Friday, March 10, 2017

Jesus In Front Of Pilate

Related image

            “They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.
            Meanwhile, Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ ‘Yes, it is as you say’ Jesus replied. When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. The Pilate asked him, ‘Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?’ But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.” Matt. 27:2, 11- 12 (NIV)

            It has always amazed me that Jesus does not respond to the questions of the chief priests or to most of those asked by Pilate. The one He answers is, simply put, that He is the King of the Jews. Can we liken this to captured soldiers of later centuries giving their name rank and serial number? By this I mean all He said gave His identity.

            He is the King of the Jews and those who believe in Him. We don’t know what else Pilate asks Him nor should we try to guess.

            Whenever I had a difficult question about life, I used to say, “I’ll ask Jesus that when I see Him.” Then, almost immediately, the question didn’t seem to matter to me any longer. Could it be that Jesus is telling me that the only thing that matters is that He is King?

            From time to time, we have persons in our lives who feel they have to respond to everything they hear. As we mature in the faith, we who may have had this same character trait learn not to react to the thoughts we hear. We need to ask Jesus to guide us to when we face times of hearing about different issues that affect those around us.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Jesus’ Betrayer

Image result for judas iscariot in the bible

“Then one of the Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests and asked, “What would you give me if I handed him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.”
Matthew 26:14-16(NIV)

            Judas was the treasurer of the disciples. He held the purse strings, so to speak. We don’t believe he decided to betray Jesus on the spur of the moment. This could have been his plan all along. He might have even thought about dipping his hand into the purse before.

            Further reading in this chapter has the disciples planning the group’s celebration of the Passover. He instructs them to tell a certain man who owns the house where they will gather.
He tells them to say, “The teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’”

            During the celebration, Jesus announces that one on his disciples will betray him. Judas actually tries to deny that he’s the culprit. But Jesus doesn’t let him get away with it.

            Later in the evening, Judas arrives at the garden of Gethsemane, leading a group of misguided men. Judas greets Jesus with a kiss, a prearranged signal for the group to arrest the Lord.

            In the next chapter (Chapter27), Judas is overcome with shame because of what he had done. His words are memorable, Ï have sinned for I have betrayed innocent blood.” The priests chose to have nothing to do with the fact they had paid Judas to do the dirty work of betrayal. Judas became so angry about how the priests reacted that he threw the money ïnto the temple and left,”(Matthew 27:5) He went out and took his own life.

            The priests couldn’t receive the money because it was “blood money.” They bought a field and used it to bury foreigners.

            In these scenes, the only one who acted admirably was Jesus. Judas Iscariot made a series of horrible decisions that he quickly regretted. He felt remorse for his behavior and tried to right the wrong. He chose to end his life because of his anguish. The priests acted shamefully. They wanted Jesus out of their lives, no matter the cost. In their shortsightedness, I believe they didn’t count on Judas’ trying to return the money. I also believe they were not remorseful that Judas met the end he did.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Master and the Chief Priests

Image result for jesus before the chief priests

“When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, ‘As you know, the Passover is in two days—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” The chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they plotted against Jesus in some sly way and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said “or there may be a riot among the people.’”  Matthew 26:1-5 (NIV)

            Jesus has just spoken to his disciples about the end times to come. Here, He reminds them of the upcoming Passover. But that’s not all he shares; He tells them He will be seized and given to the authorities to be crucified.

            What could have gone through the disciple’s minds? What emotions, what thoughts?

            Some of these followers might have felt intense sorrow. “Oh, no! It can’t be.” These men may have felt foolish. They had left their jobs and their families to follow Him. “Will my family accept my returning to them?” Others may have experienced fear. “If they do this to the Master what would they do to us?”

            The chief priests chose to meet in a clandestine meeting to scheme ways to kill Jesus. However, they chose to wait until after the Passover festival, expressing fear of causing a riot among the people.

            The disciples became uneasy about the words they heard the Master speak. The religious authorities chose to plot to kill Him. They were fearful how the people would react to the event.

            Had you and I been one of Christ’s disciples, what would we have thought when we heard these words?  Had you or I been one of the chief priests, what would we have done or said to “remedy the problem at hand?”

            The chief priests waited for a scape- goat to come along and do their dirty work for them. When Judas returned to them and tried to give back the money, they denied any part in the plot that led to Jesus’ crucifixion.

Fear, Courage: God Is With Us  Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD ...