The Condemnation of the World

A Holy Supper Address by James P. Cooper

            And they all condemned Him to be guilty of death (MAR 14:64).

  1. We are doing two things this evening:
  2. Reenacting the Last Supper in memory of the Lord’s final gesture of hope and promise of heaven to the disciples,
  3. and remembering that night which was the culmination of all the hatred and anger towards Jesus by those who feared the new truths He taught, and could think of no other way to deal with them than to condemn Him to death.
  4. Condemnation is a recurring theme in the Word. The condemnation of evil and the evildoer, for example:
  5. Adam and Eve forced to leave the garden of Eden to toil in the world because they ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
  6. When the children of Israel were attacking Jericho, they were carefully warned that all the treasure found was for the Lord; but Achan was overcome with temptation and kept a garment and a wedge of gold hidden under his tent. This caused Joshua to fail when attacking Ai, and when the sin was discovered, Achan, his whole family, and all his possessions were destroyed.
  7. The books of the prophets are an almost continuous list of the sins of Israel, and dire warnings of what will happen to them as individuals and as a nation if they do not repent.

III. But in spite of the warnings, the children of Israel did not repent. They continued in their idolatrous behavior; they drew farther and farther from the Ten Commandments and the Mosaic law by interpreting, modifying, until there was nothing left.

  1. You have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.  And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ (MAT 15:6-9)
  2. The extent to which those people preferred the doctrines of men to the doctrines of the Word was represented by what they did to the Lord, who came to them as the Divine Truth.
  3. And it was because of their hatred of the Word, and the life of charity that it leads to, that they were condemned.

IV.But what, exactly was condemned?

  1. Note that the phrase “Condemnation of the world” is somewhat ambiguous. It can mean both God’s condemnation of us for our sinful ways; or it can refer to the way the world turned away from Him , or condemned Him that resulted in the crucifixion. Both meanings are correct in their proper context.
  2. Here, however, we are speaking of God’s condemnation of the world because of the evil states of humanity: For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (JOH 3:17)
  3. Clearly, from the context, we can see that He was not speaking of the physical world, of the earth, but of mankind.
  4. He came to save all people; He came to fight against and destroy not the Romans, but evil itself, present in the world.
  5. The Lord’s highest love, the love that motivated Him to take on the Human form and come to earth in the first place, was His Divine Love for the salvation of human souls.
  6. If we in the church look to the Lord for our example, then, we can see that it is the responsibility of the church to condemn evil in all its forms in the abstract.
  7. To teach what evil is, and how to discover it in one’s self; to teach the means of asking for the Lord’s help in removing it; to teach the fear of hell as a mediate good.
  8. It is also the responsibility of the church to reach out with forgiveness to those who have discovered the evil in their own lives and who wish to flee from it.
  9. To listen with compassion and understanding; to assist without justifying; to give the promise of heaven and hope of eternal life as encouragement.
  10. The Lord came to earth not only in order to draw near unto hell so as to fight it, but also so He could draw nearer to us, so that He could know us, so that we could have confidence that He would know our own suffering, our own striving.
  11. The Lord introduced the Holy Supper to His disciples so that they, and we, could use it to draw nearer to the Lord; so that we could communicate with Him our desire to condemn the evil that we find in ourselves, and with His help, be saved.
  12. In closing, let us remember what happened when the Lord came upon the crowd that was about to stone the woman who was caught in adultery.
  13. By His question, “Who among you is without sin,” the Lord showed His compassion and understanding for our fallen state; but at the same time, He condemned the evil of adultery by admonishing her to “go, and sin no more.”
  14. Let us, therefore, resolve to condemn evil and falsity wherever we see it, either in ourselves or others; but at the same time let us also resolve to show compassion and forgiveness to those who are suffering in sin, let us carefully distinguish between the sinner and the sin.
  15. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (JOH 8:10-11)


Hear now from the Word of the Lord as it is written.…

1st Lesson:  Luke 22:39-71; 23

The prayer in the Garden

Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. {40} When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” {41} And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, {42} saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” {43} Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. {44} And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. {45} When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. {46} Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”

Betrayal and Arrest in Gethsemane

{47} And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him. {48} But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” {49} When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” {50} And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear. {51} But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him. {52} Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? {53} “When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”

Peter denies Jesus, and weeps bitterly

{54} Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance. {55} Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. {56} And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.” {57} But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.” {58} And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” {59} Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” {60} But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. {61} And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” {62} So Peter went out and wept bitterly.

