THROUGH THE BIBLE IN THREE YEARS

This program of daily Scripture studies is designed to help you in daily honoring God with adoration.

Each day, Monday through Friday, a Scripture with commentary is posted.

We have a great friend in Gary Godard. He has set up an archive page. To view ALL the prior Scripture studies by book and chapter, just clik


HERE.

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TODAY'S SCRIPTURE STUDY

MATTHEW

CHAPTER 26

1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, 2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

After Jesus had finished His teachings of Matthew 24-25, He made the statement in verse 2 above to His disciples.

It was a "matter of fact" statement containing two facts. One of those facts was well-known by all Jews. The second fact was known only by those to whom Jesus was explicitly teaching.

It is important, here, to understand the connection between two special facts. The first fact is "after two days is the feast of the passover..." The second fact is "..the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified."

Let us consider the first fact.
Jesus made His Triumphant Entry into Jerusalem (See Matthew 21:1-9) on Monday (See John 12:1-15). Verse 1 of John 12 tells us Jesus came to Bethany "six days before the Passover.." Then verse 12 of that same text tells us that "the next day" Jesus entered Jerusalem in the famous procession as people laid palm branches before Him.

After He had entered Jerusalem, on Monday, Jesus went and cleansed the temple (See Matthew 21:12).

Then, Jesus went back to Bethany Monday evening (See Matthew 21:17).

Then, Jesus returned to Jerusalem the next day: Tuesday (See Matthew 21:18).

Then, Jesus left the temple Tuesday (See Matthew 24:1).

Then, Jesus taught His disciples the things in Matthew 24 and Matthew 25.

After this, we are told that He stated to His disciples, "Ye know that after TWO days is the Passover..." (See above or Matthew 26:1). Considering that Jesus taught Matthew 24&25 on Tuesday evening, His statement "after TWO days" would mean after Wednesday and Thursday.

Before each Sabbath, there was a preparation that began at three o'clock (the ninth hour) in the afternoon preceeding the sabbath. That would mean that the preparation time for that particular Sabbath would begin at 3PM on Friday.

Let us consider the second fact.
AFTER two days (leading to Friday), "..the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified."

Jesus was telling them that He would die on Friday! Later, we will see that the time in which Jesus died was the exact same time that the "preparation" began. It was also the same time that the High Priest offered a sacrificial lamb for the people!

There is NOTHING that Jesus didn't know about His life on earth. He knew the day and time of His crucifiction. After all, HE'S the One Who set up the sacrificial system of offerings that the Jewish people used. He KNEW that, though no active plans had been made to kill Him yet, they soon WOULD BE made!

This is why we know that LOVE is MORE than feelings and emotions! It is COMMITMENT! Even though Jesus KNEW what was going to happen, He was COMMITTED to continuing. He had inspired people with His perfect life. He had educated His disciples. He had convinced them with His miracles. Now, He was CONTINUING with the plan God had before the world began - to REDEEM MEN WITH HIS BLOOD!

This is why love of God is more than emotions and feelings! Yes, we love Him because "he first loved us." (1John 4:19) We have deep emotional feelings when we consider the cross of Calvary. But loving God is MORE than emotion and feelings! It is being COMMITTED to CONTINUING to show our affection for Him. Jesus exemplified His commitment to us by coming to earth and actually dying on the cross in our place!

Are we willing to DIE for His glory? That puts a lot more perspective upon what Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-25, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."

In order to live in love for Christ, we must be willing to DIE to selfish desires and live for His glory!

3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him. 5 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar among the people.

There were actually two councils that ruled the Jewish people, other than the Roman government. These two councils were self-ruling authorities which governed the actions of the Jewish people in civil matters, and matters of their religion. Of those two councils, the largest was composed of 71 members. The second council was made up of 23 members. These two councils made up what was called the Sanhedrin.

At the time (30AD) the Sanhedrin had an elevated independence. It ruled over the Jewish people civilly and criminally. This body could order arrests and take people into custody by use of the "temple guards." They were allowed authority to judge in all matters that did NOT include capital punishment.

The Scripture above shows us that this body met, on this occasion, to consider one very special proposal: how and when to KILL Jesus!

