Bible Versions and Permissions

Up until January 1, 2018, verses used in each devotional were from the New International Version of the Bible.

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

I will be going back and adding this passage to each page that used an NIV quotation per their website

I will be using the New Century Version in 2018.

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved

I am using the New King James version in 2019

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Settle the Differences, Build the Relationship

January 16 – Matthew 5:25-26

  1. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

While the mantra is that courts provide justice, most of us know someone who would say just the opposite. In fact, since most people equate winning their case with justice, about half the people involved in court cases would say that they didn’t receive justice and therefore don’t trust the courts. If we feel that way today, imagine what must have been happening back in Jesus’s day. 

In truth, though, I don’t believe Jesus is talking about a corrupt court system so much as who we are and how we develop relationships with our friends and even our adversaries. Our problem with the courts is that when someone takes us to court, we think we’re right and we want the court to prove us right rather than settle things out of court. Paul, talking about Christians going to court with other Christians noted that it was better to be wronged than to trust a judge who doesn’t share your values to make the right decision. 

So, what kind of a person are you? Are you someone who needs to be right all the time no matter what it does to people around you, or are you willing to suffer a little indignity for the sake of developing relationships with other people. One of the things that’s hardest for me to remember is that I don’t always have to be right. The way to cure that problem is to remember that we’re always called to love others, even our adversaries. And sometimes, when you’re willing to make peace rather than enforce your “rightness” you’ll find that you make a long-time friend and ally instead of an enemy.

Lord, it is all about You and not about me being right. Remind me of that when I get into disputes with others and teach me to build relationships based on Your grace instead of seeking to destroy people and win my battles.

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Jesus on Trial in the Sanhedrin – Mark 14:53-72

This year I’ve sought to add daily devotionals – which is going back to my roots, and improve the quality of my writing. To do that, I’ve started working with an amazing editor, my wife, who proofreads and offers suggestions on the devotionals and the Bible studies and I now have an alpha reader for the Bible studies who reads through and looks for glaring errors and makes other suggestions. Both of them have already been a big help and I hope you can see the difference in my writing. With that, this week, we look at the trial of Jesus.

  1. And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. 54. And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.

This was no spur of the moment trial. Everyone was in place, waiting for Judas to make good on his promise to betray Jesus and the religious leaders were most likely proud of themselves that they had gotten Judas to do their dirty work for them. Peter, perhaps thinking that the trial would be fair, followed behind, awaiting the outcome of the trial. He didn’t go into the makeshift “courtroom,” but sat with the servants and warmed himself by the fire.

  1. And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. 56. For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.

The trial and the verdict were pre-planned. There was no doubt about the outcome: Jesus was guilty and would be put to death. The religious leaders, though, forgot to prep their witnesses and while a lot of people testified falsely, they couldn’t get two people to agree on what Jesus did that would allow them to render that sentence. The Pharisees may have been holding a kangaroo court, but they wanted to make sure that all the kangaroos were in line in case someone asked what happened.

  1. And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, 58. We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. 59. But neither so did their witness agree together.

They finally found someone who could tell them something Jesus said, even if it was taken out of context. They still couldn’t find another witness to agree with him. Jesus, when He said those words in John 2, hadn’t used the words “made with hands” based on what we have written down, and maybe that’s why they couldn’t get two people to agree with that testimony. He did talk about destroying the temple of His body, and He fulfilled that saying when He rose from the dead.

  1. And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 61. But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?

I can only imagine the frustration that the religious leaders must have felt. They had gone through all this trouble and expense to pull off this sham trial, and they couldn’t even get their witnesses to tell the same lies. The high priest took it out on Jesus and asked Him why He didn’t respond to what the witnesses were saying. Logically, there was nothing to respond to. If two witnesses had agreed on an accusation worthy of the death penalty, then Jesus might have had reason to respond. Jesus knew that the verdict of this “trial” was never in doubt, so nothing He could say would change things. When Jesus remained silent, the high priest asked Him point blank if Jesus thought He was the Messiah.

  1. And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 63. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? 64. Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.

Jesus could have continued to remain silent, but He didn’t. He told them the truth they needed to hear. He told them quite plainly that He was the Messiah and that they would eventually see Him sitting at the right hand of the Father and coming back to earth. We should note especially that Jesus answered by saying, “I am.” That sounds like a simple enough answer in English, but that’s the name of God in Hebrew. When Jesus said, “I am” in His response, He made a claim that He, as the Messiah, was divine. The leaders reacted to the first word Jesus said, and I think that the last words were spoken with a rising volume to be heard over the growing clamor at what the leaders believed to be blasphemy.

