Jesus has arrived in
He knows what lies before Him and takes full advantage of each day to announce Himself to the nation as her Messiah and Savior, as well as prepare the disciples for the inevitable response of the leaders to His claim.
As we’ve seen over the last couple weeks, each evening Jesus
left the city and made the short trek to the
Then, early each morning He returned to the City, went to the courtyard of the temple and taught that crowds that gathered there from all over the world to celebrate the Passover.
It was during these sessions that the leaders came and tested Him.
Though He passed their tests with flying colors, they only hardened in their determination to get rid of Him.
1Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover.
What Luke says here in v. 1 could be a little confusing to us non-Jewish types.
The Feast of Unleavened Bread
lasted a week and commemorated the Exodus, when
Their bread, a daily staple of their diet, was not allowed to rise.
So they commemorated the Exodus by eating unleavened bread for a week.
The first day of the week was
– the last meal they ate in
2And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people.
While the leadership of
The social situation in
Suffice it to say that the leadership of the nation, the aristocracy, was not well-liked by the common people.
The aristocracy held their position by buddying up to the Romans while the common people felt themselves being increasingly pressed by the hated foreigners.
More and more of their rights were being taken away at the same time that taxes were increasing.
For the last 3 years Jesus had shown great compassion for & tenderness toward the common people while at the same time challenging the leaders.
He never questioned their authority – only the abuse of their office when they openly sought to challenge Him.
The rulers wanted desperately to get rid of Him but knew the people wouldn’t stand for it.
Jesus was their hero, their champion. So they couldn’t move against Him openly by just going and arresting Him one day while He was in the temple.
For sure, a riot would ensue.
3Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. 4So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. 5And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude.
A public arrest wasn’t possible; they needed some quiet way to dispense with Him.
The answer came in the form of Judas, one of the disciples who sought them out and agreed to betray Jesus to them.
Judas would inform them of a good time & place to find Jesus alone.
Judas himself would make sure they apprehended the right guy by leading them to the place, then identifying Jesus to the temple police who would make the arrest in the name of the High priest.
Luke tells us in v. 3 that Satan entered Judas. What does this mean?
God isn’t the only One who’s looking to use men & women; Satan is too.
We read in the temptation of Jesus in the wilderness that following the 3rd unsuccessful attempt to get Jesus to sin, the devil left Him for another more opportune time. [Luke 4:13]
That time came much later when Peter suggested Jesus didn’t need to go to the cross.
Remember Jesus’ rebuke? “Get behind me Satan!” [Matt 16:23]
Now the devil attacks again – by using Judas.
But Judas could only have been used if he’d opened himself up to be used.
Here was a man who’d had ample proof of who Jesus was.
For 3 years he been one of the disciples, privileged to witness the miracles and hear the incredible teaching of Jesus.
This was a man who’d had every opportunity to experience the TRUTH in a personal and tangible way.
Yet, when it came down to the crucial decision on what to do with the truth, he rejected it.
Listen – it is a very scary thing to turn your back on Christ.
It’s dangerous in the extreme to hear the Word of God, to see the evidences of His power & love, yet count it as worthless.
You see, there comes a point when the fact of the matter is – a person KNOWS the gospel is TRUE.
It’s the moment of revelation the Holy Spirit brings to all people.
The gospels tell us Judas was a greedy & conniving thief.
Jesus’ invitation to be a disciple was an invitation to forsake all that and become something wonderful and new.
But Judas refused the offer to change while keeping the role of follower.
He hoped Jesus would turn out to be
the Messiah, and when He finally took the throne of
Jesus was little more than a meal ticket to Judas.
For 3 years he’d been given many opportunities to re-evaluate his motives.
Jesus had even allowed him to be an instrument of righteousness when he went out to preach and heal in Jesus’ name.
But in the end, Judas clung to his base motives.
Jesus had made it clear to the disciples that He would soon suffer and die.
Judas hadn’t signed on for such a future; he’d wanted glory & position.
So like a rat fleeing a sinking ship, Judas decided to cash out.
If Jesus wouldn’t set him up, then he’d make what profit he could off Jesus by cutting a deal with the rulers.
7 Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. 8 And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” 9 So they said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare?” 10 And He said to them, “Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. 11 Then you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?” ’ 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.” 13 So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover.