It had to be a cunning plan, or else the "people" would not go along with it.
It had to be "NOT" on the "feast day," for this would cause an uprisal of the people.
In other words it had to be done quickly, for it could not wait until Saturday.

As Jesus was teaching His disciples, the leaders of the Jewish religion were ALREADY planning to murder Him!

6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 7 There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. 8 But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? 9 For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. 10 When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. 11 For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. 12 For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. 13 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

Now, later, when one reads John, Chapter 12, there is a similar instance described. I'm inclined to believe that the two are separate incidences. The FIRST being the one described in the Gospel of John, and occurs at the home of either Martha or Lazarus (See John 12:1). That incident occured Monday evening. It is highly unlikely that Matthew and Mark, in their relation of the story, would have omitted Mary's name if indeed this incident were the same as the one described in John's gospel. The SECOND is the incident described in our present text, and took place at the home of "Simon the leper" on Wednesday evening.

But in BOTH of these presentations the contextual theme remain the same! It is in the midst of the most difficult time of Christ. He is faced with the knowledge of people plotting and planning to KILL Him, but He ACTS in compassion!

Perhaps, what Jesus had said in verse 2 above, prompted the action of this woman. She might have realized that there would be no future opportunity for her to show this honor. This being the case, Jesus' statement in verses 10-13 above take on MORE meaning. The disciples had not conferred upon Him any special honor. Did they not understand and comprehend His statement in verse 2 above with the same depth as the woman? Did they not realize this may be the last time they could show their devotion to the Man, Christ Jesus?

How many opportunities do we MISS in which we could show our love for Christ?
Have we taken Jesus' promise of soon returning seriously?
If so, how many people are we telling with sincerity?

It seems that the disciples (probably instigated by Judas) were more concerned with the waste of money than with the seriousness of the situation!
Is it not true in our own era? Are we genuinely concerned with the gravity of the situation if Jesus were to return TODAY? Are we warning everyone we know?

Jesus said this woman had done a "good work!" She had conferred honor upon her Lord!

Yes, we should be concerned for the poor! And our giving for their aid should not be lessened. But our HONOR for our Lord should be MORE pressing!

Note that Jesus said, "..wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her."
This story should be an inspiration to us all! It should inspire us to TELL of Christ, and give HONOR to His Name at ALL times and to EVERYONE we know!

14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

Here is yet another reason that the "anointing" of Jesus described in Matthew and John are separate incidences. It is NOT said in John 12 that Judas "went unto the chief priests." Yet here, it IS said. Probably, the TWO incidences together, were what ultimately led Judas to betray Christ to the chief priests.

Now why should Judas take "thirty pieces of silver" for the betrayal of Christ? Because it was PROPHESIED! Zechariah had prophesied of this happening (See Zechariah 11:10-13). The original covenant God made with Israel (including the sacrificial system) was broken when Jesus was crucified! He was sold for the price of a SLAVE (See Exodus 21:32). A NEW COVENANT was formed in Christ's blood! He was the LAST SACRIFICE, and the ONE sacrifice toward which all others had been leading.

And with the "price," a "potters field" was purchased! (See Matthew 27:5-8).

From the statement in verse 16, we can see that Judas' focus totally changed! No longer was he concerned with the direction of Christ; he was now more concerned with the delivery of Christ!

Let me explain the difference between direction and delivery. Direction means that we are under the control of someone by seeking their guidance in every thing that we do. Delivery means we are trying to produce the person in the manner in which WE perceive them!

Judas believed that Jesus was the "Christ" (Messiah)! Else, he would not have followed Him and taken His direction and guidance for 3 and 1/2 years! But Judas had a "dream" of what Christ should BE! He wanted Christ to be the Person of God on a great white horse, coming and taking over the world, then giving it over to the Jews to rule. That was his perception of WHO Christ should be. And THAT was what he determined to promote!

Christ IS the One Who shall rule the world. But that is not ALL that Christ is! Yes, He is "..Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." And "..the government shall be upon his shoulder" (Isa 9:6). But Christ is ALSO: SAVIOR! And to be Savior, He must REDEEM the people by making Holy ATONEMENT for their sins. His blood indeed is the "..blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." (Matt 26:28).

