Jesus Christ: 21st Journey
Jesus arrives at Bethany, near Jerusalem, the Friday afternoon just before the Sunday of His Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. Many common people, learning of His Presence, came to see Him. They also came to see Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. It was yet six days before Passover.
We are reading in John 11:55-12:1, 9-19; Mark 11:1-11; Matthew 21:1-11; Luke 19:29-44. Back in Jerusalem, people from the area arrived for Passover, and many were uneasy if Jesus would come to the festival. Jesus came back to Bethany, to which Jesus came around. A crowd gathered, mainly the curious ones; however, some were sincere believers. The Jewish leaders thought His raising of Lazarus would attract attention to Jesus, and they were right. Therefore, they wanted to kill Him even more, as well as kill Lazarus.
The Triumphal Entry
The time has arrived for Jesus to challenge His opponents by posting a clear demonstration that He was indeed the Messiah that has come from God. The Jewish leaders desired to arrest Him, but when they were told where He was, they feared in taking any action, as they were unsure of His support He had around. To make sure nothing stopped Him from making His bold entry into Jerusalem, Jesus made a secret arrangement with a few unknown villages to provide a donkey, and have a “passphrase” so that two of His Disciples would pick up the donkey and bring it to Jesus.
As the Messiah, Jesus entered into Zion not on a horse but on a donkey as the King of Peace. He did not come as the conqueror, but as the Peaceful One. People in Jerusalem during the Passover welcomed Him as the Messiah and were enthusiastic He had come. Many shouted “Hosanna.”
Soon, the Pharisees would be annoyed at the welcome that He received, and therefore tried to persuade the people to silence, which did not work. As the news of Jesus’ raising of Lazarus had spread, many more people flocked to see Him, which is what the Pharisees had feared the most.
Jesus, then, was not deceived by such welcome, because He knew that when people would understand His Messiahship fully, they would just turn on Him. The nation overall would reject Him. The problem with rejecting God, is that Jerusalem would be destroyed in judgment. With Jesus entering Jerusalem, it was not a political thing, but a spiritual thing; therefore, He did not visit the palace, but the Temple He did visit. He noted what happened there, and went with His Disciples to stay in Bethany for the night.
What can we learn from this?
Jesus showed that He was not afraid by coming into Jerusalem boldly on a donkey. A donkey is a humble animal. When He entered, people were so full of joy. We must realize that we need to not be afraid as well of going into potentially dangerous places, because we can hope in Christ’s protection that will provide for us the assurance of His Presence. We may very well be shocked upon arrival that many people receive us, and may be able to improve our mindset and faithfulness in His Divine protection, as we are doing what He has called us to do.
We have landed at a point in history in these discussions where we see Jesus doing very odd things that most people would find unorthodox. Since Jesus was so unorthodox, he attracted a severe amount of unwanted attention; however, Jesus remained calm, which is hard to imagine.
The Scriptures for all of the narratives covered today are in Mark 11:12-12:44; Matthew 21:12-23:9; Luke 19:45-21:4; John 12:20-50. Jesus traveled from Bethany to Jerusalem, returning to Bethany, and then repeating it the next day (Monday-Tuesday). He frequently was in the Temple in Jerusalem during these encounters.
The Barren Fig Tree
In the morning, as Jesus and His Disciples walked from Bethany again to Jerusalem, they passed a fig tree that Jesus saw as a symbol of the Jewish nation. Therefore, He approached it looking for fruit, didn’t find any, which was similar to His looking for spiritual fruit in the Jewish nation, and didn’t find anything despite their outwardly religious acts. They may have done many good works; however, they were spiritually barren (bearing no fruit). This caused the fig tree to dry up.
Soon, Jesus cleanses the city again, which showed God’s Judgment on those that forgot why certain religious establishments existed, as they wanted to use them to make money. God was more pleased with Jesus’ healings of the blind and crippled than He was in the religious activities of the Jews.
