3/31/16 Meeting Salvation On The Road To Emmaus

Later the same day, two men who were Jesus’ followers are walking home on the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus, which is about seven miles away.  They are walking slowly, discussing the events of the weekend, mourning Jesus’ death.  Jesus joins them and walks along with them, listening.  They don’t recognize Him, because God has made Him look different to them.  Jesus asks them what they are talking about, and they look up at Him sadly.  Cleopas, one of the two, says, “I can’t believe You haven’t heard what happened.  I thought everyone knew.”  “Knew what?” Jesus asks gently.  “About Jesus of Nazareth.  We thought He was the Messiah.  He was at least a great prophet, we know that for sure.  He did so many amazing miracles – healing the sick and teaching about God and the Kingdom of Heaven.  But the Sanhedrin was jealous of Him and had Him crucified three days ago.  One of the men who was secretly following Him laid His body in his own tomb, but early this morning, the women who went to anoint His body came back saying that He was gone, and that angels were there who told them that He is alive again.  Two of His apostles went to see and confirmed the women’s story, at least the part about His body being gone.”  Cleopas kicks a stone in the road in his grief.  Jesus says, “You don’t believe this story?  This is what the prophets of old foretold in the Holy Scripture.  They clearly state that the Messiah will have to suffer and die, but will rise from the dead and return to His Father in Heaven.”  As the three continue walking down the road, Jesus explains all the prophecies about the Messiah, from the books of Moses all the way through the prophets.  When He finishes, they are almost to Emmaus.  “I AM going on from here,” Jesus begins, but the men stop Him, saying, “Oh, do come and eat supper with us.  It has been a long day and I’m sure You could use nourishment and a good night’s rest before continuing on Your journey.”  Jesus accepts their invitation and goes home with them.  Soon, they are sitting down at the table to eat their supper.  Jesus sits in the place of honor and asks the blessing over the meal.  He picks up a loaf of bread, blesses it, breaks it, and hands each of the men a piece.  As He does this, God lifts the veil over their eyes and they see who is sitting there with them.  Eyes widening, they turn to look at each other, and Jesus vanishes right before their eyes.  “Wow!  It was really Him!  It’s true, it’s all true!”  “So that’s why my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest when He was telling us about the Holy Scripture!”  Rising as one, they both run out of the house and start back for Jerusalem.  They can’t wait to tell the apostles about this!  Reaching the place where the apostles are staying, they pound on the door excitedly.  A pair of eyes peers through the window before the door is flung open.  The men see a flurry of activity inside – the apostles are preparing to depart for Galilee.  One of them greets the two men and says, “Jesus really is alive!  Peter saw Him and spoke to Him!  He told us to go to Galilee and He will meet us there.”  The men from Emmaus watch the apostles hurrying to pack supplies, grinning.  Cleopas clears his throat and says, “We have some news to share as well.”  All activity stops as the men turn to hear what he has to say.  He and his friend tell their story, and the excitement in the room is palpable.

 

Mark 16:12-13, Luke 24:13-35

3/30/16 Don’t Let The Truth Come Out!