The Passover meal was taken together with family.
This is Jesus’ family so He tells Peter & John to go get things ready.
They ask how & where? A good question when we remember there wasn’t
an empty room in all
Just a couple decades after this, Cestius, the governor of
Nero hated the Jews & downplayed the importance of their faith.
To convince Nero just how serious they were & how volatile things could be Cestius took a census of the lambs offered at Passover.
The number was over a quarter million!
Since the law laid down that there was to be a minimum of 10 people per
lamb, that meant would have been more than 2½ million people in
Whether Jesus had made prior arrangements with someone for this room, or its availability was a complete miracle we can’t be sure.
What IS a miracle is the way Peter & John would find it.
Jesus told them to head into the city and look for a man carrying a water pitcher.
Water fetching was woman’s work – men did not do it.
So when Jesus told them to look for a man with a pitcher of water, they didn’t need further details – though they probably thought, “Yeah, like we’re going to see that!!”
Sure enough, they did – & following the guy they came to a home with a perfect location to celebrate the meal.
Once the room was secured, they went out to acquire the fixings & got things ready.
14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the
twelve apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this
Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the
We covered this Sunday.
21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” 23 Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.
Having spoken of the breaking of His body & the shedding of His blood, He now tells them how the ordeal of His death will begin – by a betrayal.
And by one who was of their number.
After having spent the last 3 years together, they thought they all knew one another & could not fathom who would do such a thing.
Curious they didn’t all know it was Judas. They had no idea who it was.
Judas didn’t have little horns poking up out of his head, a pointed tail & a forked tongue that slithered out of his mouth.
He’d managed to blend in nicely with the others.
Over the last few years I’ve seen men who I thought were solid, up-standing men of God, true disciples who followed Jesus closely, fall away.
I’ve watched them follow in Judas’ footsteps.
In light of the startling revelation that one of them would betray Jesus what Luke records next seems a bit strange.
24 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest.
Maybe it isn’t too hard to see how the their conversation could devolve into this.
Jesus tells them one of them will betray Him.
As they talk about who it is, each of them protests he can’t be the one because he’s such a good follower, so devoted to Jesus.
That quickly turns into a bunch of claims as to who’s the best disciple, who follows closest.
A debate ensues as to which of them will get the juiciest appointments in the coming Kingdom.
The perennial point of tension among the disciple once again flares into full-fledged battle – Who’s the Greatest.
They renew their habit of setting the disciples’ pecking order.
I imagine this had to be a moment of intense sorrow for Jesus.
Here they are at the Passover, this wonderful holiday He’s just used to hold forth to them the glory of an even greater redemption.
But one that will only come through His death.
He’s made it clear that the time left to them is very short – and they chose to spend it like this?? Bickering over who’d best?
Have they learned nothing in the last 3 years?
If it were you & I, we’d probably just walk out, or throw up pour hands in frustration & let them have it with a serious tongue lashing!
Jesus is patient with them. And uses their foolishness to once again teach a vital lesson.
25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves.
In the world’s way of doing things, greatness resides in those who sit at the top with everyone under them.
Kings do not serve, they are served. Those in authority use it to dominate others.
Worldly greatness gets special titles that remind everyone under them that they ARE under them.
Jesus gently but firmly rebukes the disciples by reminding them that the world’s ways are not their ways.
The principles of God’s Kingdom are not the same as the world’s.
Among Jesus’ followers, greatness is defined by those who serve and those who take the position of the younger.
In the ancient world, the eldest son was the son of privilege.
The father’s estate was passed on to him. The family fortune and name all were his.
His younger brothers’ futures were at his mercy.
The younger spoke of no authority, privilege, or rights.
Jesus is NOT saying that His followers HAVE no authority, privilege, or rights.
In Christ we have incredible authority, unmatched privilege, and the awesome right to become the children of God.
Jesus is saying that as His followers we’re not to count greatness in things that would set us OVER others.
Kingdom-greatness is defined by humility & service.
It’s seen by using our authority, privilege, & rights to help others, not ourselves.
We’re given authority to preach the good news and to heal the needy.
We’re privileged to come boldly before God’s throne to find grace and help in time of need.