By Being ‘Lifted Up,’ He will Draw All Men Unto Him
Some of those that visited for the Passover were of Greek origin, and had joined themselves with the Synagogue communities. However, they wanted to see Jesus. When the Lord learned of this, He wanted to announce that the climax of what He came to do has arrived, and He was now about to lay down His Life. He saw the Greeks as the Firstfruits of the Gentiles’ harvests, and knew that it would result from His death.
Grains of wheat died and were buried before they could grow up to produce harvest. Just the same, Jesus had to die so that the multitudes of all nations would find Eternal Life. This marks the principle of “death before life”—which applies to those who follow Jesus. For His Sake, they must sacrifice their self-serving in life so they can be fruitful for Him. It’s not about self-pleasing, but about giving and serving. People would despise the Gentiles just as they despised Jesus; however, God would honor them.
Jesus trembled at the thought of suffering, but knew that His time has come, therefore, He prayed that His death would glorify the Father, to which, His Father replied in a voice from Heaven that His Prayer would be answered. Many people looked on as they wondered what they just heard; however, Jesus told them that the time of satan’s defeat is approaching, and that through Jesus’ crucifixion, people of all nations would be delivered from satan’s power to be brought into the freedom of the Kingdom of God.
Many people were confused at His statements however, He spoke of Himself as “the son of man,” but if He used “The Messiah,” then how could the Messiah die on the cross? They thought of the Messiah to be One that would live forever. Jesus had no more time to reason with them; however, He did urge them to believe in Him immediately so they might walk in the light while He was still on Earth—otherwise, darkness would come upon them that they would be lost eternally.
Most Jewish people were stubborn in unbelief, just as Isaiah prophesied, for anyone that believed in Him were afraid to openly say it, because they feared of not being able to enter the Synagogue. In His final words to the crowd, Jesus explained that to believe in Him was to also believe in God; however, rejecting Him would be rejecting God as well. Jesus came to save, not condemn, and therefore, the words He spoked were of Divine Origin (from God) and on the Day of Judgment, the same words would be a witness of the condemnation of those who rejected Him.
What Jesus is trying to teach us: We must avoid self-pleasing things, but give more and serve more unto people. This will help His Gospel continue to spread, because as people see our kindness, they will be more open to receive the Gospel!
The Barren Fig Tree Withered
Jesus answers the Disciples, as they were asking why the fig tree withered, to which, He told them that if they were to have faith, they could say to something to be removed and cast into the sea, and it will be done. All things that someone believes in prayer they will receive. Have faith in God and believe in what He can do so that He can give unto us what we ask. We must also forgive others so God would forgive us!
Jesus is questioned at the Sanhedrin
IN A NUTSHELL: The Synoptic Gospels gives more details of the teaching of Jesus on Tuesday in the Temple, and on the Mount of Olives than for any other single day. It is a day of controversy. The ruler formally challenges the authority of Jesus as an accredited teacher. It was very common to test a Rabbi with hard questions. The Sanhedrin was within their rights in challenging the ecclesiastical and scholastic (scribal) standing of Jesus. Jesus did not dodge in His answers. Jesus bases His human authority on John the Baptist, His forerunner who baptized Him, and demands the Sanhedrin’s opinion of the Baptism of John. This pertinent counter-question paralyzes the Jewish leaders, and Jesus drives His argument home by three Parables: The Parable of the Two Sons; The Parable of the Wicked Husbandman; and The Parable of the Marriage Feast of the King’s Son.
The story: As Jesus returned to the Temple, Jewish leaders swarmed in to question Him, hoping to find something that could trap Him. They asked Him on what authority He acted upon, especially overthrowing common Jewish practices of the Temple. Jesus turns the question around asking them the same, and they saw how difficult it was to answer. He was not avoiding the truth; but rather, He wanted them to see the truth for themselves, because if they gave them the correct answer to His question, they would have their answer.