Meanwhile, the stunned soldiers who had been guarding the tomb shake themselves out of their stupor.  They, too, peer inside the tomb and find only the linen wrappings.  Reasoning that there is no longer any reason to stand guard, they take off for the city, too spooked to stay there any longer.  They head straight for the Temple to tell the Sanhedrin what has happened.  Caiaphas is called in and an emergency session begins.  “It seems we’re having an awful lot of these emergency sessions lately,” grumbles one of the older members.  “What now?”  Two priests to whom the soldiers have just told their tale explain the situation to the group.  For a moment, there is complete silence in the room, then the outraged questions begin.  “Incompetence!  They were told to stand guard there and not let anyone access the tomb!”  “But they swear they did not move from their post!  The soldiers took up their post just before the night watch began, and they are seasoned night watch guards.  They swear on penalty of death that they did not fall asleep, did not allow anyone access to the tomb, nor did they abandon their post at any time.”  “Well, how did this happen?  Obviously, our greatest fear has come to pass.  Somehow, that deceiver’s men got in and took the body, and now they are going to claim that He has risen from the dead, just as He had foretold.  So, if the guards were doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing and they didn’t see anyone coming or going, how did this happen?”  “Well, sir, they say they saw light coming from inside the tomb, through the cracks around the stone.  Then all of a sudden the stone was rolled away and two angels were sitting there.  At least, from their description, it sounds like angels.  Huge men, shining brighter than the sun, they say.  And the body was gone already, when they looked in.  Only the linen wrappings were there, folded neatly and placed on the stone slab where the body had been.  They say right after that, some of the women who were His followers came and the angels spoke to them, saying that He wasn’t there because He had risen from the dead, and to tell the men that He would meet them in Galilee.”  “Well, this will never do.  He will be more popular than ever if that story gets out.”  Caiaphas paces for a moment, pondering the situation.  “Here’s what we must do.  We will call the soldiers in and bribe them to lie.  They must tell anyone who asks that they did fall asleep, and that His followers came during that time and stole the body.”  After some deliberation, the majority of the Sanhedrin agrees.  “Call them in!” Caiaphas orders, and the soldiers enter, looking apprehensive.  “We are prepared to offer you a large sum of money to keep your story quiet.  Instead, you are to tell anyone who asks that you did, indeed, fall asleep at your post, and that this Man’s followers came and stole His body while you were sleeping.  We will defend you if Pilate hears of this, and take the blame ourselves.  What say you?”  The guards look at each other.  They both know something supernatural has happened, but neither one of them wants to think about it anymore, let alone have to tell the story over and over.  They are too frightened by it.  Even though they will be ridiculed for falling asleep at their post, they will feel much better with this version of the events.  So they agree and take the bribe, and within hours the story has begun to spread like wildfire through the city.

 

Matthew 28:11-15

3/29/16 It’s True, We Saw Him Too!

Mary Magdalene arrives shortly after the other women, for she has run the entire way.  The women have just finished telling the apostles what happened when she bursts through the door, crying, “I have seen our Messiah!  He is alive!  He gave me a message to tell you, ‘I AM going up to My Father and your Father, to My God and Your God.’”  The apostles stare at her in shock, then look back to the other women.  Their eyes are red and swollen, and their faces are stained with tears.  They have been mourning Jesus’ death all night long.  But now – no, it can’t be.  Why would Jesus come to a woman before His own apostles?  How could their stories be true?  It doesn’t make any sense.  Peter and John look at each other, then both run from the room, hurrying to the tomb to see for themselves.  John arrives first, peers inside, and sees the linen cloth that Jesus’ body was wrapped in before He was placed in the tomb.  Apart from this, the tomb is empty, just as the women described.  Peter comes panting up behind John and runs right inside.  He stands in the tomb and looks around, seeing only the linen cloth.  He notices that the piece of linen that had been covering Jesus’ head is folded neatly and lying on a small rock a separate from the rest of the cloth.  “John, come see this,” Peter says, and John joins him inside the tomb.  They look at each other and, though they still don’t understand, they begin to believe.  They remember how Jesus told them of the prophecies saying that He would come back to life after He was killed.  Shaking their heads, they turn and start to go back home.  On their way, they see a Man coming to them.  They stop and look again.  It is Jesus!  They run to Him, falling down at His feet to worship Him.  Jesus says, “Don’t be scared.  It’s Me.  Now, go and tell the rest of My brothers to start right away for Galilee.  I will meet you all there.”

 

Matthew 28:9-10, Mark 16:10-11, 18b; Luke 24:11-12, John 20:3-10

3/28/16 He Is Alive! I Have Seen Him!