The high priest had had enough, and he asked the others what else they needed to hear, clearly expecting the response that he got. The outrage was a unanimous vote condemning Jesus to death. If Jesus weren’t the Son of God, then His statement was blasphemous. However, to paraphrase an axiom, it ain’t blasphemy if it’s true. The religious leaders were so intent on maintaining control of the things of God with regards to Temple worship, teaching, and discipling that they were blind to the truth when Jesus showed all the signs of being the Messiah. Even though He wasn’t the Messiah they were expecting, He was the Messiah they needed. Don’t be too hard on them for not recognizing that Jesus was the Messiah, though; the disciples who were with him day and night for about three years didn’t figure that out until after the resurrection. 

  1. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.

Once Jesus was convicted, the mob attacked. They beat Him and sought to humiliate Him by spitting on Him and letting the servants slap Him. The NIV calls these servants the guards. In any case, everybody got their shots in on Jesus. I imagine the leaders didn’t get their hands dirty, but I believe that they approved all that they saw. Jesus, in his Human body, was defenseless.

  1. And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: 67. And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 68. But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.

And now we go over the story of Peter’s denial. He who would go to the death for Jesus, by his own admission, was confronted by one of the maids of the high priest and he failed. Miserably. We can’t tell the tone of the maid’s voice from the words, but it could be that she was an admirer of Jesus and wanted to share about that with someone who would understand. On the other hand, it could be that she wanted to learn more about this man that had her master so enraged. Or, perhaps Peter’s fears were true and she wanted to find out if Peter really was with Jesus so she could denounce him to her master and gain stature among the other maids. Peter shut her down, flat out denying that he knew Jesus but then removing himself from the area so she couldn’t press him with more questions. That’s when the cock crowed the first time. Apparently, that had no influence over Peter, though, because we don’t hear Peter’s reaction to this occurrence of the rooster’s call.

  1. And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. 70. And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto.

Running away didn’t solve Peter’s problems. All it did was allow more people to see him and comment on his background and association with Jesus. First, another maid noticed who he was. Then, some of the guys decided that he must have been with Jesus because he talked like a Galilean. He denied both allegations, but Peter learned the hard lesson that night that he couldn’t run from his problems. 

  1. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72. And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

I wonder if Shakespeare had this story in mind when he talked about a character by saying, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Peter reacted violently, most likely afraid that he would be punished because of his association with Jesus. He cussed and swore on anything he could think of that he had no idea who Jesus was. In the midst of his rant, the cock crowed the second time – the sign that Jesus had talked about. When Peter realized what he had done and how the words of Jesus had come true, he wept. He most likely thought that all hope of continuing in his work with Jesus was over. But here’s a spoiler alert: Jesus would restore Peter as we can see in John 21. Peter became a great leader in the early church. No matter how far you’ve fallen, or drifted away, Jesus stands ready to forgive.

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But First, Be Reconciled

January 15 (Matthew 5:23-24 NIV)

  1. “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24. leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. 

Reconciliation. Relationship. Those are the words that should describe a Christian’s lifestyle. Jesus described what could have been a common situation in His time: a person going to the Temple to make a sacrifice while dealing with a relationship problem. Someone close to them was offended by something they did or said. Someone had a grudge against them for good reasons or bad. Jesus made it clear that reconciliation with that brother or sister is more important than your offering. 

I know. You love God and want to make that offering. Besides, your brother was offended over something that you said or did but you were in the right. That wouldn’t matter to Jesus. He would tell you that the relationship is broken and needs to be restored. He doesn’t call on us to be right. He calls on us to find a way to bring reconciliation. We must love our brother enough to do that even if it means swallowing our pride. In the book of First John, the apostle makes the point that if you can’t love your brother whom you have seen, how can you love the God that you haven’t seen? (1 John 5:20) 

You might ask, “What could be more important than my relationship with God?” Jesus made it clear that if you don’t have a good relationship with those around you, you can’t have a good relationship with God. This would be a good time to think about those people in your life that might have a grudge against you for one reason or another and take the time to make peace and bring reconciliation. If you have to take the first step when they were in the wrong against you, take heart because that’s what God did when He sent Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.

Lord, help me to examine my relationships and find ways to bring peace with people who are at odds with me. Let me strengthen the relationships I have with family, friends, and all those I come into contact with.

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What Are You Saying?