Jesus’ question had concerned authority of John the Baptist, to which, if they acknowledge John was sent by God, then Jesus had to also be sent by God, because John’s message announced the arrival of Jesus as the Messiah. As the leaders refused to answer, Jesus illustrated something to rebuke them again for their refusal to repent of their sin. He likened sinners, such as tax collectors and prostitutes to a son that at first he disobeyed his father, but then changed his mind. The sinners repented of their ill acts and wrongdoing, and therefore, they entered His Kingdom. He then likened the Pharisees to another son, who pretended in obedience, but he did not obey. The Pharisees claimed to be obedient to God; however, they had refused obedience in John’s call to repentance.
Soon, He told a Parable of Wicked Vineyard Keepers, to which this parable pictures Israel as a vineyard, God as the owner of it, and the Jewish leaders as tenants who had looked after it. Just as the tenants beat and killed the servants that the owner sent to them, this was the same way the leaders persecuted and killed God’s messengers (from the Old Testament Prophets up to John the Baptist). Now, they were about to reject God’s Son. By rejecting Him, the Jews brought punishment upon themselves; therefore, God would take away the privileges from Israel to give to the Gentiles.
Then, Jesus likened Himself as the cornerstone of a building. In rejecting Jesus, the Jews were just as the builders were who had thrown away the cornerstone. God now took this rejected stone and used it in construction of a new building—the Christian Church. This new community would be of mostly Gentiles, to which, all of it was built around and into Jesus Christ! People’s attitude toward Jesus had determined their destiny, for those that rejected Him were guaranteeing their own destruction.
He also told them that God sent His messengers to Israel, but the people just ignored them. God was as a king was who had invited people to a wedding feast for his son, but when the time of the feast arrived, they refused to come. This was just like the refusing of the Jews to accept His Message and invitation to God’s Kingdom. Their rejection of Jesus would bring God’s Judgment upon them and result in the destruction of Jerusalem.
Meanwhile, the invitation that the Jews refused went to the Gentiles instead, and this brought a great response—though only some were sincere. Some were like the man that thought he wanted to go to the feast, but was either too lazy or just too busy to prepare himself properly for it. The king issued the invitation to all, but he denied entrance to those who just wanted benefits of the feast without changing their self-centeredness. Jesus invited all to enter His Kingdom, but there was no place for those who had said they believed; however, they showed no change in attitudes or behavior.
Through these Parables, the Jewish leaders knew He was talking about them; therefore, they wanted to arrest Him, but they did not want the crowd to riot.
But "Rabbi" - What about paying tribute to Caesar?
The Herodians and Pharisees attempted to trap Jesus in yet another question, this time about Jews paying taxes to Rome. If He replied “yes,” He would be considered a traitor before the Jewish people. If He said, “no,” then the Herodians would accuse Him for treason before the Roman authorities. Jesus replied that duty to God and duty to civil authorities were not in opposition, because people owe to each a debt for services and benefits received; and thus, should give to civil authorities what is due them, and to God what is due Him!
The Sadducees ask Jesus about "resurrection"
Next, a group of Sadducees came to Jesus with a question regarding the Law of Moses, to which a man dies childless that his brother would have a temporary marital relationship with the widow to produce an heir. The question was concerning the unlikely situation where a widow would meet seven husbands, all brothers, in the resurrection. Since the Sadducees did not believe in any form of life after death, they did not intend to make fun of Jesus or the Resurrection; they really wanted to know.
He tells them their question means nothing, because Israel’s laws only apply to life in the present physical realm. Life in the age to come is not a continuation of the present, Earthly life. It is completely different overall, which is typified by something they could not deny that Jesus quoted in the book of Exodus. Moreover, long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob died, Scriptures spoke of God having a living and personal relationship with them. They must have still been living, even though their bodies were dead nad buried. Some of the Scribes were impressed by His answer, and pleased that the Sadducees were silenced.
