Mar 2011

7739 - Before Herod

In our studies we have been following the series of examinations, which Jesus faced after his arrest. We have looked at his examination before Annas, then before Caiaphas. Next came his appearance before the illegal meeting of the Sanhedrin in the late nighttime. Finally at dawn the council assembled and condemned Jesus to death. However, the Jews did not have authority to carry out the death sentence so they took Jesus before Pilate, the governor of Judea, seeking for him to render a crucifixion decree.

Pilate, on finding that Jesus was from Galilee, sent Jesus to Herod, the Roman authority over Galilee. This would be his sixth examination in a few short hours.

Today let’s look closely at Herod’s questioning of Jesus. Only Luke’s gospel shares these happenings. I’ll read Luke 23:8-12:

When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see Jesus perform some miracle. He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.

The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him.

Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him, dressed him in an elegant robe, and sent him back to Pilate.

That day Herod and Pilate became friends --before this they had been enemies.

This Herod was Herod Antipas who was the Roman authority over Galilee. He was one of the three sons of Herod the great. He is also the Herod who had John the Baptist beheaded.

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7738 - Before Pilate

In our study through the book of Luke, today we look at the trial of Jesus before Pilate the Roman governor of Judea.

I will read Luke 23:1-7, then we can have more discussion.

Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, "We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king."

So Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, "I find no basis for a charge against this man."

But they insisted, "He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here."

On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod's jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.

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7737 - You Are Right

The first legal and formal examination of Jesus by the Sanhedrin occurred at daybreak, the morning of his crucifixion.

Listen to Luke 22:66-71:

At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them. "If you are the Christ, " they said, "tell us."

Jesus answered, "If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God."

They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied, "You are right in saying I am."

Then they said, "Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips."

There were a couple of considerations, which hastened the actions of the Jewish leaders.

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7736 - Peter's Denial

Today we continue to follow the dealings with Jesus after he had been arrested on the Mount of Olives.

As Jesus was being questioned by Caiaphas in his palace, which had high outer walls enclosing a courtyard, Peter secured admittance to the courtyard and joined the guards and others around a fire, which they had kindled.

Listen to Luke 22:54-62 which tells us what happened.

Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.

A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, "This man was with him." But he denied it. "Woman, I don't know him," he said.

A little later someone else saw him and said, "You are one of them." "Man, I am not!" Peter replied.

About an hour later another asserted, "Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean." Peter replied, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!" Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.

The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: "Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Notice only Peter is mentioned. We know from the record in John’s gospel, that John likewise was present. None of the other disciples are mentioned. Peter sat by the fire among this crowd, which was hostile to Jesus.

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7735 - Arrest

Today we look at the record of the arrest of Jesus, as it is recorded in Luke 22:47-53. Listen:

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"

When Jesus' followers saw what was going to happen, they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?" And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

But Jesus answered, "No more of this!" And he touched the man's ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs? Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour --when darkness reigns."

Judas appeared on the scene there on the side of the Mount of Olives where Jesus and his disciples often overnighted.

Judas approached Jesus to give him a kiss. This had been a prearranged sign by which Jesus was to be identified by Judas for the crowd.

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7734 - Agony

Our study in the book of Luke has carried us to the Mount of Olives, where Jesus and his apostles often went. This night is the last in the earthly life of Jesus.

Listen to Luke 22:39-46:

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation."

He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. "Why are you sleeping?" he asked them. "Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."

This is one of the most agonizing scenes we find in the life of Jesus. The heart of Jesus must have been breaking. We may conclude that this was not because of his thinking about the physical agony of the cross, but rather his contemplation that for the first time in eternity his untarnished being was to be weighed down with sin — the combined sin of humanity.

Perhaps he thought upon the truth of God that: “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrong (Hab. 1:13).” His breaking heart may have come from the knowledge that for the first time in eternity the blessed, loving relationship between Father God and the Son of God would be broken.

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7733 - Fulfilled Prophecy

Today let’s dig into a portion of God’s Word together.

Listen to Luke 22:35-38.

Then Jesus asked them, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?" "Nothing," they answered. He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. It is written: `And he was numbered with the transgressors' ; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment."

The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords." "That is enough," he replied.

This passage may at first appear to be only words of instruction from Jesus to the apostles, but let’s look closely.

Jesus asks these men about the reliability of his instructions to them in past months. The idea was, “Has it been true that the Father has cared for you even when I sent you on missions without taking along items which people normally take with them on a trip?”

The apostles gave positive responses. We have lacked nothing they reply. We have been provided for very well.

What follows emphasized the truth that every word uttered or written by divine inspiration by prophets of God will be satisfied. Many had been fulfilled before Jesus spoke these words, but many remained to unfold in time.