When Saturday evening arrives and the Sabbath is over, the women – Mary Magdalene, James’ mother Mary, Salome, Joanna, and several others – go to the marketplace to buy additional spices to anoint Jesus’ body.  Sunday morning, very early, they go to the garden with the spices they have prepared.  They worry about how they will be able to roll the stone away from the entrance to the tomb.  They do not know about the guard stationed there.  When they get to the tomb, they stop and stare in surprise.  The stone has been rolled away from the entrance and the guards are standing, looking into the tomb in fear.  The women approach cautiously, and soon notice that there is a very bright light coming from inside the tomb.  They peer inside and see two men, dressed in shining white robes, glowing with a blindingly bright Heavenly light – angels!  The women fall to the ground in fear, but one of the angels says, “Fear not!  Why are you looking for Jesus here?  This is a place for dead people, and He is alive!  He has risen from the dead!  Do you not remember what He told you, that He would be betrayed and killed, but would rise again on the third day?”  The women look up in surprise.  They do recall Jesus saying this to them, and they are beginning to have a glimmer of understanding.  “Go and tell His apostles that He will meet them in Galilee, just as He told them before His death.”  They stand and rush back to the place where the apostles are staying to tell them what has happened.  But Mary Magdalene stays by the tomb.  She is confused and very upset.  She sinks down to her knees in the garden and begins to cry.  One of the angels sees her and asks, “Why are you crying?”  “Because they have taken away My Messiah and I don’t know where they have put Him.”  She wants to believe what the angels have said, but doesn’t want to get her hopes up and have them dashed to pieces.  A shadow falls across the ground in front of her.  A Man stands there, and Mary believes he is the gardener.  “Why are you crying?  Who are you looking for?” He asks her.  Mary replies the same way, “Because they have taken away My Messiah and I don’t know where they have put Him.  Please, sir, if you have taken Him somewhere, tell me where, so that I may go and get Him.”  The Man says, “Mary,” and suddenly, she knows who it is.  Nobody else has ever said her name in that way.  “Rabbi!” she cries, jumping to her feet.  Her arms go out to embrace Him, but Jesus steps back and says to her, “Not yet, Mary.  I have not gone to My Father yet.  Now, go and tell My brothers this message:  ‘I AM going up to My Father and your Father, to My God and Your God.’”  Mary nods, her whole face glowing with joy, and runs to deliver the message to the apostles.

 

Matthew 28:1-8, Mark 16:1-9, Luke 24:1-10, John 20:1-2, 11-18a

3/27/16 It Is Finished

Now it is just about noon, and suddenly the bright sunny day disappears.  The sky grows as dark as night.  Jesus mumbles something about being thirsty, and one of the soldiers soaks a sponge with wine vinegar, puts it on a reed stick, and holds it up to Jesus.  Many in the crowd misunderstand Him and believe He is calling for the prophet Elijah to come and rescue Him.  They call to the soldier, “Wait, let’s see if Elijah comes for Him!” but the soldier does not pay them any attention.  Jesus cries out in a loud, mournful voice, “Oh, My God, My God, why have You left Me all alone?”  Jesus and the crucified men beside Him suffer for the next few hours, then at about three o’clock in the afternoon (though it still looks like night) Jesus cries out again, saying, “It is finished!  Father, I entrust My Spirit to Your hands!”  He takes His last breath and dies.  The sun begins to shine brightly again, but suddenly the earth trembles violently.  Rocks begin to split in two and to fall.  Priests offering incense in the Temple sense something moving behind them and turn and stare in surprise at the curtain moving as if blown by a strong wind.  The curtain separates the Holy Place, where they are standing to offer the incense, from the Most Holy Place, where God is said to dwell and where only the High Priest is allowed to enter once a year.  Suddenly, the curtain tears in two all the way down the middle.  This shows that there is no longer anything keeping anyone from coming to seek God on His throne, because Jesus has made Himself the bridge to connect God to the people of the world.  Tombs split open and many Godly people rise from the dead, going into the city and showing themselves to many people there.  The soldiers, seeing all of this, are terrified, but the priests seem not to notice.  Since it is Friday, and not just any Friday but Passover Friday, the Jews are in a hurry to get this whole crucifixion thing over with, so that the bodies won’t still be hanging there on the Passover Sabbath.  They ask the soldiers to break the men’s legs to speed up their death, and the spooked men are all too happy to comply.  But Jesus is already dead, right?  To make sure, one of the soldiers thrusts his spear into Jesus’ side, causing His blood to gush out onto the ground.  This fulfills the prophecies saying, “He will have no broken bones,” and, “They will look at the One they pierced.”  When the Roman soldier in charge of the crucifixion sees everything that happens with Jesus’ death, he falls to his knees and prays to God, saying, “Surely, He was innocent!  He was, truly, Your Son!”  Many of the women who have been Jesus’ followers stand huddled together, mourning, including His mother, Mary Magdalene, His Aunt Mary, who is James and Joseph’s mother, and Salome, the mother of the other James and John, the sons of Zebedee.  It is getting dark, and soon no work will be allowed – the Sabbath begins at dusk.  Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea and a member in good standing of the Sanhedrin, who has followed Jesus is secret, asks Pilate if he may take Jesus’ body to his tomb for burial.  Pilate nods, ordering the soldiers to take His body off of the cross and give it to Joseph, who wraps it in clean linen and places it in his tomb.  Jesus’ mother and Mary Magdalene watch from the garden that surrounds the tomb.  As soon as Jesus is placed in the tomb, the women rush home to prepare spices to anoint His body.  They are unable to finish before the beginning of the Sabbath, though, so they must wait until it is over.  On the next day, the Sabbath, some of the priests who had ordered Jesus’ crucifixion go to Pilate and remind him that Jesus said He would rise from the dead after three days, and request a guard in front of the tomb until the third day.  The soldiers roll a huge stone across the opening, and then stand guard to make sure nobody enters to steal Jesus’ body.