A Pharasaic lawyer asks Jesus a legal question
A teacher of the Law asked Jesus what was the greatest commandment. Jesus answered vastly, and told them that all of the commandments of the Law could be summarized under the word, “Love.” A person’s first responsibility is to love God, and the second is to love one’s fellows. People are commanded to love, which shows that love is the primary means of doing things (not feeling), for it is an attitude of loyal obedience that governs a person’s mind, will, and emotions.
What Jesus is instructing: This shows us that the most important thing is love, and that love is the fulfilling of the Law!
Jesus silences His enemies
Some questions that people asked Him were pointless. Jews understood the messiah to be a son of David, but thought of him as a political figure that would rule Israel in a golden age. Jesus wanted to show them that this was an inadequate view, for the Messiah was far more than a son of David. He then refers the audience to Psalm 110, the one the Jews regarded as Messianic. It was written a thousand years earlier and sung by temple singers in praise of King David after his conquer of Jerusalem to establish his throne there.
However, the person who wrote such words was actually David and Jesus noted that it was written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in praise of the Messiah, meaning the opening words of it where people called David, “my lord,” were the same as David expressing it to the Messiah. The Messiah, the one whom everyone knew as David’s descendant, was also David’s Lord. The Messiah was not just Earthly, but also Divine.
Some understood what He said, and did not want to ask any further trick questions. He was telling them that His work was not to revive and expand the old kingdom of Israel, but to establish the Eternal Kingdom of God—something completely different.
In His last public discourse, Jesus solemnly denounces the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus has been criticized for lack of self-control in this exposure of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees. One must bear in mind the tremendous sins of which the Pharisees are guilty. The very teachers of righteousness are now in the act of rejection and finally crucifying the Son of God!
These people desired to kill God’s Messengers, and would even kill the Messiah Himself. Therefore, God’s Judgment was coming against murderous people, including those that had not received it yet. They would live to see the place destroyed and national life ended (which is a prophecy of the 70 AD collapse on Jerusalem). In rejecting Him as the Messiah who came unto them, the Jews were rejecting their only hope (of Salvation), to which they would not experience God’s Blessing until they acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah and as their Savior!
What we must learn: We must not only keep ourselves from false teachers and false prophets, but also we should do our best not to keep others from Christ. We must minister Christ, and speak about all of His Good Works to save people! Many people will not desire Salvation, but if we encourage them anyway, we could easily sow seeds that would bring a great harvest later.
The poor widow's gift
This was the last occurrence in the Savior’s Public Ministry, except the trial and the crucifixion. This is the last appearance of Jesus in the Temple. His public teaching is over, except for his words of defense in His trial and the seven sayings on the cross. The Pharisees and Sadducees had withdrawn in terror at the explosion of the wrath of Jesus, and even the Disciples were at some distance as Jesus sat alone by the treasury. It is useless further to plead with His enemies. The task now remains to get the Disciples prepared for the Master’s death, and the time is short. As of yet, they have completely failed to grasp the fact of the significance of His death and the promise of His Resurrection on the third day.
In one of the courts of the Temple, there were large offering containers where people dropped their gifts of monies. They were in an open places where onlookers could see how much people put inside the containers. Those who gave in abundance could easily draw attention to themselves, and Jesus had noticed that some of the rich gave generously, but there was a poor widow who gave an amount so small it was almost no value.
Jesus, however, was more concerned with how people gave rather than the amount; therefore, He considered the widows had given more than anyone else had, because He measured the gift by the degree of sacrifice of the contributor, not of its value. A heart of true commitment, not money, was a prized thing in the Kingdom.
What can we learn from her gift? We should not forget that Jesus still sees the treasury and knows how much men give to His Cause. He looks at the heart of the giver, not the amount for crying out loud, because He expects that people give based on their heart. If someone sincerely gives an amount they believe they can give, it is better than those who give just because they feel they have to (grudgingly). We should give what we feel we can give, not a set amount necessarily.
Jesus is preparing His Disciples for the coming trouble related to His Death and Resurrection work on the cross. Adversity is about come mightily and will not waver for anybody.