January 14 (Matthew 5:21-22 NIV)

21. “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Just as our righteousness before God involves our relationship with Him, our overall righteousness demands that we be at peace with our brothers and sisters. Jesus began talking about the prohibition against murder in the physical sense and used that as a springboard to speak against the attitudes of the heart that foment such killing. Expressions of anger and contempt demean others and indicate a lack of respect for them. Those attitudes are soul killing and incur just as much displeasure from God as actual physical murder.

While comments like that might seem to be part of the natural interplay among many people, especially in today’s world,the problem is that those kinds of words hurt, even when they’re jokes. Too many people take even joking comments to heart, killing a little bit more of their souls each time and causing them to feel worthless. Should they mention or show their concern, they’re berated for not getting that it was a joke and they feel even more worthless. Their souls are destroyed for the sake of a few laughs.

If we believe Jesus and realize that such comments are a serious issue, what should we do? Is there anyone to whom we can say these kinds of things? After long and careful thought, I believe that it’s acceptable to talk like that to people who aren’t included in the love talked about in John 3:16. If you’re trying to figure out who that is–stop. God’s offer of grace extends to all people. Since that’s true, perhaps we should learn to speak about and exemplify His grace to all, especially to those who seem to need it the most.

Lord, let my words and my deeds toward others reveal Your grace and love. May all those I meet know that they have experienced Your grace through me.

 

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Great in the Kingdom of Heaven

January 13 (Matthew 5:19-20 NIV)

19. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.

When you’re in a relationship, you should strive to create a stronger relationship by doing those things that please the other party, as they also should strive to please you. Relationships are supposed to be a two-way street. As Jesus dealt with the law, and righteousness, I interpret His words in light of our relationship with God through Jesus. If you want your relationship with God to be at its finest, you’ll need to respond to His love and grace by living the right way. A relationship with God isn’t just a “Get out of the consequences of sin free” card, it’s a call to live as He desires and empowers us to live.

Jesus then noted that there was a high standard of righteousness, some might say impossible standard, just to enter the kingdom of heaven: we need to be more righteous than the Pharisees and the teachers of the law. Nobody was more righteous than they were, or so the people thought. Either Jesus had just set an impossible standard, or the people needed to understand righteousness from God’s perspective. Righteousness isn’t so much what you do as having a relationship with God who molds you into His image so that why you do something is more important than what you do. That why should always be to glorify God.

The problem the Pharisees and other religious leaders had is that they sought to follow the law so that others could see how amazing they were. Their actions pointed to their own greatness instead of God’s.. God calls us to live for Him. All the good works we do should point people to God and His greatness. That is how we become more righteous than the Pharisees and the teachers of the law.

Lord, thank You for Your grace that allows me to experience a relationship with You. Let others see my actions and recognize that all I do is to honor You. Let all that I do bring honor to You.

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“…Until Everything is Accomplished.”

January 12, 2021 (Matthew 5:17-18 NIV)

17. “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

There have always been people who have tried to get around the law. They look for loopholes and exceptions so that they can claim that the law doesn’t apply to them. In other places, we see Jesus calling religious leaders to task for their attempts to get around God’s Law for their own benefit. Jesus made it clear to the religious leaders, as He did to His listeners, that they shouldn’t try to get around God’s Law.

This statement might be a bit of a problem for Christians since we proclaim that we’re living under grace and not under law. How can we make that claim? Why aren’t we supposed to follow all of the Old Testament laws, including the dietary laws?

The key to understanding this passage from a Christian perspective is the phrase “until everything is accomplished.” My understanding of the phrase is that everything was accomplished at the cross and in the subsequent resurrection. That series of events accomplished the fulfilling of the Law and brought us into a relationship with God based on grace. Because of that grace, we can live confidently, knowing that God’s love for us is more than enough. We don’t need to look over our shoulders to see if anyone, especially God, is taking notes on all the things we do wrong. Instead, because all the requirements of the Law were accomplished in Jesus Christ, we can experience God’s presence with joy instead of fear.

Lord, while I live in Your grace, keep me living in a way that would draw others to you.

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A Light to a Dark World

January 11, 2021 (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)

14. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Our world is broken. We see the results of sin all around us. Our leaders and many in the media continue to glorify evil while belittling those who would follow Christ. It’s as if a spiritual darkness has taken hold of our world and we can’t do anything about it. The temptation is to seek a place to hide and avoid the fallout from that kind of society. Jesus reminds us that His light can’t be hidden.

You are the light of the world, the light of Christ given to this darkened world. You were redeemed from the darkness of sin to shine God’s light and make the world look at you. You’re not called to hide from or in the darkness; you’re called to overwhelm the darkness with the power of light – the light of Christ.