 

Matthew 27:45-66, Mark 15:33-47, Luke 23:44-56, John 19:28-42, Psalm 22:1, 15; Psalm 31:5, Psalm 69:21; Exodus 12:46; Numbers 9:12; Psalm 34:20; Zechariah 12:10

3/26/16 Jesus Is Crucified

Jesus and two other criminals condemned to be crucified are led to a place where three crude, heavy, wooden crosses are waiting.  Each is given a cross to carry to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, where they are to be crucified.  Because of the fierce beating He has just sustained, Jesus is very weak and in much pain.  He finds it very difficult to carry the heavy cross and stumbles often on the road leading up to that terrible hill.  A man from Cyrene named Simon stands by the side of the road, watching as Jesus stumbles again on the road.  A Roman soldier shouts to him, “Hey, you, come here and carry this Man’s cross.”  When a Roman soldier gives an order, there is no choice but to obey, so Simon comes and hefts the cross over his shoulder, trying to avoid getting splinters stuck into his skin in the process.  Simon’s sons, Alexander and Rufus, watch with wide eyes, terrified of what might happen to their father.  The procession continues slowly, and is followed by a huge crowd of onlookers.  Those in the front of the crowd include a number of women who have been followers of Jesus and are overcome with grief at what is happening to their Messiah.  Jesus gathers what strength He has left, turns to them, and speaks to them.  “My dear women of Jerusalem, don’t cry for Me.  Look out for yourselves and your children, because a time of great trouble is coming to Jerusalem and if you remain here you will wish you had never given birth to them.  For if Pilate can stand by and allow this to happen now, wait until a more wicked successor is in his place!  When that time comes, people will beg for death.”  Now they reach the base of the hill and begin to climb it.  At the top, the soldiers begin to nail Jesus and the other criminals onto their crosses.  One of the soldiers tries to give Jesus some wine mixed with myrrh as a kind of drug to lessen the pain, but after a single taste, He pushes it away.  The crosses are erected at the top of the hill, Jesus in the middle and the two criminals on either side of Him.  Pilate had made a sign for Jesus’ cross that was nailed to it over His head.  It read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.”  One of the priests, objecting to the reference, tried to get Pilate to change it to, “He called Himself the King of the Jews,” but Pilate refused.  The crucified men were stripped bare except for loincloths.  Jesus’ clothes, especially His robe, which was woven as one solid piece, were of interest to the soldiers, because they thought they might be able to get some money for them from His followers.  They gambled with dice to see who would win the robe, and divided the rest of His clothing among them, fulfilling the prophecy that said, “They divided My garments among them, and for My clothing cast lots.”  The crowd standing near the crosses jeer at Jesus, saying, “You bragged You could destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days!  You can’t even save Yourself!  Son of God, indeed!”  One of the criminals crucified next to Him even ridicules Him in this way, but the other silences him by saying, “You are about to die!  Why are you mocking the Son of God?  We are real criminals, we deserve what is happening to us, but He is completely innocent!  Lord, Son of God, will You remember Me when You take over Your Kingdom?”  Jesus replies to him, “I tell you the truth:  today, you will be with Me in Heaven.”  Jesus looks over and sees John standing with His mother Mary, His Aunt Mary who is Clopas’ wife, and Mary Magdalene.  He looks at them lovingly and says, “Mother, John is now your son, and John, My mother is now your mother.”  John puts his arm around Mary protectively and vows to take care of her as his own mother from this point on.