The incredibly long preparation can be found in the following Scriptures, which you may use for reference purposes: Mark 13-14:42; Matthew 24-26:46; Luke 21-22:46; John 12:2-18; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.
We see the following in preparation: Occasion of the Prophecy about the destruction of the Temple; inquiry for further light from Peter and James and John and Andrew on Christ’s Second Coming and the End of the World; Sign for the destruction of Jerusalem:
- False Christs;
- The Second Coming of Jesus Christ (The Parable of the Fig Tree).
Readiness is urged by a series of Parables:
- The Parable of the Porter
- The Parable of the Master of the House
- The Parable of the Faithful Servant and the Evil Servant
- The Parable of the Ten Virgins
- The Parable of the Talents
- The Parable of the Sheep and Goats (Picture of the Judgment)
The Whole Story on Eschatology
Jesus explains what we need to know, which is what He taught to His Disciples in regards to eschatology. This was serious, as Jesus told them the time is near. Let's explore...
Jesus had spoken through Parables and other teachings about going away and Returning in Glory, to which would be the climax of the age introducing the Triumph of His Kingdom and Final Judgment. His Disciples have connected the dots on these events well, and know about the predicted destruction of Jerusalem. However, they connected the Second Coming of the Messiah with the predicted destruction of the Temple. They asked Him what significance these events would occur before these final events of the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age.
Jesus told them that the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple were not (necessarily) connected with the Return of the Messiah or the end of the age. They were not to believe rumors they might hear occasionally about the Messiah had already returned, because there will always be false prophets that try to attract a following for themselves; therefore, they were not to think that all wars, famines, earthquakes, etc. were sure signs of the end times being near.
The end would not come, nonetheless, until the Gospel had spread through the entire world, and this goal would be reached only after much opposition (persecutions). God’s servants would endure persecution, be betrayed by friends, and many would be killed. Only by love and faith in God would people be able to endure their trials; however, even if their sufferings resulted in death, God would preserve them for His Heavenly Kingdom.
The people of Jesus’ day would probably not see the final events of world history; however, many would see the foreshadowing of such events and witness the horror of the destruction of Jerusalem. Seeing the Roman armies approaching the city, people would run in horror without even taking their stuff. They would escape and try to get away even in winter or harsh weather conditions that would just slow them down. They would even escape on the Sabbath (even if restricted).
Women and children would suffer especially, as the enemy’s savage attack would be the most terrible and destructive than anything they have ever known, and if God did not stop them, no one would be left alive. The event would repeat the atrocities of Antiochus Epiphanes, but worse (the abomination of desolation).
Anyway, false prophets would continue to draw Jesus’ Disciples into their group with clever tricks and comforting words, assuring them that he was the messiah who had returned and was hiding in a safe house. The Disciples of Jesus were not to believe these rumors, because Jesus’ Return would be sudden, open, and startling just like lightning. When God intervenes, He will do so greatly, and it will be obvious! The Present Age will end as Jesus Returns in Power and Glory to save His People and judge His enemies.
Just as the first leaves on the fig tree indicate summer’s arrival, so it will be when the Disciples see the false messiahs come, as well as the persecution and approach of the Roman armies—to which, they will know the Destruction of Jerusalem and the nation is upon them. People of Jesus’ day would see this fulfilled in their lifetime.
As far as the day when the Lord Jesus Christ would Return in His Kingdom, no one knows when that will be except for the Father in Heaven! People will be carrying on with their routines, ignoring God’s warnings just as the people did in the days of Noah when the Lord was working through him. However, just as the flood came, which was God’s means of judgment on those people, the same will be with Jesus’ Return when He brings judgment on sinners and Salvation to His People. It will be unexpected just as a thief would be breaking into a house while the owner sleeps. The Disciples of Jesus Christ must be fully prepared for His Return all the time, and must not settle down to a life of self-pleasing; however, we must all live faithfully for Him.
