It is lawful," He would infuriate the Jews. If He said, "It is not lawful," then He is a seditionist against the Roman government. "Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?"
And He asked for a denarius. And holding it up, He asked, "Whose is this image and superscription?" And they answered, "Caesar’s" [Mark 12:15-16]. And Jesus said unto them, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s" [Mark 12:17]. Let Caesar’s dues be paid to Caesar and his throne, but conscience and soul were made to serve the Lord, alone. "And I find no fault in Him at all" [John 18:38].
The second question came from the Sadducees, who denied the afterlife – the resurrection from the dead. And they told Him an old stock story that they had been repeating for a generation of a man who had seven wives. According to the Levirate law, when a man had a wife and he died and left no issue, in order for the man’s family to continue, his brother had to take her and raise up children in the name of the man who had died [Deuteronomy 25:5-6]; his brother died.
So they have an old stock story about a man, and then his brother, and his brother, and his brother – seven of them – died. And they [all had that wife]. So in the resurrection – ha, ha! ridiculing – why, who will have her of those seven? [Mark 12:18-23]. Why, in the resurrection, how is it going to be up there in heaven?
And the Lord replied, when we are raised from the dead, they will not procreate in heaven. There will be no children born in heaven. It is just here that children are born. Then He adds, "As touching the dead, that they rise" – that there is a resurrection of the dead – "have you never read in the Book of Moses how the Lord God said, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: therefore ye do greatly err" [Mark 12:24-27].
Isn’t that a remarkable thing? The Lord so believed and accepted the testimony of Scripture as being infallible and inerrant that He bases the whole doctrine of the resurrection of the dead upon the tense of a verb. "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," and He is not the God of the dead, but of the living" [Mark 12:26-27]. "And I find no fault in Him at all" [John 18:38].
And their last confrontation came from a lawyer who stood up and said, "Master, which is the first commandment of all?" [Mark 12:28]. And the Lord immediately replies, and He quotes the Shema in the sixth chapter of the Book of Deuteronomy, beginning at the [fourth] verse:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord, one God; and you are to love Him.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all your heart and mind and soul . . .
[Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Mark 12:29-30]
That is the first and the greatest commandment. "And the second is like unto it," and He quotes Leviticus 19:18: "Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself" [Mark 12:31],
"And I find no fault in Him at all" [John 18:38].
They finally arrested Him and took Him before Pontius Pilate. And the whole multitude of them arose and led Him unto Pilate who was the Roman procurator of the province of Judea [Luke 23:1]. And they accused Him saying, "We found this fellow perverting the nation" – that’s the first – "and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar," that’s the second accusation, and the third, "Saying that He Himself is Christ the King" [Luke 23:2], a seditionist in rebellion against Caesar.
Pilate said to Jesus, "Are You a King?" And He said, "Thou sayest it, yes" [Luke 23:3]. Then Pilate said to the chief priest and to the people, "I find no fault in this Man" [Luke 23:4]. And Pilate, when he had called together the priests and the rulers, said unto them, "You have brought this Man unto me as one that perverteth the people: I have examined Him before you. You have accused Him of these things. But I find no fault in this Man touching those things whereof you accuse Him" [Luke 23:13-14].
Those three things: "this fellow" – houtos, again in contempt and ridicule – "this fellow perverts the nation," just teaching the way of life, "forbidding tribute to Caesar." He said just the opposite in saying that He Himself is Christ, a King [Luke 23:2]. "And I find no fault in Him at all" [Luke 23:14].
And last, "And they took Him to a place called Golgotha . . ." in the Latin, "Calvary"; in translation of English, "the Place of a Skull," the Hill of a Skull [Matthew 27:33]. And they set up over His head His accusation written, "THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS" [Matthew 27:37]. And there were two thieves, one on either side, crucified with Him [Matthew 27:38]. And they passed by and reviled Him, wagging their head, saying, "If Thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross" [Matthew 27:39-40].
It will not be a superhuman man, tearing Himself from the wood that descends from the cross, but it will be a limp, dead, corpse, laid in a tomb [Matthew 27:59-60], who on the third day will rise triumphant over death, sin, and the grave [Matthew 28:1-6]. "And I find no fault in Him at all" [John 18:38].
Likewise also the chief priests, mocking Him, with the scribes and elders, said, "He saved others; Himself He cannot save" [Matthew 27:42]. If we are to be saved, He had to give Himself as an expiation, and a sacrifice, and an atonement for our sins [Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6; Hebrews 9:14]. "He saved others; but Himself He could not save" [Matthew 27:42]. "And I find no fault in Him" [John 18:38].
And they said, "He trusted in God: let Him deliver Him, if He will have Him: for He said, I am the Son of God" [Matthew 27:43]. He trusted in God. He did it, giving Himself to death, to burial, believing that God would raise Him from the dead [Acts 2:24-28]. "And I find no fault in Him at all" [John 18:38]
There are unusual things that can happen to a young fellow when he just begins his pastoral work. And one of those unusual things overwhelmed me. It was my first church out of the seminary, in a little county seat town of about fifteen thousand people. All the farmers came to the town every Saturday. So I got my Bible, and I stood on the curb of the courthouse square. And I preached every Saturday to that great throng of farmers and people who had come to town – the county seat town – selling their wares, selling produce, bringing their cattle, and grain, and corn, and all to the little county-seat town.