We’re given the right as God’s children to live as lights in the darkness, showing the lost how to find their way home to heaven.
27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.
In a society familiar with slavery, this was a great illustration.
The master sits while the servant serves him.
The picture of a slave sitting while his master served him was ludicrous.
Yet Jesus calls up exactly that image by reminding them that from the beginning He’s diligently served.
Though God incarnate, He’s traveled the face of the land to meet the needs of the poorest and neediest – people who could never repay Him.
It’s sad to see the way the Church has abandoned what Jesus says here & has moved so far away from it.
Whenever we assign special titles like “clergy” to certain people & call them to don special vestments to distinguish them from the laity, we’ve rejected what Jesus says here.
Much of Church history is nothing but the story of church leaders using their authority to dominate & control others.
When God calls a man or woman to a position of authority in the Church, it’s to serve – not lord.
There is no “clergy” or “laity” in the Body of Christ. We’re all just members with different jobs.
The senior pastor of a local church ought to be the servant of every other member.
He ought not have the best parking space by the front door with a sign saying, “Reserved for Pastor.”
He gets no sign & parks in the stall farthest from the door.
There’s no task too menial; from cleaning toilets to hosing the lot & emptying the trash.
We Christians need to make sure we’ve embraced Jesus’ call to servanthood & renounced the world’s pre-occupation with power & position.
There’s a way to tell if we really have adopted a servant’s mindset:
How do you react when you’re treated like one?
If someone treats me like a servant & I become indignant, then it only means I’m not really a servant; I’m just acting – which makes me a hypocrite.
The person who serves with joy, who takes delight in serving & doesn’t get bummed out when no ones sees or praises or shows appreciation, has discovered what Jesus means by being a servant.
There’s something I’ve noticed about genuine servants; they’re sensitive to other servants and seek to make their lives easier.
You see, servanthood is a mindset that has its own culture.
If you visit another country that speaks a different language & has a different culture, you will find yourself keeping an ear peeled for other Americans.
Once you find them, you will gravitate toward them and will soon have your own little group going, sharing your common culture & language.
The same is true of servants.
Let me give an example – and it’s one that could get me into some hot water with my pastor friends.
Every year at the pastor’s conference at Murrieta, for meals we sit at round tables that seat 8 guys.
The conference center staff & Bible school students serve us by bringing the courses of the meal and making sure we have enough to drink.
I love to sit and watch the guys at the table and how they treat the servers.
Either they sit up straight and greet the servers, extending hands to assist in getting the dishes placed, . . .
Or they ignore them & make them work around them, offering no assistance whatsoever.
These are the guys who are busy yakking with another pastor they want to impress.
They’re all into the size of their church, what ministries they’ve started & how well things are going.
The pastors who see themselves as servants instead of lords are mindful of the needs of the servants around them & want to make their lives & jobs easier because as servants themselves, they know what service is.
When we have a men’s fellowship, Jim always asks who can stay & help clean up afterward. It’s always the same guys – because they GET IT – they’re servants.
Other guys will hang around and chat, but they don’t help clean up.
Some of them will even chat with a guys who’re sweeping, washing dishes, or trying to vacuum the floor.
28“But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. 29And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
The disciples had been debating the issue of greatness among them because they thought it would effect who got the plumest positions in the Messianic Kingdom, which they thought Jesus was about to usher in.
Though their timing was off, Jesus affirms that as the original disciples they will indeed enjoy a special place in the coming Kingdom.
He tells them they will be
appointed the role of judging the nation & people of
In Revelation John sees 24 elders sitting on 24 thrones around the throne of God.
24 is twice 12; 12 being the number of government in scripture.
So many scholars think the 24
thrones represent the leadership of
If so, then 12 of those thrones are occupied by the apostles.
But wait – how many apostles are there?
Judas fell – leaving 11. Who’s the 12th?
Probably not God’s choice. Who was?
31And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” 33But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” 34Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
This is my text for Sunday.
35 And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?” So they said, “Nothing.” 36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37 For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’ For the things concerning Me have an end.” 38 So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”
This passage is troubling for 2 reasons.
The first is the one Jesus Himself identifies in v. 35.
When He’d sent them out to preach and heal earlier, He’d told them to take no provisions but to trust in the providence and provision of God working through the kindness of others.