(Soon, we see three stories recorded from Jesus that give a discourse on what He just taught. He would be leaving the Earth for an unknown amount of time, and then Return in Glory. Those who had prepared themselves for His Return would enter His Kingdom with joy, but those who did not would lose out. Three reasons for people’s failures are detailed as thoughtlessness, laziness, and/or indifference!)
For the first Parable… At a marriage, a bridegroom with his friends brought the bride from her father’s house to his own house, where a feast was being held for the wedding. This was the procession that the ten girls had met; however, some of the girls were foolish and did not consider that the bridegroom might not come at the time they expected. When his arrival was delayed, they were unprepared. Soon, he arrived, but there was no time for preparations; therefore, the foolish girls were locked outside of the house with no further chance of getting into the wedding feast. In this same way, because of carelessness, many people would not be prepared for Jesus’ Return, and therefore, they would miss out on the blessings that the Kingdom brings.
For the second Parable… A businessman went on a journey, but left his business in care of three trusted workers. He gave money to them, which varied according to their abilities. Two of them worked well and made good profits; however, the third one was lazy and did nothing. Once the owner returned, he was pleased with the first two men whom he rewarded; however, the third one (lazy) tried to excuse himself by saying he might have traded at a loss so he didn’t want to anger his employer. He received a reply that if he thought his employer was so hungry for money that he looked only for profits and was uninterested in honest work, he would have just put his money in the bank. Then he would have at least gained profits through interest.
The meaning of this is that God gives people different skills and abilities, and they need to use these in the business of expanding His Kingdom. Those using their gifts will be reward with increased abilities; however, those that neglect such gifts would become useless. The Day of Reckoning will bring joy for some, and disappointment for the others.
The third Parable… He talks about His Return in Power and Glory to judge the world. His Judgment is revealed for anyone—not just specific people—for there are only two types of people in the world: sheep and goats as typified in this story. The “sheep” are God’s People, who have given proof of this by practical love shown to others, even at expense of convenience or comfort, which is from their ability to be selfless. They may not be aware of the good things they do or what appreciation people have of them. However, Jesus does notice and has identified Himself with the needy, because He sees the kindness done to them as if done to Him.
The “goats” then are those who are selfish—always looking out for their own interests, but lacking interest in the misery and suffering of others. In this, it shows their lack of love for Jesus, as they know nothing of His Character and have not learned to deny themselves for His Sake. There is no place for them in His Kingdom, for their punishment is certain. Just as in the story of the ten girls or the three employees, people condemn themselves by failure of doing good things rather than just being deliberately wrong in actions and deeds.
Jesus predicts His crucifixion two days hence
On Tuesday Evening, the beginning of the Jewish Wednesday, Jesus predicts His crucifixion to take place, “after two days.” This would be the Jewish Friday. The rulers in Jerusalem plot His death. The time for a greater deliverance has now arrived, as Jesus would die as the true Passover Lamb that would bear the penalty of sin to release sinners from bondage. People in Jerusalem were excited as the festival approached, and the chief priests planned to wait until it finished before arresting Jesus, because they did not want a riot on their hands.
While Jesus “was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper (former leper for Jesus had healed him), as Jesus sat at meat,” Mary anoints Jesus for His burial. This anointing has nothing in common with that given by Luke 7:36-50, except the face of a woman anointing the Savior’s feet. The name, “Simon,” was common among the Jews. The first anointing was in Galilee; this anointing is at Bethany, near Jerusalem.
Take special note that Mary here in Bethany is anticipating Jesus’ speedy death and burial, of which, there is no distinct mention in the Galilean anointing. In view of all these differences, it is absurd to represent the two anointings as the same.
Judas (Iscariot) objected that the use of this expensive perfume was a waste of money; however, Jesus told His Disciples that He would be with them only a little longer before crucifixion. Therefore, Mary’s act of devotion was the symbolic anointing of His Body in preparation for burial.