 

Matthew 27:32-44, Mark 15:21-32, Luke 23:26-43, John 19:17-27, Psalm 22:18

3/25/16 Condemned To Be Crucified

Pilate and Herod have never gotten along, but when Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate with a message that he has found no reason to execute Him, Pilate’s respect for him grows.  Pilate calls together the group of priests and declares, “This Man is only interested in bringing the truth to people, whatever that is.  You accuse Him of treason against Rome, but I find no fault in Him, nor does Herod.  I believe that His only crime is getting on your bad side!  There is no reason to put Him to death.  I will have Him whipped and then He will be freed.”  A large crowd has gathered around Pilate’s mansion to hear the verdict, and they are outraged.  “No!  He is guilty!  Crucify Him!” they shout, enraged.  Pilate holds up his hands for silence and declares, “There is a tradition that at the Passover festival I release one prisoner to you.  Let me release Jesus.”  “No!  Crucify Him!  Release Barabbas!” shouts the crowd.  “Barabbas is everything that you are accusing this Man of being.  You want me to release the real criminal and execute the innocent Man?” Pilate asks.  “Yes!  Crucify Him!  Give us Barabbas!” they shout back.  Pilate shakes his head, astounded.  He has his soldiers whip Jesus.  They mock Him, weaving a crown of thorns and placing it on His head, and beating His face and body as they cut open his back with the metal-tipped whip.  They give Him a purple robe to wear, calling Him “The King of the Jews” as they spit in His face.  Pilate looks at Jesus and asks, “Who are You?  Where do You come from?”  Jesus just looks at him silently.  “Why do You not speak to me?  Don’t You know that I have the ultimate power over whether You live or die?”  “The only power you have is that which was given to you by My Father, God.  You are not as much to blame in this as those who have conspired to bring this about,” Jesus finally responds.  Pilate tries once more to release Him.  “See?  He has been flogged.  Now, will you accept His release?”  “No!” the crowd shouts again, “Crucify Him!  Give us Barabbas!  He has said that He is a king!  That is treason against Caesar!  If you release Him, you will be ‘No Friend of Caesar!’”  Pilate takes a step back in horror at the thought.  Roman law states that no Roman citizen is to endure the agony of crucifixion, unless someone accuses them of being ‘No Friend of Caesar,’ or in other words, treason against Caesar.  For that crime, there is no defense, no trial, only a painful end on a cross.  Pilate’s wife comes to him, her face white.  “Husband,” she says in a low voice, “Please, I beg you, have nothing to do with this Man!  I had a horrible dream about Him and what is to come as a result of His crucifixion last night.”  Pilate is unsure of what to do.  He has no wish to incite a riot, nor does he wish to crucify Jesus.  He asks for a bowl of water.  A servant brings it to him, and in front of the crowd, he sits down on the judgment seat on the Stone Pavement or Gabbatha of his courtyard.  By this time it is almost mid-morning.  He makes a show of washing his hands, to let them know that he is washing his hands of the whole affair, and the blood of Jesus will be on their hands.  The crowd, eager to get this done, shouts back, “We will take responsibility!  We and our children!”  Pilate throws up his hands in defeat and releases Jesus to the guards, where He is led away to be crucified.