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7732 - Simon

In our last few studies together we have discussed several different scenes, which occurred in the upper room as the apostles enjoyed their last evening with Jesus before his arrest.

Today let’s listen to an exchange between Simon Peter and Jesus. Listen to Luke 22:31-34.

"Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."

But he replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with you to prison and to death."

Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me."

Simon Peter was introduced to Jesus by his brother Andrew. This was shortly after John the Baptist had proclaimed to the crowd of people who had come to hear his teaching, that Jesus was the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world; the very Son of God.

A small group of fishermen had come to the Jordan valley to hear John the Baptist. Andrew and John first got acquainted with Jesus, and they got excited. Listen to John 1:41-42: “The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, ‘we have found the Messiah’. Then he brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas (which, when translated, is Peter)’”

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7731 - The Torch

What a rich blessing we’ve had as we studied about Jesus and his apostles enjoying a last intimate evening together in the upper room. During this meal the Lord has continued to teach them truths, which were pertinent to their life after he departs, and which gave insights into his relationship with Christians during the age of the Church.

In Luke 22:28-30 we detect that Jesus is passing the torch to these faithful men who had lived with him, traveled with him, ministered with him, suffered deprivations with him and had even endured scorn with him.

Listen:

You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Jesus acknowledges the faithfulness of these eleven apostles who remained in the room, since Judas had already departed.

Jesus said, “I confer on you a kingdom...” Those words ring with the sound of something new in the making.

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7730 - Arguing

This scene we study today observes the apostles around the table as they celebrate the Passover meal with Jesus the night before his crucifixion. Listen to Luke 22:24-30:

Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. Jesus said to them, "The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.

But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have stood by me in my trials. And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

During this final, intimate dinner with Jesus, after he had instituted the taking of bread and drinking of wine in remembrance of his own life and death; there around the table they began to argue with one another over which of them was considered to be the greatest.

It seems they were ignoring all the teaching Jesus had poured into them during the past three years. However this was not the first time the apostles argued among themselves. Once on the way to Capernaum they had been arguing as they were walking along the road. Jesus confronted them after they reached their destination about their argument, but they kept quiet because they had been quibbling about who was the greatest (Mk. 9:33-34).

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7729 - A Betrayer

In our study through the book of Luke we have come to the final night in the life of Jesus on earth. He has joined with the twelve apostles for the Passover meal. At one point in the meal the one who was to betray Jesus was revealed.

Listen to Luke 22, verses 21-23:

But the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table.

The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays him."

They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this.

As Luke writes here, he does not give the name of the betrayer, only that Jesus says, “the hand of him who is going to betray me is with mine on the table.”

Don’t you know that all eyes traveled the perimeter of that table to see whose hand was on the table with the hand of Jesus.

The other gospels tell of the sorrow that filled the apostles. They even began to question Jesus, “Is it I, Lord?” one by one.

In a previous study we learned that Judas had already gone to the chief priests and bargained with them about what they might give to Judas for delivering Jesus to them in the absence of the multitude, which usually surrounded him in the temple.

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7728 - The Last Supper

In our last study together we reviewed how Peter and John had been sent into Jerusalem to prepare the Passover meal for Jesus and the disciples.

Today we find Jesus and his apostles, at the end of the day, reclining at the table for the meal. Day has faded into evening. At 6:00 p.m. the Jewish Friday began, so Jesus is less than twenty-four hours from the grave.

Listen to Luke 22:14-20:

When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. And he said to them, "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."

After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, "Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes."

And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

Notice that this is an intimate setting of only the twelve with Jesus. Many times as they gathered other disciples were also present with them, but this night is devoted to a final night with those whom he had spent so many hours preparing them for the ministry which, Jesus knew was ahead for them.

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7727 - Preparation

We are now in chapter 22 in our study through the book of Luke. We have discussed the busy days Jesus experienced in Jerusalem, which culminated in his completion of busy Tuesday. On this day Jesus silenced the various Jewish groups who questioned his authority and teaching.

Apparently Jesus spent the Wednesday of this week prior to Passover with his disciples in retirement; perhaps in Bethany.

The scene from Luke 22:7-13 occurs Thursday. Bear in mind Jesus will be arrested in Gethsemane late tonight after this day with the disciples.

Listen to these verses:

Then came the day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go, make preparations for us to eat the Passover."

"Where do you want us to prepare for it?" they asked. He replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, `The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples? He will show you a large upper room, all furnished. Make preparations there."

They left and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

On this special day the Passover lamb was to be sacrificed by the Jewish people. This was a continuation of the covenant instituted by God with the people of Israel in Egypt. They had spent 430 years (Ex. 12:41) in Egypt ending up as slaves under bitter servitude.

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