Judas bargained with feast rulers to betray Jesus
Judas, stung by the rebuke of Jesus at the Feast, bargains with the Rulers to betray Jesus, “And they weighed unto him thirty pieces of silver.” He could advise them of His movements so that they could arrest Him quietly without the people knowing about it.
Paschal Meal Prep
The day is Thursday Afternoon, a day of preparation, the preparation for the Paschal Meal at the home of a friend. (It is possible that it was at John Mark’s parent’s home.) Thursday was spent wholly with the Disciples until the arrest in Gethsemane after midnight.
It is usual that the Jews would kill the sacrificial lamb on the afternoon of Passover day, and eat it altogether on that night. Jesus knew He was to die as the sacrificial lamb on Passover day, and therefore, He prepared the meal a day earlier. He would eat it with His Disciples the evening before Passover, but probably without a lamb, since He was to be the lamb.
Jesus knew the Jews had sought for Him; therefore, Jesus made careful arrangements for the feast, so that no one knew where it would be held, except for two unnamed Disciples who other Disciples did not even know. This prevented Judas from sharing any information to the Jewish leaders, to avoid immediate threat. Two Disciples met two others and prepared the place for the Passover (“Upper Room”), as well as the food and drink for the meal.
Jesus eats the Paschal meal
It is Thursday Evening after sunset, the beginning of the Jewish Friday. Jesus partakes of the Paschal Meal with the Twelve Apostles and rebukes their jealousy. Jesus has sat down at the table with the Twelve Apostles with Him. He had wished to eat with them before He was to suffer, as He would not eat it again until it is fulfilled in His Kingdom. He was about to break bread with them.
Then washes the Disciples' feet
When they were gathered for the meal, Jesus became the servant and washed the Disciples’ feet. This would typify His humility and that He would cleanse people from sin. Peter did not understand this and therefore he objected. Jesus told him if he refused to let Jesus cleanse him, he could not be Jesus’ Disciple.
By the cleansing, Jesus referred to cleansing from sin, which is something that Peter would understand in its fullness after His death and Resurrection. Peter thought if he was to be cleansed for his feet, maybe all over would suffice better. However, he again did not realize what Jesus was doing. The Disciples (except Judas) were cleansed all over, and needed no further cleansing. The feet cleansing was not for actual cleansing (according to the Law), but it was symbolic for humility.
Jesus gave the Disciples an example that if He, their Lord and teacher, had humbled Himself by washing their feet—how much more should they, His servants, humble themselves to serve each other. Jesus knew of the traitorous work of Judas; however, the rest of them were His servants and messengers who received Him and His Father!
Aha! Judas is the betrayer
The Disciples were astonished that one of them would betray Jesus, because they did not know of any treachery among them. Some of them thought that one of them might do so carelessly; however, Judas knew what Jesus meant and asked Him if it was he, and Jesus said it was so. Jesus then honored Judas by dipping a piece and giving it to him, hoping to change his heart on the matter; however, Judas’ heart was already locked in evil plans. Jesus seemed to only know Judas’ intentions, so the others did not suspect him. Judas departed from the room soon after, which made the death of Christ certain.
Disciples warned against desertion
Judas had departed from them quickly. Meanwhile, they become aware that Jesus’ death would Glorify the Father in Heaven, as He showed His immeasurable Love on display for sinful people. However, they were to show no bitterness in any grief they have about His death, but rather, a forgiving love. He repeats that they should love one another as He has loved them. People should know of His Disciples by the way that they love!
Jesus knew that they would all run away and leave Him in His final house, as sheep that scatter in panic when the shepherd is killed. Peter boldly assures Jesus that even though the others leave Him, he would never do so. However, Jesus knew Peter better than he himself knew, and told Peter that he would deny Jesus three times before the cock crowed.
Peter reassured Him that He would not deny Him. However, Peter would do great things in the future to help the Disciples. Jesus told them to prepare for the new life ahead, which is tougher than anything they had previously experienced, as they would have to preserve their lives. However, the Disciples misunderstood Jesus as well; however, Jesus felt He said enough and left them to think about it.