Why the change now?
The answer lies in v. 37. Jesus quotes from
His rejection by & execution at the hands of the rulers marks a major turning point.
At the cross mankind will take a fatal step in it’s rebellion against God.
And as a result, all of creation will be pushed further into the curse.
The world will grow more and more dangerous, the days darker, evil more heinous.
And as the winds of hell blow more fiercely over the earth, it will be more difficult for the people of God, for those who walk against the wind.
So they will need to take thought for their provision, including protection.
And that brings us to the second difficult thing here; why does Jesus say they ought to get a sword?
This seems contrary to everything He’s taught so far.
Not only has Jesus forbid the use of violence in an offensive capacity, He’s also said it’s not to be used in a defensive manner to personal attacks.
He’s said that we’re blessed when were persecuted for His name’s sake, and foretold that some of His followers would even be put to death for their faith.
So where in all that is there a call to take a violent defensive stand?
I have to tell you that this passage confounds many scholars.
William Barclay finds what we read here so troubling he refuses to attribute it to Jesus at all and doesn’t even include it in his commentary!
The textual evidence is clear Luke wrote this and Jesus said it.
So how do we understand it?
Balancing it with the rest of scripture, and not so watering it down that it makes no sense, I think we can conclude that Jesus means the sword to be for general defense against the challenges the disciples will face from nature as they go out to fulfill the Great Commission.
While they aren’t to use force either offensively or defensively against men & women who attack them personally, they can & ought to defend themselves from wild beasts & from wanton evil as is demonstrated during a riot or in mob violence.
Again, when someone attacks us personally with a motive to harm us specifically, we’re not to retaliate.
That’s what it means to turn the other cheek.
But random violence which isn’t personal, it’s just an expression of destructive evil, that can and should be opposed, stopped, checked, halted, because it endangers not just you as an individual but the innocents.
You can tell me how much you loath me & punch me in the gut & I’ll do nothing.
But if you come rioting & looting down my street, threatening my neighbors, I’ll do my best to stop you.
When the disciples produced 2 swords, Jesus told them that was sufficient.
A sword was equivalent to a gun.
Interesting that a couple of the disciples were “packing.”
And Jesus had never told them to get rid of their swords.
The Passover now finished, they left the city & retired to a place Jesus liked to go.
39 Coming out, He went to the
Matthew & Mark tell us the name of the place was
But neither of them call it a garden. Only John calls it that, but doesn’t call it
Luke calls it neither a garden nor
Olive oil was a major commodity, so it’s to be expected there’d be an olive press there.
This press was located in a garden, but don’t think of it as a bunch of flowers.
The ancient garden was less a bunch of flower beds as it was a shady spot under some trees.
Real estate in
These gardens were separated from each other by waist high stone walls and could range pretty widely in size.
When we go to
While the place is billed as the
A really good spot is located at the base of the Mt. where there’s a little cave & an ancient church.
In a wall of the cave is a hole that once held the end of an olive press pole.
40When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
Jesus knew things were winding up & soon they would all be put to the test when the police came to arrest Him.
41And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”
By “cup”, Jesus meant the coming suffering.
Here we see the humanity of Jesus in full display.
He knew what lay before Him—how the entire sin of all history would be placed on Him.
He knew that the Father, with whom He’d enjoyed unbroken, undiminished fellowship for eternity past would have to be suspended as He was made sin.
The prospect of that loss of the connection pained Him so deeply He asked if there might be some other way.
But as God, He knew the cross was the only way – and He resigned Himself to the Father’s will.
43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. 45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”
Jesus was experiencing the ultimate in emotional stress.
So great was the trauma that He experienced a rare condition called Hematidrosis; the tiny capillaries in his forehead burst into the sweat glands, producing a copious amount of red-tinged sweat that runs down the face and drips from the nose & chin.
Matthew tells us Jesus prayed the same prayer 3 times.
Returning to the disciples after the 1st & 2nd times He found them snoozing & woke then, calling them to pray against temptation.
After the 3rd round, He returned to find them still asleep & let them alone.
Because they’d slept when they ought to have prayed, when the trial Jesus warned them about came – they weren’t prepared for it and failed.