Judas failed to see the importance of Who Christ came to be at that particular time.
And many fail to see the importance of Who Christ shall come to be!

Many today focus upon the healing of Christ.
Many today focus upon the Spirit giving of Christ.
Many today foucus upon the loving Savior of Christ.
But let us focus upon the ALL of Christ!! For "ALL authority in heaven and earth" (Matthew 28:18) is given unto HIM!

Yes, He is Savior and loves people enough to die and pay the righteous ransom for their slavery to sin. Yes, He is the One with "healing in His wings," (Malachi 4:2). Yes, He is the Giver of the "Spirit of life" (Romans 8:2) and endows us with freedom from the condemnation of the law.

But Christ is also LORD, God and Eternal Judge! Jesus will not tie, gag and drag anyone to heaven! He IS LORD! Those who do not willingly follow Him will be eternally separated from Him! We must come to Him with love that goes beyond belief, understanding and emotions. It must be love exhibited with commitment! And that commitment must be to ALL of Who Christ is!

How many today accept Jesus as Savior, but not LORD over their lives?
How many today accept Jesus as Healer, but not COMMANDER of who they are?
How many today accept Jesus as Spirit Giver, but not Eternal Judge?

Do we not betray Him if we promote Him only as healer?
Do we not betray Him if we promote Him only as Spirit Giver?
Do we not betray Him if we promote Him as Savior and fail to yield to His LORDship?!

Let us not seek to define Christ according to our own personal interpretation of Scripture which is obviously slanted by our predispositions. Let us seek to allow Him to define Himself by His Word. When we surrender to the ALL of Christ, then that will determine how we shall act in this life.

Let us not deliver Christ.
Instead let us seek His direction!
Let us not betray Him!
Instead let us obey Him!

17 Now the first day of the feast of unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover? 18 And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples. 19 And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.

Now this would be Thursday of the week in which Jesus made the "Trimphant Entry" into Jerusalem. The reason I say that is that the 14th of Nissan happened on Friday. But the Jewish preparation for that day began at 6PM the evening before. The 14th of Nissan, being Passover, was also a SABBATH. In order not to break that Sabbath (holy day), Jewish people began preparation for it the evening before the date. (See Exodus 12:6).

For instance, Luke says, in Chapter 22:7, "Then came the days of unleavened bread, when Passover must be killed." That refers to the fact that the Jewish people observed the beginning of the "feast of unleavened bread" on the evening of the 14th of Nissan, when the Paschal Lamb was killed.

MONDAY - Jesus entered Jerusalem, cleansed the temple, complying with Exodus 12:3.
TUESDAY - entered Jerusalem again, that evening taught Matt. 24&25.
WEDNESDAY - stated that "after two days is the Passover..."
THURSDAY - disciples went to prepare Passover Supper.
THURSDAY EVENING - Jesus ate His "last supper" with the disciples...but NOT the Passover Supper!

Now, some are going to disagree with the timing presented here. That's ok. Every student of the Bible, believing in Christ and under the guidance of His Holy Spirit, is entitled to his/her own understanding.

Another point to consider is that Luke says Jesus told Peter & John to go and prepare the Passover supper (See Luke 22:7-12). Then they asked Jesus where the Passover supper should be PREPARED...NOT where it should be EATEN! Matthew says (Matthew 26:20) that Jesus came to that place where they had prepared and ate supper with them. It is NOT said this was the Passover supper. Jesus was always in PERFECT obedience to the Scriptures, else He would not have been an appropriately holy sacrifice for our sins. Therefore, He did NOT eat the Passover supper early, He did not eat it AT ALL! He simply ate His "last supper" with the disciples on Thursday evening - BEFORE the 14th of Nissan. In all of the 4 gospels it is never said that Jesus ate the Passover supper. The Scripture simply states that He ate SUPPER. ((Matthew 26:18-21, Mark 14:12-18, LUke 22:7-14, John 13:1-4)

The disciples "made ready" that supper, but Jesus never had the opportunity to eat the Paschal lamb that year: He WAS the Paschal Lamb that year!!

