HOW GOD STAYS IN TOUCH WITH MAN: XVIII

Jesus, during His last week in Jerusalem, did not hide from the authorities, as some may believe. In fact, Jesus offered Himself to the authorities. Jesus openly taught and healed in public. Jesus spent time in the temple. But, the high priest’s and the leaders were afraid of the public during the day. The public began to grow in favor of Jesus and their numbers increased. It actually was Jesus who chose the Passover night for Judas to hand Him over to the Jewish leaders in Gethsemane, so that the Lamb of God could be sacrificed on the “Day of Atonement.” Suppose Jesus had not sent Judas to get the high priest’s soldiers to arrest Him, what would have become of man’s redemption? In that sense, Judas was not as bad as he was made out to be. Caiaphas, the high priest, and his father-in-law, Annas, did what “The atonement for sin” required and so did Pilate, unwillingly.

In our world, most of the time, the innocent become the lambs for the guilty that are being sacrificed. The guilty can and do arm themselves with the law and with weapons. They use dishonest ways to disprove their guilt. They practice and pervert the truth. For instance, Jesus spoke of His Body being the Temple that had to be destroyed, in order for a new life to begin. It was the high priest who found and paid the witnesses to accuse Jesus of destroying their temple, which took forty years to build (John 2:19-22). People do become sick on the Sabbath; however, the leaders used the Sabbath to punish the ill, and those who sought help from the healers and the healers, could be stoned. Jesus corrected that false application of the Sabbath use, and He was condemned for it.

At that time Jesus went through the grainfield on the sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck ears of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look, your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law how on the sabbath the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the temple is here. And if you had known what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,’ you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is lord of the sabbath.”

And he went on from there, and entered their synagogue. And behold, there was a man with a withered hand. And they asked him, “Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath?” so that they might accuse him. He said to them, “What man of you, if he has one sheep and it falls into a pit on the sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the sabbath.” Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, whole like the other. But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him, how to destroy him (Matthew 12:1-14).

Jesus added to the woes of the Jewish hierarchy with its insistence that He was the Son of God. The insistence that Jesus was the Son of God violated the Second Commandment for Jesus, but not for them. For, they regarded themselves as the “legitimate children of God.” And Jesus did not help his case when He regarded them as being “the children of the devil.”

They answered Jesus, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Araham’s children, you would do what Abraham did, but now you seek to kill me, a man who has told you the truth which I heard from God; this is not what Abraham did. You do what your father did.” They said to him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.” Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I proceeded and came forth from God; I came not of my own accord, but he sent me. Why do you not understand what I say? It is because you cannot bear to hear my word. You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with

the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But, because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. Which of you convicts me of sin? He who is of God hears the words of God; the reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God (John 8:39-47).

The Jewish laws were not valid for the Romans when a life had to be terminated. To make certain that Pilate would have to remove Jesus from his earthly life, the Jewish authorities turned Jesus into a rival of Caesar. “Then the whole company of the Jewish leaders arose, and brought Jesus before Pilate” (Luke 23:1-5).

It was ironic that all their plotting was preparing the Jewish leaders to sacrifice the “Passover Lamb” for their iniquities. The leaders were the once, like Nicodemus, who needed the Savior. That was why Jesus said that He had come to save sinners and not the truly righteous (Matthew 18:11; Luke 19:10). That is also why the Son of God had come Himself to give His Life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). Jesus was the only spotless Lamb (Revelation 14:5). We must not lump the truly righteous, who do the Will of God, with those who deliberately ignore and violate the Will of God and His Commandments (I Kings 19:18; Matthew 25:34-40).

God’s intention, to save man, could not be thwarted, and the children of Satan had to sacrifice the Lamb of God for their sins and for their fellow sinners (John 8:42-47). Not even Jesus, the Son of man, could stop the Will of God. Jesus begged His Heavenly Father for an alternative way, but His Father did not answer because there was no other Lamb.

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go yonder and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” And going a little father he fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt.” And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done” And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. So, leaving them again he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hand of sinners. Rise let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand” (Matthew 26:36-46).