 

Matthew 27:15-31, Mark 15:6-20, Luke 23:13-25, John 18:38-19:16

3/24/16 Pontius Pilate and Herod Antipas Examine Jesus

When the Temple guards and Jesus reach the governor’s mansion, they stand outside the gates and demand an audience with Pilate.  They refuse to enter his home, because it is illegal for Jews to enter the home of any Gentile (non-Jew) – in doing so, they will be defiled.  With this being the beginning of Passover, they do not wish to be defiled, because then they will not be able to take part in the celebration.  Word is brought to Pilate that there are some Temple guards waiting to see him outside the gates, something about a criminal.  Pilate goes out to see what the trouble is, and the guards tell him that they have brought him a prisoner who they wish to be sentenced to death.  Pilate asks, “What are the charges?”  Some of the leading priests from the Sanhedrin have tagged along with this group and now push their way up to the front.  “This man is a fraud!  He claims that He is our King and our Messiah, the Son of God!  He is telling the people that they should not pay their taxes to Rome.”  Pilate knows who Jesus is.  He has been watching Him through his spies for the past three years.  He knows that this last part of the priests’ accusation is not true, because if it was, Jesus would have been arrested long ago.  But he plays along, not wanting to cause a riot, especially when Jerusalem is so overflowing with Jewish pilgrims for the Passover festival.  Pilate looks at Jesus and asks, “Are You what they say, the King of the Jews?”  Jesus counters him with, “Are you asking for yourself, or for them?”  Pilate waves his hand in front of Jesus’ face, saying, “I am not a Jew!  I have no patience for these religious squabbles.  The religious leaders of Your own people have brought You to me to be tried.  What did You do to make them hate You so much?”  Jesus replies, “My kingdom is not of this world.  If I were to rule here, I would have allowed My friends to fight the guards who came to arrest Me last night.”  Pilate says, “Aha, so You admit that You call Yourself a king!”  Jesus says, “Those are your words.  I AM here in this world as a man to show the people of this world the Truth.  Whoever loves truth will know that I speak the Truth.”  Pilate turns back to the priests and says, “I find no fault in this Man.  If you want Him put to death, do it yourselves.”  “But we have no authority to do this apart from Rome!”  the priests argue.  “He is a dangerous Man.  We need to be rid of Him, and quickly, before He starts a rebellion!”  Pilate looks at Jesus and says, “Do You hear what they are saying against You?  Do you have anything to say for Yourself?”  Jesus simply looks at him, staying silent.  Pilate is taken aback.  He expected Jesus to defend Himself, not to just lay down and let them walk all over Him.  The priests say, “He is teaching rebellious principles everywhere He goes – from Galilee to Jerusalem!”  Pilate has been looking for a way to get them off of his property without having to sentence Jesus to death, and now here it is.  “Galilee, you say?  Well, then, He’s Herod’s responsibility.  Take Him to Herod!”  Herod spends much of his time away from Jerusalem, but happens to be in residence at his Jerusalem palace now.  The priests and guards march Jesus to Herod’s estate and begin again.  Herod is excited.  He has been hoping for an opportunity to meet Jesus.  He’s heard so much about Him and has been very curious.  He asks Jesus many questions, hoping to see Him perform a miracle, but Jesus remains silent.  The priests attempt to make their case against Him once more, but Herod sees no reason to kill the Man.  He and his soldiers begin to make fun of Jesus, putting a robe around His shoulders and calling Him “King of the Jews.”  But in the end, Herod simply waves Him off and sends the group back to Pilate.

 