Good lesson – the best way to defeat temptation is to be prayed up.
Temptation aims at breaking your fellowship with God through sin.
What better way to prepare for temptation than to renew & strengthen your fellowship?
There’s an ancient principle of warfare that says; he who holds the high ground has a great advantage.
Two armies face each other on the battlefield.
Because they’re at the same level, all they see is the front line, stretched as far as the eye can see in either direction.
Neither side knows how deep the line goes; it might be 2 rows, 5 rows, 2,000 rows deep.
The general who only stays on the front line will only see the enemy’s strength.
But if he ascends the hill the lies in the center of his camp and looks from high ground, now he can see the depth of the enemy’s force.
As he looks, he sees that the ranks of the enemy are 20 rows deep everywhere except in one place just to the right of center; there the enemy has only a single row.
Now the general knows right were to strike and deal the enemy a crippling blow.
Hit that weak spot and he’ll be able to divide the enemy into 2 groups which can be quickly flanked and rolled up.
If all we ever do is face the enemy on the field of temptation, we’ll be discouraged at how strong he appears.
We must ascend the heights of prayer, spending time with the Lord.
As we do, He’ll show us how to overcome temptation.
Have you ever fallen asleep while praying? I have.
[Closing eyes, bowing head – no wonder! If a problem, do something different]
47And while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to kiss Him.
While the kiss carries a strong connotation of intimacy for
us, in the ancient oriental world of the
Disciples usually greeted their rabbi this way.
Apparently Judas thought Jesus wouldn’t catch on and would see the kiss as just his customary greeting.
What – did he think Jesus wouldn’t know he’d come with the mob?
Having heard Jesus’ announcement at Supper that one would betray Him that night, did He think what he was doing wasn’t a fulfillment of what Jesus had said.
Judas is trying to pass himself off as still one of the 12.
What a colossal fool!
But that’s the point. No one is a bigger fool that the one who knows the truth, then willingly walks away from it.
While Judas was probably mentally counting the price of the betrayal he’d collected from the priests, and thinking about how he could spend it – he was unaware that in just a few hours he’d be so filled with shame, so embarrassed at what he’d done, that he kill himself.
But now, he’s thinking – “I know what I’ll do – I’ll get one of those new 32 AD Mercedes Chariot 450’s. Red, with black leather upholstery.
Chalice holders. Premium sound, power steering, & in-dash navigation.”
48But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
As I said, a kiss was an act of friendship.
Jesus asks Judas if he really intends to hide his treachery behind the mask of being a friend. What a snake.
But the question was meant to cause Judas to stop & think & repent of his sin.
If he had, would God have forgiven him? Of course.
Well, what about vs. 22 where Jesus said . . .
And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”
Jesus said this because He knew Judas was not going to repent.
Just because God knows people are going to reject Him doesn’t hinder Him from convicting them?
Just because Jesus knows most will reject Him doesn’t stop Him from paying the price for their sins, despite what some Calvinists might say.
The condemnation of the lost is all more real and significant precisely BECAUSE Jesus died for their sins too and the Spirit convicted them of their need of Christ.
Just like Judas, no one will be able to say to God, “I didn’t know!”
Or “I didn’t have a chance.”
God’s got the tapes and He’ll be able to cue up many times when the lost heard, and felt that tug on their hearts.
He’ll replay that crucial moment when the truth came full-force to them & they stared it down & walked away.
49When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”
They wanted to know if this was the moment He’d spoken of earlier.
50And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
John tells us it was Peter who dealt the blow that cut this guy’s ear off.
Peter was a fisherman, not a soldier; he didn’t know how to wield a sword.
But Jesus’ earlier words to him about denying the Lord had set him to prove Jesus wrong when the challenge came.
Well, here’s a challenge, and Peter jumps to prove himself.
Fortunately his was a poor stroke.
51 But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.
Jesus made it clear that this was not the time for swords.
This is not the kind of thing He’d referred to earlier.
Jesus had been telling them for weeks that this is what lay before Him. This was the path he had to tread.
If the disciples had remained awake & listened to his thrice repeated prayer, they would have known Jesus intended to go with these guys.
How very strange it had to be for the temple police who came to arrest Him.