GOD LETS MAN THINK HE IS IN CHARGE

Judas and Caiaphas agreed on how to apprehend Jesus, but they did not know the the end results (Matthew 26:14-16). In my mind, there is no doubt that Judas did not expect Jesus to surrender, and allow Himself to be killed. In fact, none of the disciples expected their Teacher to be killed. Judas felt betrayed by the high priest and his cohorts. Judas was plagued with guilt! Therefore, Judas returned the thirty pieces of silver and then he committed suicide (Matthew 27:1-10). The eleven disciples believed that Jesus would restore the kingdom of David with them in charge and with Jesus as the son of David on the throne (Acts 1:6; Mark 11:1-11).

During the arrest of Jesus, it was Jesus who directed His own apprehending by Judas, and by the high priest’s men. Jesus had directed Judas, and Judas did as expected. Apparently, the writer of the Gospel of Mark witnessed, from the shadows, how His Lord, the Christ, was taken into custody voluntarily. But nevertheless, the Lord was treated like a malefactor.

And immediately, while Jesus was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him and lead him away safely.” And when he came, he went up to him at once, and said, “Master!” And he kissed him. And they laid hands on him and seized him. But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear. And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me? Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the scripture be fulfilled.” And they all forsook him, and fled.

And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body; and they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked (Mark 14:43-52).

The Matthew arrest of Jesus is similar to Mark (Matthew 26:47-56). Luke’s account is brief, but Luke has Jesus stop from becoming a fatal encounter. Jesus let Satan, the prince of darkness, have his moment:

While Jesus was still speaking, there came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus and kissed him; but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?” And when those who were about him saw what should follow, they said, “Lord shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the salve of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and captains of the temple and elders, who had come out against him, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:47-53).

The witness, in the Gospel of John, may have had a closer look at the time Jesus was insisting that Judas and the gang take Him into custody, and let the others go. We do not think that it was John Zebedee who had fled, but the other disciple, who from the shadows escaped after the arrest of Jesus. And it was the other disciple, who also admitted Peter into Annas’ courtyard (John 18:15-16; 20:8; 21:24-25).

When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples across the Kidron valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them,”Whom do you seek?” They Answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When he said to them, “I am he” they drew back and fell to the ground. Again he asked the, “Whom do you seek? And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he; so, if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word which he had spoken, “Of those whom thou gavest me I lost not one.” Then Simon Peter, have a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. The Slave’s name was Malchus. Jesu said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me (John 18:1-11)?”

ANNAS AND HIS KANGAROO COURT CONDEMNED JESUS TO DEATH BEFORE THE PEOPLE AWOKE FROM THEIR PASSOVER FEAST

The Kangaroo Court is made up of leaders and of legislators, who do not follow laws or regulations, but who make up rules, which suit best for them and for their supporters. Their legislators create and manufacture legislation, which benefits them and which also condone their opposition. The Hebrew High Court was no different from our courts today. Also, they mostly functioned effectively in secret; particularly at night, when Judas brought Jesus in. And whatever promise they made to Judas was not kept. The witness, who was present at the interrogation, condemnation, and humiliation, was John Mark and he recorded the trial for us.

And they led Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elder and the scribes were assembled. And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, and warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council sought testimony against Jesus, to put him to death; but they found none. For many bore false witness against him, and their witness did not agree. And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’” Yet not even so did their testimony agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is that these men testify against you?” But he was silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am; and you will see the Son of man sitting at the right the hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And the high priest tore his mantle, and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is you decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. And some began to spit at him, and to cover his face, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows (Mark 14:53-65).   

Matthew 26:57-68 agreed with Mark on the Kangaroo’s Court’s behavior. Luke added that their guards mocked Jesus (Luke 22:62-65). John, the other disciple, admitted Peter into the courtyard, and he also had his own report on Jesus’ trial. John Mark recalled that Jesus was first taken to Annas, and Peter’s first denial preceded Jesus’ session with the High Priest’s Inquisition.

So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him. First they led him to Annas; for he was the father-in-law of Caia-phas, who was high priest that year. It was Caia-phas who had given counsel to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. As this disciple was known to the high priest, he entered the court of the high priest along with Jesus, while Peter stood  outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the maid who kept the door, and brought Peter in.

The maid who kept the door said to Peter, “Are not you also one of this man’s disciples?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves; Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him,”If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest (John 18:12-24).