Saturday, February 19, 2022

Whom To Trust

Bobservations Column
Pastor Bob Lawrenz

From His “arrest” in the Gethsemane, Jesus is taken to the palace of Caiaphas the High Priest to answer charges before the Priest and the Sanhedrin. It is likely to be late in the evening since Judas came to the garden with a crowd carrying swords and staves, well after dinner.

A kiss of betrayal told the crowd which of the Twelve was Jesus. Oddly enough, the crowd would not have known who to lay hold of were it not for that kiss. The crowd did not otherwise know which of the Twelve was Jesus. They literally did not know Him. And they were likely unfamiliar with His teachings. They were acting only at the direction of the trusted High leaders of the Temple, who had conspired against Him among themselves. And they took Him off to Caiaphas for interrogation.

Peter had followed afar off and went into the palace grounds. His clothing and his speech betrayed him as a Galilean. And when asked about his affiliation to Jesus, “Surely thou also art one of them…” And as Jesus had warned Peter, he indeed had denied all knowledge of the Lord three times. Coming towards dawn, the cock crowed, and Jesus had once again revealed how thoroughly He knows each one of us.

Through the next hours, He is taken to Pilate, who sends Jesus to Herod, and is then returned to Pilate. But we also briefly see Judas, as it dawns on Him that the Priests and Sanhedrin revealed their true intent to do away with the Lord. While the Lord knows us inside and out, we do not necessarily know whom it is we can trust in our dealings with them. But learning that his payment from them was “blood money,” their intent was now clear to the betrayer. Judas was remorseful even before they put Jesus on the cross, and he went out and hanged himself.
"It is better to trust the word of the Lord, rather than to put our trust in man, or Princes" - Psalm 118:8-9

Today's Audio Message:
Matthew 26:68 - 27:26 - "Whom to Trust"

As we continue our study in the Book of Matthew, Jesus has already gone through a sham of a trial with the Jewish leaders in the courtyard of the high priest. They end up declaring that He was a blasphemer and that He deserves death.

At this point, the problem for the Jewish leaders is that they cannot legally execute someone; that authority lies with the Romans. The Jewish leaders will now try to convince the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, to sentence Jesus to death.

Today's message, "Whom to Trust" is appropriately titled.  As we look at the people surrounding our Lord after His arrest, we will clearly see whom these people have placed their trust, and the end result of trusting in anything or anyone other than the Son of God. 

From Peter's pride, putting trust in His own strength and will power, and Judas foolishly trusting false spiritual leaders to force his own agenda, to the unbelieving multitude, God's own chosen people who had a sense of entitlement.  These unbelieving Jews wanted their national freedom, not a Savior to free them from their sin. They didn't want God's kingdom of which Jesus spoke of, they wanted to be free from Rome.   Barabas fit the bill.  He
 had shown violent zeal for Jewish freedom, and he was willing to fight the Romans to achieve it.  Jesus obviously was not.  Jesus came to free them from the bondage of sin, and the punishment for sin. In fact, Jesus tells Pilate that His kingdom is not of this world: 

"Then Pilate entered into the judgment hall again, and called Jesus, and said unto him, Art thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered him, Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me? Pilate answered, Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: what hast thou done? Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." John 18:33-36

Today we will take a look at all these betrayals, and how each dealt with their sin.  Peter ultimately repents and his faith is restored.  Judas realizes he had been deceived by the false religious leaders and commits suicide.  As to the unbelieving Jews, the Jewish nation did indeed suffer for their rejection of their Messiah. On His way to the cross, Jesus hints at a coming judgment (Luke 23:31). Within one generation of the crucifixion of Christ, Jerusalem was totally destroyed by the Romans. The Jews were scattered, and for almost 1,900 years (until 1948), they had no homeland. There were spiritual ramifications, as well, as the gospel was brought to the more receptive Gentiles (see Acts 18:6). The apostle Paul likens the Gentiles’ inclusion in salvation to wild branches being grafted into a cultivated olive tree. The Jews (the natural branches) are not completely forsaken: “And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.” (Romans 11:23).

The true mark of a true believer is how they respond to sin. They will have godly sorrow which leads to repentance, forgiveness, and restoration. They put into practice 1 John 1:9 of confessing their sin and receiving forgiveness and cleansing from the Lord. The true Christian will be grieved at the alienation that sin brings between them and the Lord. They will want their fellowship with Jesus restored. Sin in the life of a true Christian brings godly sorrow unto life.

For the one who has a false profession and the non-Christian, sin brings the worldly sorrow of remorse and regret. Their self-centered nature will keep them from turning to the Lord for forgiveness and direction because their concern will be how the sin affects them personally, not on the fact that the Lord has been offended. The result will be that they will be left in their sin along with its guilt and its consequences of eternal death.


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