20 Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. 21 And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. 22 And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? 23 And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. 24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. 25 Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

When Jesus revealed that one of the 12 would betray Him, the Scripture says, "THEY were exceeding sorrowful...." Was Judas sorrowful too? How could he not be? He KNEW he was the one of whom Christ spoke, for he had ALREADY prepared to betray Him (see vss 14-16 above).

They ALL wanted to know if the betrayer was themselves. Judas also asked. Jesus answered, "Thou hast said," which was a common term for saying, "Yes, it is true."

Matthew goes on with his presentation of the events without including the fact that Judas left after that statement. John makes it more clear in John 13:22-30. Judas left, and John concluded in John 13:20, "it was NIGHT!" It was already dark outside. Any time that Christ is betrayed by slothful or purposeful actions, it is a dark time indeed!

Now, let us consider Jesus' statement, "woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born."

Does God not have foreknowledge of ALL things? Did He not create Judas? Is then, Judas responsible for his sin? YES! YES! and YES! Though God KNEW this would be Judas' act, and though God created him anyway, it was Judas himself who determined to betray Christ!

He would suffer "WOE!" -- Misery! It was not his birth by God that brought the misery; it was his own self-willed decision.

Do we not ALL feel the "misery" or "woe" of God's conviction if/when we betray Christ? I remember an instance in my own life. I was traveling, and was later than I wanted to be getting to what I thought at the time was an important convention meeting. I had stopped to eat and was hurring through the meal, when an inebriated man approached my table asking for a handout. Simply, and hurriedly, I answered, "I'm not interested." Then got up to go and pay for the meal. After paying for the meal, something caused my heart to feel "misery" - "woe!" I was exasperated at myself for not taking time to share with the man. I had to admit my own prejudice against drunken people to the Lord, and ask forgiveness. Then I immediately went to find the man. I gave him some money for a meal, and asked if I could share something with him. He was, like me, not interested. I probably will never know if the witnessing event helped to later lead him to knowledge of Christ as Lord and Savior. But I do know one thing: I felt "misery" when I didn't do what I SHOULD HAVE done! There's no doubt that God's Holy Spirit was working on my heart with CONVICTION!

26 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. 29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. 30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

Throughout the centuries since Christ's crucifiction, this has come to be known as "The Lord's Supper." It was His last meal with the disciples. And Jesus used it to protray what would be happening the next day. He would become "the Bread of life." He would become the "blood sacrifice" in which a NEW TESTAMENT (or COVENANT) would be formed by God with men.

The bread symbolized Christ's body which was ripped and torn by malicious beatings. If His body were not maliciously treated, He would not have fulfilled the Scriptures. (See for instance Psalm 22, Isaiah 53:5).

His "body" was offered from God to God on behalf of sinners. His was substitionary atonement. He vicariously took the punishment we deserved in order that HE might be the One Who can forgive sin and offer us salvation.

The wine represented Jesus' blood. That blood is the PRICE for sin. The "blood" is life. And life is required of man for sin (See Genesis 9:4-5). The book of Hebrews says, "..almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission." (Heb 9:22) And Hebrews also says, "...by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." (Heb 9:12)

Jesus' blood was innocent blood because He had no sin. Through His vicarious offering of Himself, God made Him "...to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." (2 Cor 5:21)

Payment was required for all sin. Jesus MADE that payment! When we come to God, surrendering to Christ as our Lord and Savior, God applies that blood to our lives!

This is God's NEW TESTAMENT (COVENANT) with mankind: that "Whosoever" comes to Christ in surrender, shall be "free from the law of sin and death" and shall be given in its place "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:2)

Jesus said, "I will not drink henceforth..,until the day when I drink it new with you in my Father's Kingdom." He would no longer have opportunity to have fellowship supper with them on this earth. Before another meal time, He would be arrested, beaten and tried (at night), and carried to Calvary's cross. But there WILL BE another time!! A time of NEWNESS! When we meet with Christ in the NEW Heaven, the NEW Earth, and shall enjoy sweet personal fellowship with Him.

Then they sang a "hymn" and went out. This brings to my mind Psalm 114:1-8. In the NEW heaven, we shall be His "sanctuary" and we shall eternally submit to His "dominion." The reason is because the "Rock" of God (Jesus) has been turned into "living waters" and has given us LIFE! That life is in Him, of Him, and for His glory!