Matthew 27:11-14, Mark 15:2-5, Luke 23:1-11, John 18:28-37

3/23/16 Judas Realizes His Terrible Mistake

Jesus is thrown into a dark room where two guards keep watch just outside the door.  In another chamber, Caiaphas conducts a meeting to plan the best way to legally kill Him.  “We have no law to put someone to death on our own.  We must go through Rome,” one of the elder members says.  “Take Him to Pilate!” several shout at once.  They all agree that will be the best way to get the job done, and Caiaphas sends his guards to go and fetch Jesus.  They tie Him up and take Him to the governor’s mansion.  While Jesus is being dragged down the street, Judas Iscariot’s soul is pierced by the knowledge that he has done an evil thing to God’s Son.  Panicking, he runs back to the Sanhedrin and gives them the thirty pieces of silver that he had received for his part in Jesus’ arrest.  “He is innocent.  He was my friend, and I betrayed Him.  I have done an evil thing!  I cannot accept this blood money.”  But the Sanhedrin members will not take the money back.  “You have done this of your own volition,” they tell him.  “You can’t change things now, it is too late.”  Judas flings the money pouch down on the Temple steps and runs from the courtyard.  He doesn’t know where to go or what to do and his mind is filled with whispers telling him to kill himself.  He finds some rope, ties a noose, and hangs himself.  Nearby is a field filled with broken pieces of pottery that was used for a cemetery for beggars.  The Sanhedrin decide that they cannot use the thirty pieces of silver for the Temple treasury, and so they use it to buy the Potter’s Field.  They reason that this way they will have a place to bury any foreigners who die while in Jerusalem.  From this point on, the field will also be known as the Field of Blood.  In doing this, the Sanhedrin fulfills the prophecy of Jeremiah, which says, “And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced, and gave them for the Potter’s Field, as the Lord directed me.”

Matthew 27:3-10, Jeremiah 32:6-9

3/22/16 The “Trial”

The soldiers take Jesus to Caiaphas’ mansion.  Annas, Caiaphas’ father-in-law, is there, along with Caiaphas and many from the Sanhedrin.  They have also gathered people who have pledged to testify against Jesus.  John and Peter follow secretly.  John is known by Caiaphas’ guards, and so they let him in, but Peter is left outside the gates until John can convince them to let him in too.  A woman is at the gate with Peter, watching the spectacle, and asks, “Are you one of His disciples too?”  “No,” Peter says curtly, and turns away from her.  Finally, Peter is allowed in and he goes to stand with some of Caiaphas’ guards and servants who are warming themselves before a fire.  One of the guards asks Peter, “Aren’t you one of His disciples?”  Again, Peter says, “No,” and turns away to go and sit by the wall.  Another servant is sitting there, and she asks Peter, “Aren’t you with Him?”  “No!” Peter exclaims, jumping to his feet.  But just as he does this, he hears the crowing of a rooster and remembers Jesus’ words to him at supper earlier that night.  He hangs his head in shame and runs back out through the gate, sobbing.  Annas and Caiaphas begin to question Jesus, asking Him about His apostles and His teachings.  But Jesus simply replies, “You have seen and heard what I have been teaching.  Nothing I have said or done has been hidden.  Ask the people who have come to Me, and you will get the answers you require.”  One of the Temple guards steps forward and hits Jesus in the face with the back of his hand.  “How dare You speak to the High Priest in that way!” he says.  “If I have spoken anything but the truth, it is your burden to prove.  There is no cause to hit Me, since I do speak the Truth,” Jesus replies calmly.  Caiaphas brings out the people to testify against Jesus.  But many contradict each other’s stories, so their testimonies are useless.  Two men finally come and testify that Jesus said He would completely destroy the Temple and then rebuild it in three days.  Caiaphas looks at Jesus and says, “Well?  Don’t You have anything to say for Yourself?”  Jesus simply looks into his eyes, saying nothing.  Caiaphas is seething with fury.  “I demand that You tell Me in plain language – in the Name of Almighty God – are You or are You not the Messiah, God’s Son?”  Jesus stares into his eyes and says, “You have said it.  And at the end of time you will see the Son of Man sitting enthroned at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of glory.”  Caiaphas leaps from his chair and tears his robe in rage.  “You insult Almighty God!  There is no need for testimonies, You have condemned Yourself by Your own words!”  He turns to the members of the Sanhedrin, seated around the room.  “What say you?”  “Guilty!”  “Crucify Him!”  People are all shouting at once, vehemently in favor of putting Jesus to death.  They surround Him and begin to spit in His face, beating Him mercilessly.  One says, mockingly, “Show us You are a true prophet and tell us who just hit You!”

 

Matthew 26:57-75, Mark 14:53-72, Luke 22:54-65, John 18:12-27