Worship Time
10:00 AM
1 Church Street
East Harwich, MA 02645
Tel: 508-432-3734

The Verdict Is In
Acts 10:34-43, John 20:1-18
17 April 2022
The Rev Dr Dianne ES Carpenter


The Verdict Is In
Will the accused please rise
[trumpeter]  Up from the grave He arose]
Have You come to a verdict?
Yes- liturgist
Choir- Innocent


In the case of the world vs. Jesus of Nazareth the first charge

Is he guilty of being a pretender to the throne of heaven?


The second count: is He guilty of treason against the emperor of Rome?


The third charge: is He guilty of misrepresenting God’s intentions to save humanity from eternal death through the substitutionary death of God’s only begotten son?


Jesus was on trial from the beginning of the world.  Every time humanity tried God’s patience God’s choices became more and more limited: send prophets send plagues send God’s only begotten son…

The trial that began Thursday evening with the arrest and detainment of a Galilean rabbi was one of the greatest farces of history-


There was no due process-he shuffled around from magistrate to magistrate

There was no jury of his peers for God is peerless…

Now, as a rule, I believe in the principle of Subsidiarity…  Decisions should be made at the grassroots level or at the lowest point in a hierarchical structure-close to the place where the effects will be manifest…

But judgments-judgments are under review to the highest level.  Jesus one before the religious authorities, the Pharisees, and the Sanhedrin.

The witnesses were intimidated, the judgment rigged, the institutional religion protected itself…

Jesus was taken before Herod- the puppet king of Israel- he was humiliated and sent on to the representative of Rome –Pontius pilate.  Pilate did entreat him to plead his case-but the trial itself was the point…

This is a conscientious objection at its best.  Jesus allowed the system to play itself out.  Instead of ‘filling the jails’ Jesus took his place on the cross so that public opinion itself might cry out against the principalities and powers of the world.

Jesus had given his ministry to the grassroots for decisions and for judgment he had taken to eternal life- angel wings


II Who is on trial?

Humanity was found guilty of straying so far from God that only God could pay the price…

The crime: wanting a king of the Jews so they could be right without changing- because might is right-guilty


The crime: hiding behind the protection of God without being willing to fight the battles of universal moral integrity and the personal battles of breaches of faith-guilty

Crimes: the lack of universal love and respect for the created quality and dignity of life-guilty

Mental insanity must be our plea-to denied this tenet denies the validity of our own created worth


The evidence of Jesus’ lordship had been abundant…  But one significant fact had been misread-Perry Mason would never let this happen

The fact that Jesus died on a cross was misread to mean he was a fraud-guilty

The truth was just the opposite.  Only the Lord would die to liberate humanity


He tried to tell them.  There is no greater love…  We cannot fathom the motives of God in the death of Jesus…  Unless we cling to the truth of God’s great love for us


This morning we hear the evidence that even the most faithful, the woman at the tomb and the leading disciples, cannot piece together the evidence of Christ alive and well in the world-they must be led to it.  God allowed his counsel, the Holy Spirit, finally present and true, to lead these witnesses.


God the judge presided at the appeal of Jesus Christ the Lord and overturned the earlier ruling by lower authorities.

The writings concerning Peter and Paul testifying to the world as faithful witnesses-retelling the story at the retrial-The untelevised highly secured [a sealed tomb] retrial!


Peter and Paul vowed never to be intimidated again!!!


III When Jesus asked his disciples whether they were able to endure the cross and live the resurrection the foolish dreamers answered…  To the death, we’ll follow thee…

How long and how many times must Jesus go on trial in the courts of humanity????

How many of you today are able to say: I walk today where Jesus walked?  Some of you are walking through the valley of death-the death of a friend from illness, from human carelessness perhaps on the job, from the demands of our culture where stress and heart attacks plague many, from the death of a child or spouse…..

How many viewed today are walking through the doubts and the fears of discovering the human potential that was taken from you by abuse and manipulation in your youth?

Do you want to sit in Sheol?  Your choice, pray for help


How many of us today suffer from the inability to be God even though people come before us for judgment:

-we are parents interacting with our youth. 

We are leaders voting in our community. 

We are property owners weighing the claims of society through taxation and eminent domain to redistribute the wealth of the world in such a way that we preserve the integrity of life. 

Shall we have armies, shall we have world courts, shall we have import taxes, shall we have school taxes, shall we provide a safety net, shall we build new jails, shall we have capital punishment….


We are neighbors to people who must ask themselves:

Who is my neighbor?

The Verdict Is In

Will the accused please rise

[trumpeter]  Up from the grave He arose

Have You come to a verdict?

Yes- liturgist

Choir-Jesus was Innocent!


Jesus is Lord!

Christ Is Risen

He Is risen Indeed


I am guilty unless I testify to the love of Christ in my life

I will be his witness!


Then just as Jesus turned to the dying thief and said

Today you’ll be with me in Paradise


John 20:1-18

20Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So 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.” 3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10Then the disciples returned to their homes.

11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They 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.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” 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.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because 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.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told the that he had said these things to her.

Acts 10:34-43

34Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, 35but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

1 Church St, Harwich, MA 02645
508 432-3734