31 Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. 32 But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee. 33 Peter answered and said unto him, Though all men shall be offended because of thee, yet will I never be offended. 34 Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this night, before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. 35 Peter said unto him, Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. Likewise also said all the disciples.

Jesus quotes Zechariah 13:7, "smite the shepherd..." When He is arrested, the "sheep of the flock" (disciples) will be scattered. They will flee for their lives! They have heard Jesus telling of His crucifiction and death, but they have not yet come to terms with that fact. And when it happens, it shall be such a shock that even these closest of disciples will FLEE!!

Before we look at Jesus' short discussion with Peter, let us look closely at verse 32. Jesus plainly told them that He would RISE AGAIN from the grave! Also He told them He would "go before" them into Galilee. Later, this will be shown as Jesus, post-resurrection, meets them in a familiar place in Galilee.

Peter avows that he will NOT run away! But Jesus had a rude awakening for Peter. He said, "Before the cock crows in the morning, you will have denied me THREE times!!" (My paraphrase)

Peter again avows his devotion and dedication saying, "Even if it brings me DEATH, I will NOT deny Thee!" Later, we shall see how fear overcame this big blusterous fisherman and made him indeed deny knowing Christ!

36 Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. 37 And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. 38 Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. 40 And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. 42 He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. 43 And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy. 44 And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me. 47 And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people.

See our Lord having the most stressful moment of His brief life on this earth in human form! During this most awesome time, He desired to PRAY! This bitter "cup" of death was indeed creating torment in His human form. The body didn't want to die! But Christ's HEART was determined to do ALL the will of God!

Should we not follow the example of our Lord? OH! Too often, when faced with stress, we become involved in the moment, and grasp for straws. But what we NEED is PRAYER! What we NEED is to determine to do GOD'S will and not our own or that of someone else.

See the weakness of the disciples in prayer life! When Jesus needed them to pray most vehemently, they slept so carelessly!

Praise God that Jesus, our Lord and Savior, goes "a little FURTHER than His disciples!" For He "became obedient unto death!" (Philippians 2:8)

Even when He came to them the SECOND time, they were STILL sleeping! He admonished them to continue in prayer. OH! My friends, what implications this has! Shall we be sleeping when Christ comes next? You may not believe in a rapture, but I do! And I certainly don't want to be found sleeping when it occurs! Lord, help me be DILIGENT!

The third time Jesus came to them He said the time was "at hand;" the time for Christ to be delivered by the betrayer. And, immediately, as they looked Judas was there with the guards to take Jesus prisoner!

But Jesus did not RUN! NO! He said, "..let us be going." But it was not to LEAVE, it was to MEET those who came to take Him captive!!

Jesus did not relish death. But He DID relish doing the will of God. He had known from the beginning of time this was God's plan of redemption for mankind. He MUST suffer and die! He would NOT shirk the duty!

Neither should we! If being outspoken for Christ makes me suffer, then so let it be. If being outspoken for Christ brings me death, then so let it be. The suffering shall not be long. And death is only a door that closes the issues of this earthly life and opens the glory of His eternal kingdom! "The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me." (Heb 13:6)

48 Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. 49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him.

Judas' act of betrayal was with a "kiss." He utilized the familiar embrace as a sign to show the guards Him Whom they should take. How malicious an act in that while Judas hailed Jesus as "Master," he betrayed Him with this sign!

Yet see how Christ responded. When Peter had thought to hinder Him, Jesus called him "Satan!" But when Judas came to betray Him, Jesus called him "friend!" This again is a fulfillment of Scripture (See Psalm 41:9).

See how easily Christians betray Christ with the familiar acts of friendship! We attend church, and become involved in the inner workings of the Kingdom of God. But we FAIL so miserably in going into the streets to proclaim Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords to our family, neighbors and friends! Are we not using the sign of friendship and yet betraying Him Who died for us?

Do we come to the church to take direction from Christ? Are we there to pray, worship, study and learn so that we can OBEY Him? Judas became a disciple for those reasons. But then Judas determined no longer to take direction from Christ. Instead he would deliverChrist!

Judas wanted what so many of his day wanted. They wanted Christ to be the Messiah Who came, took over the world, and then gave it into the hands of them to rule. And Judas, perhaps felt that by forcing Christ's hand, he could MAKE Jesus do what Judas wanted!