God so blessed my preaching on the street, standing on the curb, that I announced that I would begin preaching Saturday night. And because the sun was hot in that Oklahoma town, why, they built on the courthouse square a little pavilion for me, to shade me from the sun.
So in the afternoon I would preach on the courthouse lawn to all those people that came into the city, the little town. And then at night, why, I would preach; and again there would be a great throng there, just covering the courthouse square. And I would preach every Saturday night.
The people that I preached to for the most part did not go to church. After the passing of say two years or something like that, I knew pretty well the people who came and listened to me there on the courthouse lawn. And one night I said to them, "Why is it that you don’t go to church? Why is it that you have separated yourself from the people of God and from the house of the Lord? Why? Can you give a reason why?"
And then, out of the – just on the spur of the moment, I said, "If any one of you can come up here and stand back of this microphone and can tell us why you don’t go to church and why you have separated yourself from God’s house, you are welcome to do so. You come and tell us why."
I had a response beyond anything I ever thought for or dreamed of. Mostly, I did that rhetorically, not expecting anybody to respond. "Why don’t you go to church? Why are you not in church? Why did you keep yourself from God’s house and from God’s people?"
It was just the opposite. In that great throng of people, there were preachers, there were deacons, there were Sunday school teachers. There were all kinds of people. And they came up one by one, and they told the throng that was there why they didn’t go to church. And it nearly killed me. I sat there and listened to one vitriolic diatribe after another.
There would be a preacher come up, and he’d tell a bitter experience with a fellowship of deacons and with the church, and why he left the ministry, and why he’d quit the church. Then there would be a deacon that had come up there, and he’d tell why he wasn’t any longer associated with those men and why he didn’t go to church, and a Sunday school teacher, and church members, just pouring out, like a great floodtide of bitterness, hatred, why they didn’t go to church, and the experiences that separated them from the Lord’s people and the Lord’s house.
When the thing was over, I went home and buried my face in my hands, and said, "Lord, Lord, how could I ever make a mistake like that? One of the most discouraging of all of the experiences I ever have had in my life – how, Lord, could I make a mistake like that, and let the whole night – it went on for a long time – of bitterness and hatred against the Lord’s people and the Lord’s house?"
I have thought of that for the years since. That’s been at least forty years ago. I have thought of that a thousand times, the experience of that night and how I felt as those people stood there – preachers, deacons, Sunday school teachers, former church members; why they hated the church, and hated the Lord’s people, and why they separated themselves from the house of God.
But as the years passed and I turned that over in my mind, recognizing the tremendous mistake that I made, it came to my heart: they found fault with the preacher, bitterly so; they found fault with the deacon, tragically so; they found fault with the congregation, sadly so; they found fault with the people of the Lord, irreparably so. But as I began to turn all of the things that were said that night over in my mind, there was not one, not one, who stood up and found any fault in our Lord; none. Many words against the church, none against Him; many words against the preachers, none against Him; many words against the deacons, none against Him. "For I find in Him no fault at all" [John 18:38].
And this is our precious and blessed experience today. In how many ways does the church fall short, being made up of human members. And in how many ways do the members of the church fall short, being weak and vulnerable in life, in testimony, in witness, in experience. But in Him, we find no fault at all.
He is our Lord. He is our Savior. He has taught us the way of life. He is the truth. He is our entrance into heaven [John 14:6]. He is our all-in-all, our hope now and our assurance of the life that is yet to come. "And I find no fault in Him at all" [John 18:38].
In a moment, quietly, with no one moving, quietly, we’re going to stand. And we’re going to sing a hymn of appeal. And this beautiful Sabbath day morning to give your heart to the Lord Jesus, to put your life with us in the church – foible, and feeble, and weak, and human as we are, yet Christ loves us and gave Himself for us [Galatians 2:20] – to give your life to the Lord, to serve and praise in His name with us, to answer any call of God in your heart, "I want to be baptized, and I am coming, pastor." "I’m going to bring my whole family. We’re all going to join the church, today," or just one somebody you. Out of that balcony round, down one of these stairways, in the press on this lower floor, down one of these aisles, "Pastor, I have made that decision in my heart, and today I’m on the way." God bless you, while we stand and while we sing.
I FIND IN
HIIM NO FAULT AT ALL
I. First show of hostility – Sabbath
controversy (Matthew 12:9-14)
A. Framing of question
shows Pharisees expected the Lord to heal him
Mere sight of suffering called forth His sympathy (Matthew
9:36, John 11:35)
II. Eating with sinners (Luke 15:1-2)
A. Sinners drawn to Him
– He never pulled away
1. Sinful woman
washing His feet (Luke 7:36-50)
III. Money-changers driven out (Mark 11:15-18a)
A. Sold sacrifices at
B. Changed money at a
IV. Last public confrontation – challenging
His authority (Mark 12:13-31, John 14:6)
A. Giving tribute to
Caesar (Mark 12:13-17)
B. Concerning the
resurrection (Mark 12:18-27)
C. The greatest
commandment (Mark 12:28-31, Deuteronomy 6:5,
V. Accused before Pilate – who finds no
fault (Luke 23:1-2, 13-14)
A. Perverting the nation
B. Forbidding to give
tribute to Caesar
C. Saying He is a King (John 18:36)
V. Executed as a criminal (Matthew 27:27-44)
A. Those passing by
reviled Him (Matthew 27:40)
B. Chief priests,
scribes, elders mocked Him (Matthew 27:41-43)
VI. The fault, failure in us; not in Him (2 Corinthians 4:5-6, Hebrews 7:25)