John tells us that when they asked Jesus to verify his identity, at the mention of His name, they all fell backward to the ground, as if knocked over by a mighty hand.
Then, they watch while He refuses to call His followers to protect Him.
When one of them gets out of control & slashes off the servant of the high priest’s ear, Jesus then heals it.
I’ll tell you what; I’m part of that group of temple police, I’m talking to the other guys about the wisdom of obeying our orders!!!
It might be Judas I’d be wanting to arrest – for the crime of colossal idiocy!
52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
They’d not been brave enough to arrest Him in the temple because of the crowds.
The group who’d come to arrest Him now carried weapons just in case Jesus’ followers decided to defend Him.
Jesus marks their cowardice.
54 Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance. 55 Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.” 57 But he denied Him, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.” 58 And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” 59 Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!” Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
It was dark, in the early hours of the morning when they arrested Jesus.
Jewish trials could only be conducted during daylight hours, so they hauled Jesus to the home of the high priest while messengers were sent to gather up the Jewish court, the Sanhedrin.
While they waited, fires were started in the courtyard of the high priest’s home.
Peter sat and warmed himself by the fire, and as he did, someone recognized Him as one of the disciples.
He denied it. But someone else did that same, then a third time.
Each time – he protested with great vigor.
While still speaking the words of the 3rd denial, a rooster crowed – triggering Peter’s realization he’d just fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy.
Probably reflexively, Peter glanced over to where Jesus was & saw Him looking at him.
Smitten with guilt, Peter fled and gave himself over to the most abject sorrow.
This man, so self-assured & confident in His faithfulness toward Jesus; when the mob came to the garden with weapons in hand, he was ready to fight.
But when a little serving girl challenged him, he faltered.
And that failure paved the way for another, and another – and how many more might have followed had not Jesus intervened through a word of prophecy, a rooster’s call, and a look?
We need to realize that our greatest strength can often be the point of our greatest weakness.
A strength not yielded to God can become a point of pride and self-confidence that becomes an opening for the evil.
Peter’s strength was courage.
Put him in front of an armed mob, and he’s ready to battle.
He counts himself strong, so when a more subtle challenge comes, he doesn’t see it for what it is & slips.
A married man loves his wife & would never think about cheating on her.
A gal at work decides to try & seduce him & uses not an ounce of subtlety; she’s a brazen hussy & flirts with him openly.
He makes it real clear he has no interest in her whatsoever & tells her to leave him alone.
He goes home that night feeling really good about himself for the way he’s protected his marriage.
But as he’s flipping through the channels on TV, there’s a racy program he pauses to watch.
And as He does, the hooks are lust set in his soul.
The next week he thumbs through a girly magazine at work.
Then he finds himself on the internet looking at stuff he shouldn’t.
Any strength we possess that isn’t based on dependence on Christ becomes a weakness.
And the devil is a master at warfare. He knows how to turn our strengths into a trap.
He makes a brazen play only to appeal to our pride at how strong we are, then comes in a side way while we’re reveling in our victory.
The Babylonians thought their city walls were impregnable. They proved their undoing.
The city of
They thought their walls could not be breached & so failed to set watchmen on them.
Both the Persians & the Greeks took the city by sneaking in.
63 Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. 64 And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him, saying, “Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?” 65 And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him.
These were the Jewish temple police.
This is just the beginning of the violence Jesus will suffer.
66 As soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying, 67 “If You are the Christ, tell us.” But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will by no means believe. 68 And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go. 69 Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.” 70 Then they all said, “Are You then the Son of God?” So He said to them, “You rightly say that I am.” 71 And they said, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”
Luke greatly condenses the story of the trial.
Witnesses were brought who made false claims.
When it became clear that the council’s trial was a sham & stood in danger of being called a mockery even they could not tolerate, they ceased trying to find others who could lay a charge against Him and just asked Him to condemn Himself – even though this was against Jewish law.
A man could not be forced to incriminate Himself.
And a crime worthy of capital punishment required multiple witnesses who all agreed.
So, frustrated in their attempts to condemn Jesus, they finally just turn to Him & ask Him to commit blasphemy.
Of course, it isn’t blasphemy because He IS the Son of God.
But in their thinking, it is, and is a crime worthy of death. They are all witnesses to it.