Jesus mocked and beaten

{63} Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. {64} And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, “Prophesy !Who is the one who struck You?” {65} And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him.

Jesus faces the Sanhedrin

{66} As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying, {67} “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will by no means believe. {68} “And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go. {69} “Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.” {70} Then they all said, “Are You then the Son of God?” So He said to them, “You rightly say that I am.” {71} And they said, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”

Jesus handed over to Pontius Pilate

(Luke 23) Then the whole multitude of them arose and led Him to Pilate. {2} And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.” {3} Then Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” He answered him and said, “It is as you say.” {4} So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no fault in this Man.” {5} But they were the more fierce, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.”

Jesus faces Herod

{6} When Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked if the Man were a Galilean. {7} And as soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. {8} Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. {9} Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. {10} And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. {11} Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate. {12} That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other.

Taking the place of Barabbas

{13} Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, {14} said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; {15} “no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. {16} “I will therefore chastise Him and release Him” {17} (for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast). {18} And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas”; {19} who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder. {20} Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them. {21} But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” {22} Then he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.” {23} But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed. {24} So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested. {25} And he released to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

The King on a cross

{26} Now as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the cross that he might bear it after Jesus. {27} And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. {28} But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. {29} “For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ {30} “Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’ {31} “For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?” {32} There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. {33} And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left. {34} Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots. {35} And the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered, saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the chosen of God.” {36} The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, {37} and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.” {38} And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS. {39} Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” {40} But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? {41} “And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” {42} Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” {43} And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Jesus dies on the cross

{44} Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. {45} Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. {46} And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ “ Having said this, He breathed His last. {47} So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!” {48} And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned. {49} But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.

Jesus buried in Joseph’s tomb

{50} Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. {51} He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting for the kingdom of God. {52} This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. {53} Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. {54} That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. {55} And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. {56} Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. Amen.

2nd Lesson:

DP 114. In all Christian Churches this tenet of doctrine has been accepted, that before a man approaches the Holy Communion he shall examine himself, see and acknowledge his sins, and do the work of repentance by desisting from them and rejecting them because they are from the devil; and that otherwise his sins are not forgiven, and he is condemned. Although the members of the English Church hold the doctrine of faith alone, yet in the exhortation to the Holy Communion they openly teach self examination, the acknowledgment and confession of sins, repentance and newness of life, threatening those who do not comply in words which declare that “otherwise the devil will enter into them as he did into Judas, and fill them with all iniquity and destroy both body and soul” .

The Germans, the Swedes and the Danes, who also hold the doctrine of faith alone, teach the same in the exhortation to the Holy Communion, also threatening that otherwise they will render themselves subject to eternal condemnation for mingling the holy and the profane. This is read out by the priest in a loud voice before those who are about to observe the Holy Supper, and is listened to by them with full acknowledgment that it is so.

Nevertheless, when these same persons the same day listen to preaching concerning faith alone to the effect that the Law does not condemn them because the Lord has fulfilled it for them, and that of themselves they cannot do any good except what is merit-seeking and thus that works have nothing of salvation in them, but faith only, they return home entirely forgetful of their former confession and rejecting it in proportion as they think from the preaching concerning faith alone.

Now which doctrine is true, the first or the second? – for two things contrary to each other cannot both be true, the first stating that without self-examination, recognition, acknowledgment, confession and rejection of sins, thus without repentance, there is no forgiveness of them, thus no salvation, but eternal condemnation; the second stating that such things contribute nothing to salvation because the Lord made full satisfaction for all the sins of men by the passion of the cross, for those who have faith, and that those who have faith only, being fully confident that this is true, and trusting in the imputation of the Lord’s merit, are without sins, and appear before God like those with faces washed and shining brightly.

It is clear from this that it is the common religious belief of all the Churches in the Christian world that man should examine himself, should see and acknowledge his sins and then desist from them; and that otherwise there is no salvation but condemnation.

Consider this with some degree of understanding; and if you have any religious principles you will see that repentance from sins is the way to heaven, that faith separate from repentance is not faith, and that those who are not in faith because they are not repentant are on the way to hell. Amen.

Here end the lessons. Blessed are they who hear the Word of God and keep it. Amen.

Copyright General Church of the New Jerusalem
Author Rev. James P. Cooper, M. Div.
Page updated October 21, 2008

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