Into Passion Week (Part 4)

The abuse of people arrested carries uncomfortable memories of what happened during Apartheid Polices’ use of the wet blanket / electric shock treatment … and if the allegations are true, the same thing happens today. If the allegation are true of what the Russians troops are accused of in the Ukraine, it is nothing short of barbaric and horrendous. There is one verse left before leaving Matthew 26.

1) Prisoner abused.

Mt 26:67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?”

Although not officially being found guilty by the Jewish Ruling Council (The Sanhedrin), Jesus was spat upon, beaten with fists, slapped and mocked. Today these people are in eternity. Today they are aware of whom they hit … the Christ … who is the Son of God, co-equal in the Trinity with the Father and Spirit. Apart from the Centurion who repented, where are they now? Apart from Jesus’ brutal arrest, this is where the punishment started. Such behavior is today levelled against many of the children of God because they are Children of God!

2) Death penalty.

Mt 27:1 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death. 2 They bound him, led him away and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.

I have written about it elsewhere … I cannot remove from the memory in my brain the horrific experience of going through the “Death Row” prison built in 1967. No sane human being can see that death chamber, which was extremely descriptive with seven hanging places and seven painted feet on the doors that open to permit the person or persons to drop to their death. Nor could you get away from the huge “swimming pool” type of bath below with its ability to flush like a toilet. Even the wash bay with its huge stainless steel sink with a huge door next to it for the corps to be placed directly into an unidentifiable truck. These Jewish Rulers agreed sometime after the second court hearing that Jesus must be executed. Now that the ecclesiastical court hearings were over and a verdict decided, Jesus was bound by chains. That is the Greek meaning for the word “bound”. If his treatment so far was so hostile, one can only imagine what the journey to Pilate was like for Jesus’ Roman Court Case (the third one).

3) Repentance, remorse and return that comes too late. Before returning to our Lord’s Court hearing before Pilate, we need to consider His betrayer.

Mt 27:3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.

(1) Judas was present at these hearings. These verses are hard to understand because we do not know Judas apart from what the Gospel tells us. He was the treasurer of the Group. He was a thief dipping his paws into the bag to steal money. He had watched the two ecclesiastical hearings and witnessed the outcome … saw that Jesus was condemned. He was present when the intended outcome was reached.

(2) Judas was suddenly hit between the eyes with the reality of what he had done. This was not from self … this was God convicting him of his awful sin … he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. His fate however was sealed!

(3) Admission of guilt. He admits to the Jewish leaders that he sinned against God because everything against Jesus was fabricated. He says Jesus was innocent … “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” This is all true … but even though being true, it does not remove the fact that he was satan’s agent here.

(4) The Jewish leaders refuse to consider Judas’ betrayal confession. They had achieved their plan for Jesus even though they used wicked methods. To them Judas was just a pawn in their wicked game saying … “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” How callous for those who were to lead God’s people! But then … in speaking about the religious leaders, Jesus said:

Mt 15:13 He replied, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be pulled up by the roots. 14 Leave them; they are blind guides. If a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”

(5) Although Judas returned the money, it was too late Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. Do we feel sorry for Judas? Look what Jesus says of him:

Jn 17:12 “While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.”

Listen to Peter:

Ac 1:16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the mouth of David concerning Judas, who served as guide for those who arrested Jesus— 17 he was one of our number and shared in this ministry.” 18 (With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. 19 Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.)

His death was gruesome … but his eternal death must surely be the worst for betraying God, the Lord Jesus!

4) Admission of guilt.

Mt 27:6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, “It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money.” 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter’s field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: “They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.”

Even with Judas is prophecy fulfilled. Although Peter writes that Judas bought the field and Matthew says the chief priests bought the field there is not discrepancy because they bought it with Judas’ money … therefore he bought it! Although the chief priests on behalf of the leadership would never admit their role in the murder of Jesus, they admitted the money they paid Judas out of the treasury was “blood money”. Inadvertently and unknowingly they confessed their sin. Today they share damnation with Judas. Make sure you’re saved.

Father, help us to never betray You in any manner or way. Mercifully protect us from pushing You and the Gospel message away from the fore-front of our minds. We do love You dearly. Amen.

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