In past years, our church held a Christmas Eve candlelight service. At a certain point in the service, all the lights in the sanctuary would go out. Then, the pastor would light his candle and use that candle to light a few other candles and then, the light was passed from person to person until every candle was lit. One small light overcame the darkness of the auditorium which then glowed as each person shared their light. It was a beautiful picture of the lesson of this verse.

Lord, overcome the darkness of this world. Use me to shine Your light in a world that needs to get out of the darkness and experience Your presence. When people see Your light in me, may they glorify the God who put that light there. .

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Quick Note

While I try to get my devotionals written the day before, it’s a bit more of a challenge to be ready for Monday’s devotional since I have to take my computer to church. I don’t want to set it up when I get back home and so, plan to write early on Monday morning…but sometimes I don’t get that chance. So, today’s devotional will be late. I apologize

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Pass the Salt, Please

January 10 (Matthew 5:13 NIV)

13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

Pure salt was valuable back in the days of the Roman empire. The Latin word for salt is salarium from which we derive our word salary. While the story that Roman soldiers were paid in salt, thus associating the word salary with compensation may not be true, salt had many properties that made it valuable. When Jesus described His followers, He called us “the salt of the earth.” I have no doubt that He was referring to pure salt which preserved food, added taste, and had many other properties.

When Jesus compared His followers to salt it was as much encouragement as description. He was calling us to be His agents in penetrating and preserving society for God. The warning He gave was that the salt might lose its saltiness. As I wondered how salt could lose its basic properties of being salt, I came to the understanding that salt loses its saltiness when it becomes mixed with other things.

As followers of Christ, our thoughts, intentions, and actions should be focused on being God’s agents in a society that would decay without our influence . Our responsibility, as God’s agents is to penetrate the world with righteousness and proclaim the love and grace of Christ to all, while maintaining the purity of our relationship with Christ. If we don’t do that, or we let our “salt” get blended in with the world’s impurities, we’re not good for much of anything except to be thrown on the ash heap of history.

Lord, keep our hearts pure as we do Your will. May we make a difference in a world that’s indifferent to You. May all of our thoughts and actions reveal Your love and grace to a society that needs to experience You. May we always maintain our saltiness in the face of opposition.

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Praying in the Garden

This week we look at Jesus praying in the garden at Gethsemane. I found it interesting to discover what Gethsemane really means: do you know? I’ll let you know. I’ve also begun the process of using other people to read through and make sure that I’m not making any glaring mistakes. This week, my wife has helped me quite a bit with suggestions and editing. I hope and pray that God speaks to you through this study.

  1. And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.

There was probably more conversation while they were walking, but the last words we heard  the disciples say as they left the upper room was that they would never run away nor deny Jesus. Then, they arrived at Gethsemane. Gethsemane comes from two words that mean oil press which suggests that Jesus chose a grove of olive trees as His final place on earth to pray without interruption. I’m going to go way out on a limb here and say that just as olive oil itself was used to anoint kings, perhaps Jesus chose this place as a way of getting a symbolic anointing for the mission He was on. Whatever the reason, Jesus knew that He had to pray to gain strength for the horrible journey that awaited Him.

  1. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34. And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

As Jesus went to pray, He was feeling the weight of the world on His shoulders. He knew that His destination was the cross where He would bear the weight of the sins of the world. He knew that He would be suffering an agonizing death. He not only needed to pray Himself, He needed His closest friends to stay nearby and keep watch. As I’ve looked at what others have said about the meaning of “watch” here, there seem to be two opinions of what that means. The first is that they needed to watch Jesus to make sure He would be physically ok. The second is that they would keep watch to protect against interruptions. Whatever the case might have been, they had one job: to wait and keep watch over Jesus’s physical safety and privacy

35.  And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

There’s this “feel-good” belief running around some Christian circles that if we say our prayers the right way and make sure we add the words, “in Jesus’ name,” we can get God to answer anything we pray about the way we want Him to answer. The flaw in that premise is that when Jesus prayed in the garden. He asked for the Father to keep the crucifixion from happening, and it happened anyway. Jesus would no longer drink the cup of blessing on this earth (v 25) but the cup that lay ahead of Him was the cup of God’s wrath (Psalm 75:8, Isaiah 51:17) as would be seen on the cross. While it was possible that God could change the tide of events that had been set in place, we know that He didn’t. And while Jesus prayed for the upcoming agony not to happen, He made the most important statement possible about His prayer: “not what I will, but what thou wilt.” It’s a reminder for all of us that while we may express our desires to God in prayer, we should always seek God’s will for the answer.

