Matthew’s account of the Jewish trial states plainly that false witnesses were sought against Jesus – but even they could not make a case!
The one specific charge, “this fellow said I am able to destroy the temple of God and build it in three days” was a misunderstanding of what Jesus really meant. Ironically, it was a prophecy about what they were now doing and the resurrection that will follow.
Finally, as we saw two days ago, Jesus is convicted on the basis of his own confession.
What does the use of false witnesses and statements taken out of context show us about the Jewish court and the case against Jesus?
Today we read more about the Jewish trial of Jesus.
Jesus is questioned about his disciples and doctrine. He does not answer directly, saying He had spoke openly and often and His teachings and claims were well known.
One of the officers strikes him and accuses him of being disrespectful to the high priest but Jesus says what He said was not wrong or evil.
Why do you think Jesus did not give the high priest a direct answer?
Jesus is now in the hands of the Jews. He is immediately subject to horrible physical and mental abuse even before He is formally examined and condemned.
Question: What characteristic stands out to you most when you see Jesus taking the unjust, irreverent abuse he endured?
Question: What does Jesus say when they ask him if He is the Son of God
Mark’s gospel alone tells about this young man following Jesus who flees leaving his garment behind. It is a curious question as to who this is and why it is recorded.
We read earlier that when Jesus was arrested all the disciples forsook him and fled. Here we see Peter follows at a distance into the courtyard of the high priest.
As far as the young man fleeing naked, the People’s New Testament Commentary says, “Some have supposed the “certain young man” to be Mark. This is only conjecture. The incident may have been introduced to show the rudeness of the assailants and to emphasize the escape of all the disciples from so wanton an attack.”
If you have a thought about this please share it!
One of the disciples does try to stop them from arresting Jesus. John’s account (18:10-11) tells us it was Simon Peter who drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. John also gives us the name of the servant of the high priest: Malchus.
Jesus healed Malchus’ ear and explained that it was not God’s will to resist. He could call a great army of angels to deliver him if He wanted but it is God’s plan that he die.
All the disciples fled and Jesus is led away to be tried by the Jewish council.
What impresses you about Jesus’ restraint in not calling the legions of angels ready to deliver him?
This is John’s account of Judas’ arrival in the garden of Gethsemane to betray Jesus. In John’s account Jesus takes the initiative – He goes forward and says “who are you seeking” and “I am He”. When He said “I am He” it says they drew back and fell to the ground.
We will look closer at Peter’s attempt to resist the soldiers tomorrow.
What impresses you about the details that John includes?
Do the differences in these accounts rise to the level of a possible contradiction?
After Jesus prays in the garden Judas arrives with a detachment of troops (John 18:3) from the chief priest and elders. He kisses Jesus to identify him to the soldiers who arrest him and take him away.
Note the dialog between Judas and Jesus: Judas says, “greetings rabbi” and Jesus replies “friend why have you come”. In Luke’s account (22:48) Jesus says “Judas are you betraying the son of man with a kiss?”
What are your thoughts about the fact that Judas used a kiss to betray Jesus?
This short reading contains two interesting facts that were not included in other accounts of Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.
First 43 tells us an angel was sent to strengthen Jesus. Verse 44 tells us that as Jesus agonized in the garden His sweat became like great drops of blood.
Did God answer Jesus’ prayer? (In answering this it may be worthwhile to also consider Hebrews 5:8,9).
Jesus comes to the garden of Gethsemane where in agony He prays, “O my father if it is possible let this cup pass from me nevertheless not as I will but as you will”.
Instead of watching as he had ask them, the disciples are sleeping and he mildly rebukes them and returns to prayer praying the same words a second and third time.
Question: Do you think Jesus was really hoping that in someway He would not have to die? If so, do you see that as a weakness on His part? How does his prayer reflect his faith?
Lastly, Jesus prays for “all those who will believe in me through (the apostles) word”.
Specifically He prays that believers will be “one” like the Father and Son are “one”(stated twice in 21 and 23).
We should be impressed that out of all the things Jesus could have prayed for concerning us he prayed for unity of believers.
Question: Why do you think this was his top priority? (What do versus 21, and 23 say about why unity of believers is so important?)