Saturday, February 12, 2022

Betrayal, Lies and Caiaphas

Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

Building on last week’s text, we begin today in the Garden of Gethsemane. It is essentially a Garden Orchard of Olive trees, a peaceful grove of well-worn paths, olive trees, and rocks. It must have been a favorite place for Jesus to go for some quiet time, for Judas the traitor knew exactly where to bring the soldiers and priests of Jerusalem.

Last week we found certain Apostles falling asleep after their Passover Feast. (It must have been something akin to the after-effects of one of our Thanksgiving celebrations. Full stomachs, and heavy eye lids!) Nonetheless, Peter, John and James kept falling asleep after the Lord ask them three times to pray with him. Like all the Apostles, they had been warned about the events of the days ahead, well, “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” But the time for praying (or sleeping) came to an end.

Jesus said to them, “Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.”

Quite literally, there was no more time left to escape, or to hide. But in His previous and final prayer to the Father, Jesus had relinquished His will to the Father, an affirmation of the obedience and subjection of the Son to the Father.

Have you ever prayed like that? Seeing what lay ahead; boxed into a corner with no e scape from what’s coming? But eventually, just giving yourself over to God’s watchful, loving, and protective hand?

Truly, what can man do to us that Jesus hasn’t already overcome? It is then when we hear that still small voice of the Holy Spirit say: “Follow me.” Perhaps we think that we are going through hell, but the voice of the Lord tells us to keep going through to the other side. “Hell” has an end.
“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" - 1 Peter 1:7

Today's Audio Message:
"Betrayal, Lies, and Caiaphas" - Matthew 26:40-68


As we continue on in Matthew chapter 26, we are already aware that Jesus knew Judas would betray Him, that Jesus knew He would be arrested, and that Jesus knew His disciples would abandon Him.

Jesus is ready for this, and He clearly states in verse 56, “. . . all this has happened so that the writings of the prophets would be fulfilled.”

As Jesus speaks of a fulfillment of Scripture and prophecy it is best to view what He is speaking of as the collection of prophecies and Scripture written about Him, His purpose on earth, and the events leading to the end of His life on earth. Everything is coming together. Jesus’ time has come.

Of all the events that happened that night, the most significant of them all was the willingness of our Savior to die on the cross in our place in order to pay the penalty for our sins. God “made Him who knew no sin, to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” - 2 Corinthians 5:21. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Last week we learned that after Jesus and the disciples left the upper room, they had traveled the short distance to the Mount of Olives. Jesus tells his disciples to sit a while He goes to pray taking with him Peter, James and John.

Scripture tells us that His heart was very heavy, and sorrowful, and He asks the three disciples to tarry with him and watch in prayer. While Jesus prayed in sorrow even to the point of death, the disciples slept. Twice they were entreated by the Lord to pray so that they would not fall into temptation, He prayed, and they slept.  "...the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." - Matthew 26:41

Three times our Lord prayed if it were possible let this cup pass, and three times He yielded to His Father’s will. “Nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt” - Matthew 26:39, 42, 44.

After this intense time of prayer, Jesus was ready. Ready to face what He already knew was heading His way. Judas is leading a great multitude, a mob armed with swords and staves, along with the chief priests and elders to have Jesus arrested.

The Gospel of John explains that it was Judas who not only was betraying Him but was the one who organized the expedition to go and arrest Jesus. He arranges a Roman cohort, that’s about 600 plus men. I wonder why he felt it necessary to organize such a massive group to come after Jesus and the other eleven apostles.

Now with a conscience seared, Judas becomes the betrayer of Jesus. Satan has entered his heart and he betrays Him with a kiss.  Rather than point him out, he chooses to walk up to Jesus, look Him in the eye and embrace Him with a kiss. Judas would wrap his arms around Jesus holding on to Him until the Romans could bind His hands and arrest Him.

Again, Jesus knew what was going to happen, and how it would happen.

We know that Peter took his sword and smote off the ear of one of the servants of the high priest. Jesus stops this immediately and reminds them that He could call down twelve legions of angels to smite His enemies. All of these things must happen so that the scriptures would be fulfilled.

The disciples deserted Christ as this point. Jesus predicts that, and it came to pass exactly as He had predicted it. When it came down to the very moment of having to take a stand when Christ was taken captive in the garden, “Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled" - Matthew 26:56. When it came down to the moment of trial, they all fled. Oh, the inadequacy of human strength.

Next, we come to the record of the illegal, and unjust trial of Jesus.

In the dark of night, Jesus is transported from the house of Annas to the house of Caiaphas, somewhere near the temple. The scribes and elders are all gathering. There is no public trial. No defense. No one to give testimony for Christ. Nothing. Here they all are at Caiaphas’ house and it's absolutely illegal.

Jesus is confronted by the Sanhedrin, and Caiaphas. They conspire against Him. They had to invent a crime and then try it. They provide false witnesses so that they can put Jesus to death. These chief priests and elders had no problem with lying, falsely accusing, abuse of power, bribery, illegal arrest, illegal trials, and conspiring to kill the Lord.  Their deeds prove what was in their hearts, evil.  They had no love for God, or His Word, they never really were seeking their Messiah.  They desired power and position and used corruption to get it.

While they were unjustly putting Jesus on trial, the reality was that they were the people on trial that day. They showed themselves to be wretched, wicked, sinful, corrupt, unjust men. They rejected the Son of God, their Savior, and there is no remedy for that.

As we look at this scene, a scene in which Jesus suffered greatly at the hands of his enemies, we see Jesus for who He truly is, we see Him as majestic and glorious. He stands pure, perfect, spotless, sinless and holy. The court that tries Him is criminal, wicked and vile. There are only two paths that you can take in this world; one is to affirm the majesty and deity and perfection of Christ and believe on Him, and the other is to stand with those who deny and reject Him.

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