So many feel the same way today. Jesus has come as Savior they say. Then let Him be Savior! Let Him, by His means of His Holy Spirit inspire them to come. There's a story about a little church in the woods, some miles from town. A new pastor was called, and only one elderly deacon showed up for the service. The deacon had come early. He had opened the door and turned on the lights and started a fire in the heater. The pastor inquired, "Deacon, do you think we might pray and then go out and visit others asking them to come and join us in worship of our Lord?" The deacon answered, "Sir, we have opened the door, turned on the lights, and built the fire. If they wanna come, they'll come. If not, let 'em be."

Let us not betray our Lord by being part of His "inner circle" and not doing His will!!

51 And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest's, and smote off his ear. 52 Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 53 Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be? 55 In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me. 56 But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.

John 18:10 is more descriptive in that Peter is named as the disciple who had the sword, and Malchus is named as the servant of the high priest. Peter, it seems, was going to be true to his word. He would FIGHT rather than take FLIGHT! But Jesus healed the servant's ear (See Luke 22:51) and told Peter to put up the sword. While Judas would betray Christ with intimate knowledge of the inner circle, Peter would betray Him by fighting off unbelievers! Oh! How often this happens today! We Christians tend to become involved in a "fight" against unbelievers about their actions and attitudes. Yet what Christ has called us to do is to WITNESS to them of HIM! Too often we become incensed at gamblers and declare the gambler headed for hell. It is not the SINNER Jesus despises, it is the sIN! Jesus LOVES the SINNER and died for him. Too often we become incensed with those who commit or perform abortions. Again, it is not the SINNER Jesus despises, it is the SIN! Too often we become incensed with homosexuals. Again, it is not the SINNER Jesus despises, it is the SIN! If we but tell them of Christ, of His love, of His truth, perhaps HE (by His Holy Spirit) will use our witness to convince and convict them. We cannot convince and convict them!! Neither can we call them names and declare them unfit for our witness!

Jesus does not need our help to be protected agains reprobates. There's a story about a man who was a reporter in town. He was a self-declared atheist. He heard that a new preacher had come to the church downtown. So he went to the evening service so he could argue with the preacher. After the sermon, the atheist approached the preacher and said, "Well, you have done well explaining the Scriptures today; however, I don't believe the Bible is true." The preacher simply said, "Well, sir, it is appointed to men once to die and after this the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). The atheist said, "Come now, preacher, let us argue the Bible." The preacher again said, "Well, sir, it is appointed to men once to die and after this the judgment." The atheist, obviously angry, said, "Well, I don't believe you know enough about your Bible to argue." The preacher said, "Sir, you may be right, but I do know it is appointed to men once to die and after this the judgment." The atheist left. As he was walking home, it seemed the trees whispered, 'it is appointed to men once to die, and after this the judgment." As he walked the bridge across the creek, the water seemed to gurgle, 'it is appointed to men to die, after this the judgment." The atheist couldn't sleep all night. The next morning, he was in the preacher's office. He said, "I want to know how to find this Jesus!"

Indeed, Christian, let us stand boldly against evil, but let us love evildoers enought to share Christ with them!

Now, these guards, upon orders of the Sanhedrin ("..the chief priests and elders of the people" vs 47), came to take Jesus at NIGHT! Jesus said He had been DAILY teaching in the temple, why didn't they take Him THERE? Because they didn't want the populace to KNOW! And, by the way, it was ILLEGAL, under their own laws, to arrest a person at NIGHT!

Isaiah 53:8 says, "He was taken from prison and from judgment.." Jesus was not afforded the ordinary trial. He was tried behind closed doors at NIGHT in an ILLEGAL assembly! From Him, righteous judgment was torn! He could not be FOUND guilty of anything because He WAS guilty of nothing!! Therefore, these would not allow Him to be tried correctly!

57 And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. 58 But Peter followed him afar off unto the high priest's palace, and went in, and sat with the servants, to see the end. 59 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; 60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, 61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days. 62 And the high priest arose, and said unto him, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 63 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. 64 Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 65 Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. 66 What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death. 67 Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him; and others smote him with the palms of their hands, 68 Saying, Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, Who is he that smote thee?

