1) Verse 28 would be comical if it were not so sad. “Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.”
The Jewish leaders have just finished plotting murder and physically abusing Jesus and committing perjury and yet they are concerned about ceremonial uncleanness. Somehow, in their own minds, they have rationalized that what they were doing with Jesus was right. That they were still clean in the eyes of God. But before I get all high and holy I have to remind myself that I do the very same thing. Perhaps not to the point of killing someone, but I still find ways to justify my sin and make myself (at least in my own mind) clean before God.
2) Verse 38 is a question that has been around for a long time. “What is truth?” Most people in today’s world have framed the answer in subjective terms. What is true for you may or may not be true for me. But believers take a much more objective approach to this question. Truth is the Word of God! The written and incarnate Word of God. We base our lives on what the Bible says and on who Jesus is. They provide the objective framework for who we are and what we do.
Or at least that’s what we say. Sometimes we act as if the Truth is subjective much like the Jewish leaders did in verse 28. We make it say what we want it to say not what it really says. And in doing so, we grieve the heart of God.
I’m struck in this passage, not by the 3 denials, but by how much Peter loved Jesus. There are two indications of this that stand out to me…
1) Peter and the un-named disciple are the only ones that that have the courage to follow Jesus when He is taken to the high priest. Peter would never have been in a position to deny Jesus if he had not followed Jesus. Where did this courage come from. It was fueled by the love that he had for the Lord. I’m sure the other disciples loved Jesus too – but not to the extent that Peter did.
2) After Peter denies knowing Jesus for the third time, and after the rooster began to crow, the Scriptures tell us that Peter “wept bitterly”. This passage does not give us this information but it is recorded in all three parallel passages in the other gospels. Why John chose not to record it I do not know. I’m sure that with each denial there was this growing tension inside of Peter as he realized what he had just said and done. Then with the crowing of the rooster and the memory of what Jesus had said to him, Peter just could not keep his emotions in check any longer. He loved Jesus so much and knew that he had disappointed Him and the weeping of bitter tears was the only outlet he had.
I wonder why there are so few tears in my life. As often as I disappoint my Savior why do I not weep? What does this say about my love for Jesus?
“Every sin is an act of cosmic treason, a futile attempt to dethrone God in His sovereign authority.”
“Here, then, is the real problem of our negligence. We fail in our duty to study God’s Word not so much because it is difficult to understand, not so much because it is dull and boring, but because it is work. Our problem is not a lack of intelligence or a lack of passion. Our problem is that we are lazy. ”
I’ve been thinking about Judas this week. There are a couple of questions that keep running through my mind that I want to try to answer as best I can.
1) What was it that led Judas to the point that he would betray Jesus? The obvious answer is greed, he did it for the money. But I think there was more behind it than just greed. I think his greed was fueled by disappointment. Judas had been disappointed by Jesus. Jesus did not live up to Judas’ expectations. It had become obvious to Judas that Jesus was not the kind of Messiah that was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. As far as Judas was concerned Jesus was not the Messiah at all. He didn’t talk like a Messiah. He didn’t lead like a Messiah. And He certainly didn’t act like a Messiah. At least not like a Messiah that Judas was looking for. So when it became apparent to Judas that Jesus was not who he thought He was, why not try to profit from His undoing.
2) Why did Jesus choose Judas as a disciple? I can think of at least 2 reasons. First, He did so to demonstrate the magnanimity of His love. Think about it. Jesus knew that Judas would betray Him and still he loved him and gave him every opportunity to turn from his wicked ways and choose Life. It is easy to love those that love you. It is far more difficult to love those that despise you and what you stand for. And yet that is what Jesus did. Secondly, Jesus chose Judas that the Scriptures might be fulfilled. John MacArthur puts it like this:
Prophecy was clear that Christ would be betrayed by a close friend. Why did Jesus choose Judas, then? He chose him to fulfill prophecy–not only the prophecy specifically about Judas, but also the prophecies of His own death. Somebody had to bring it to pass, and Judas was more than willing. God used the wrath of Judas to praise Him, and through the deed that Judas did, He brought salvation. Judas meant it for evil, but God used it for good.
Psalm 41:9, Psalm 55, Zechariah 11:12-13 were all fulfilled in the betrayal.
“Father, again I am reminded of how great Your love is for me in Jesus. And may I always be aware of the great price that was paid for my salvation.”
This entire chapter is a prayer that Jesus prays. Rather than commenting on this prayer I would instead like to offer up a prayer for my church (or any church). Perhaps it is a prayer that many of us can begin intentionally praying for our local body of Christ…
Baruch atah Adonai*. Blessed are You, O Lord our God, who alone is worthy of praise. Your name is exalted above the heavens. You are Jehovah Jireh – God our provider. You are Jehovah Tsudkeinu – God our righteousness. You are Jehovah Shalom, God our peace. You are Jehovah Nissi – God our Banner. You are El Shaddai – the Almighty, All- Sufficient One. Salvation and glory and power belong to You. You reign in majesty. Great and marvelous are Your deeds. You alone are the hope of this world. Blessed are You, O Lord our God, who has given Your life for Your bride, the church. You are rescuer and redeemer. You are our joy.
Baruch atah Adonai. Blessed are You, O Lord our God, who has removed our sins as far as the east is from the west. You have provided a covering for our sin through the blood of Your son and have graciously forgiven our depraved hearts. We confess that we have grievously sinned and turned our backs to You. We confess that everyday we forsake You and dig our own cisterns that cannot hold water. IWe confess that we seek pleasure in the things of this world. We thank You for the promise of Your Word, that “If we confess our sins You are faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
We ask that You would do more than we can even ask or imagine. You are a great God and we would dare to ask You to do great things. Would You raise up sanctified men and women to boldly lead our church with integrity and passion. Would You raise up a generation of students that hunger for truth and seek the satisfaction that only You can give. Would You fuel Your people with a longing to know You and Your incomparable Word. Would Your Spirit move in our body and create small group communities that understand what it means to “go and make disciples.” Would you teach us through the preaching and the teaching of Your Word how to love you with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.We long to be a place where people can find hope and a place where people can call home. Would You transform us more and more into a worshipping community that seeks to glorify You by leading others to follow Jesus, both here and then to the ends of the earth.
Baruch atah Adonai*
(Baruch atah Adona means “Blessed are You, O Lord our God” in Hebrew)
“It would much conduce to the settlement of your heart, to consider that by fretting and discontent you do yourself more injury than all your afflictions could do. Your own discontent is that which arms your troubles with a sting; you make your burden heavy by struggling under it. Did you but lie quietly under the hand of God, your condition would be much more easy than it is.”