  1. And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? 38. Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak. 39. And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.

I’m going to be honest with you here, I would have trouble staying awake for an hour if I were keeping watch while someone else was praying. I’d have trouble staying awake if I were praying for an hour. Apparently, that was not normally an area of concern, thus, Jesus’ exasperation with Peter, James, and John when they couldn’t stay awake for an hour. This time, Jesus admonished them not only to watch, but also to pray that they don’t enter into temptation. He highlighted a perpetual human weakness when He said that the spirit is ready, but the flesh is weak. The turn of the year has many excellent examples of that as people seek positive changes in their lives when they make ambitious resolutions – then, temptation rolls around in a way that makes it easy to break the resolutions. Too often, we give in to that temptation and break our resolution. The spirit was ready, but the flesh was weak. The disciples said that they would stay up and watch, but the physical demands of a body that’s been on the run suddenly becoming still overcame them, and they nodded off. After Jesus admonished them, He went back and prayed the same words. The agony was real as Jesus prepared for the cross. How great is the love of Jesus that He endured the agony before going to the cross as well as the incredible pain and agony on the cross for us?

40. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. 41. And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42. Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.

When Jesus came back, they were sleeping again and they had no answer for Jesus about why they were sleeping, so Jesus went back to pray. When He came back one last time, He told them that it was a good time to rest, because the time had come for Judas (the betrayer) to turn Him over to sinners. He urged them to come face the betrayal so they would know what was going on. It is interesting that Jesus talked about being betrayed into the hands of sinners. That was the term that the religious leaders had for the everyday people: those who weren’t part of the religious elite. Even in His last moments on earth, Jesus sought to remind the disciples that all who went against God’s will were sinners, not just the common, everyday people. 

  1. And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44. And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. 45. And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him.

Even when Judas left the Last Supper early, the disciples apparently still didn’t understand that Judas was the one who would betray Jesus. I wonder if they finally realized Judas was the betrayer when they saw him with his mob army backing him up. I wonder if they were astonished as the events unfolded, as if all this were a surprise to them. Judas didn’t hesitate, though. He walked up to Jesus, called Him “Master,” and gave Him a customary greeting with a kiss. One of the theories about Judas betraying Jesus is that he did so hoping to force Jesus into revealing Himself as the Messiah. In other words, he was trying to force God’s hand. That doesn’t work in prayer or in action. Seeking to get God to do our will is never a winning idea. History knows Judas forever for this one thing, the betrayal of Jesus into the hands of sinners.

  1. And they laid their hands on him, and took him. 47. And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

The mob took Jesus into custody. Different accounts of this arrest share different details. In the account found in Matthew, we see Jesus rebuking the one with a sword, revealed to be Peter in the account in John. Luke tells us that Jesus restored the ear to the servant, while John notes the problems the attackers had when Jesus confronted them with His identity. Whatever the whole truth is, we know that a mob, not a real army, led by Judas came out to arrest Jesus. During that arrest, someone, presumably Peter, found one of the guys on the fringe of the mob and swung wildly with a sword and sliced an ear off of a servant, and Jesus wasn’t too happy about the whole situation. The end result is that Jesus was arrested, but not before He rebuked those who had come for Him.

  1. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? 49. I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.

Jesus rebuked them for coming like a mob in the middle of the night. They were arresting Him like a common thief, as if He had been difficult to find. If they really wanted to find Him, they didn’t need all the subterfuge, He was visible around the temple while He taught the people. Their problem was that they were afraid of what the people would do if they arrested Him in front of them, so their cowardice led to this late night arrest. Still, while Jesus rebuked them, He realized that most importantly, this was all done for Scripture to be fulfilled.

50 And they all forsook him, and fled. 51. And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: 52. And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked. 

Do you remember reading about all those disciples who would never leave Jesus? (v. 31) Like I warned you last week, that promise didn’t last long. The disciples who had come with Jesus to the garden of Gethsemane took off as soon as He was arrested, afraid that they’d be swept up along with Him. Verses 51-52 tell the story of a young man who had thrown a linen cloth around himself to be out there with Jesus. When the trouble started, they grabbed him by the cloth, and he left the linen cloth in their hands and fled naked. It was a good thing for him that all these events happened at night. In the end, though, Jesus was alone as the mob brought Him to the trial that was awaiting Him before the Sanhedrin. 

 

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