Now, they took Jesus to the place where the high priest and elders were "assembled."

We'll get back to Peter in a few moments. But first, let us look at the manner of so-called trial Jesus endured.

First (vs 59), they tried to buy "false witnesses." They couldn't FIND anyone to speak against Jesus, so they tried to PAY someone. Finally, they found one person who restated something Jesus said (see vs 61 above). Of course it was stated out of context, but nevertheless, the high priest thought he could use it against Jesus. When Jesus had stated that (John 2:19, He was referring to the temple of His "body," and not to the physical temple in Jerusalem.

But, Second, Jesus kept QUIET (vs 63). The Scripture prophesied that "as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth." (Isa 53:7). WHY? Why was Jesus silent? He was guiltless! He could have proclaimed His innocence. Or, He could have called for help!

As He had told Peter in vs 53, He could have called and 10,000 angels would have come to help Him! He did NOT have to endure this awful treatment and die. But if He did NOT, no man could be saved!! Holiness must be offered on the altar of sacrifice in order for sin to be forgiven by God.

Since Jesus maintained His silence, the high priest took one last measure. He asked Jesus to SWEAR, "I adjure thee by the living God..." At this point, Jesus spoke. He said, "It is true, and hereafter you will see the Son of man on the right hand of God, and coming in the clouds of glory." (Paraphrase) Jesus' answer indicated that He knew His rightful place - at the RIGHT HAND of God! In the place of POWER! He also knew that one day, He would appear in the clouds, the glorious Son of God!

That did it! The high priest had heard enough. Here was a man calling Himself GOD! He believed that to be "blashemy". The penalty for blaspemy, under Jewish law, was stoning to death. But the Sanhedrin did not have the power, under the Roman government, to condemn a man to death. That's why Jesus was later taken to Pilot, the governor. At that time, the Romans didn't use stoning, they used crucifiction.

During this "mock trial," they blindfolded Jesus, then spit on Him, slapped Him with their hands, and plucked out handfuls of His beard. The treatment He received in that trial might have well brought death to most men. But Jesus ENDURED it! He endured it for you and me! "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." (Isa 53:5)

Yes, Jesus could have told them who it was that was striking Him. But He did not! (See Proverbs 19:11).

69 Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. 70 But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest. 71 And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. 72 And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man. 73 And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee. 74 Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew. 75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly.

Now, back to Peter. He had followed Jesus to the place where they were examining Him. But Peter was not allowed inside. So he sat outside.

There was a young lady there who seemed to recognize him. When she called his attention to it, Peter told her no - and made sure that anyone ELSE heard him say no. Peter left that area, and went to another, so he would not have to debate the question.
Then, another lady approached, saying that she had seen Peter with Jesus. Again, Peter denied, this time with an "oath."
But a few moments later, a GROUP of people approached Peter. They said that the manner in which he spoke let them know that he was with Jesus. Now Peter beame indignant. Wishing curses and swearing, he avowed he did NOT know Jesus! ((Please note: the Greek text here does not state that Peter used fowl language.))
AND THEN, the cock crowed!! Oh! Can you imagine the shock that went through Peter's mind, heart and body! Just as Jesus had promised, Peter had DENIED Him!

This was all too much for Peter. He "went out," away from the place where they held Jesus; away from the people. There he "wept bitterly!" Surely he questioned himself, "HOW could I DO that?!" He had been the one to whom God had specifically revealed Jesus as CHRIST (See Matthew 16:16-19). To him, Jesus had promised that this confession of faith would be the "rock" upon which the church would be built and stand. Peter had been present when Jesus was transfigured (See Matthew 17:1-2). How could he do this?

But he did! He did not WANT to be maligned, ill-spoken of, or slandered by malicious gossip. And of course, he didn't want to DIE!

How many have maintained silence, instead of openly professing Christ, when they faced being called "good two shoes," "do gooder," or some other denegrating name? Well, it is sure that if any have done so, and really KNEW Christ, they felt the SAME THING PETER FELT! GUILTINESS! CONVICTION!!

PLEASE CONTINUE WITH US IN BIBLE STUDY TOMORROW.