The First Communion
Jesus took some of the bread and wine, gave thanks, and then gave it to the Disciples as symbols of His Body and Blood being offered in sacrifice. His Blood is the sealing of God’s Covenant, which is the unconditional promise of forgiveness and Eternal Life to all those who receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
Just as the Israelites kept the Passover as a remembrance of God’s Gracious Work in saving them back then, Jesus desires the Disciples to keep the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of the One through whose death they are saved of sin and given Eternal Life. Eventually, when Jesus Returns, there will be no more need of bread and wine remembrance, as He and His People will be together in His Eternal Kingdom!
What is vital here: His Body and His Blood are our food for the soul. It is to be a Remembrance of the sacrifice Jesus made to redeem us of our sins. By partaking of the Bread and Wine, we are celebrating and remembering what He did on the cross, which allows our hearts to remain focused on Him with gratitude and hopeful sincerity. Paul warns, however, that one must do this remembrance in sincerity, as taking this is as taking Him as our Lord and Life! If there is any insincerity, it should not be taken, because the heart must be open to remain in touch with His Redemptive Work, so that we may receive the blessing of this sacred ordinance.
Discourse in the Upper Room
Jesus was surely about to die and the Disciples knew this. He comforted them by saying He was going to the Father to prepare a permanent place for them that they can dwell, so that one day, He will return to take them with Him forever! As His Loyal Disciples, they would share in His Final Victory!
Thomas, however, misunderstood, and thought Jesus was speaking of a physical location and journey; therefore, he wanted Jesus to show them the way so that they would have no difficulty in finding Him later at the right time. Jesus explained that the way to the Father was only through the Son, and that Jesus had brought the truth of God and Eternal Life to mankind. To know Him was to know God.
Philip misunderstood, as he wanted special revelation of the Father, even though he clearly knew the Father and the Son were inseparable. Everything Jesus did were directly from the Father’s deeds and words. When Jesus returned to the Father, He told them that they would receive the Holy Ghost, and that, through the Power of the Spirit, they would do even greater works than Jesus had done. His Ministry was limited to a few years around their general regions; however, the Disciples would be able to travel near and far to reach the world for God! A new era was about to encompass them as Jesus returned to the Father!
When Jesus returned to the Father, He would send the Holy Ghost as the Helper, counselor, guide, and one to help instruct and strengthen them. Those that did not believe in Jesus would not be able to understand how this Helper worked, because their understanding was limited to worldly things. Soon, Jesus would leave the world, but not desert His Disciples, because He would live within them. He would continue to love them, and they would love Him.
Judas Thaddeus (not the betrayer) was still thinking of His Physical Body, and could not understand how the Disciples could see Him, but no one else could not. He replied that not only the Son, but the Father also, would live with them, as long as they gave proof they loved Him by obeying Him, especially with help from the Teacher, the Holy Ghost! Jesus saw the Disciples’ continual confusion, to which they were promised peace. Jesus did not mean they would live perfect lives without trouble, but that they would have more inward peace, even if they were outwardly affected.
The Disciples should not worry over His coming death, but be glad that by His death, completion of the Work of the Father would happen. Even though Jesus was sinless and not under the devil’s power, He would allow satan’s servants to betray and kill Him, so that through His death, He might fulfill the Father’s Will for Salvation!
Discourse on the way to Gethsemane
All that a believer in Jesus Christ has comes from Jesus Christ. He is like the vine, and we are like the branches, which mean that they can bear spiritual fruit only as they are united in Him. As believers allow the Father to remove hindrances, such as sin, from their lives, they will bear even more fruit. Those who do not bear fruit are like the dead branches of a vine—as they are not attached to it, they receive no life from it. They may say they are Disciples of Him; however, they have no union with Him and will be destroyed in the end, just as Judas Iscariot was.
If people claim to be His True Disciples, they must prove it by their spiritual fruits that result from union with Christ, such as obedience, love, joy, good prayer, etc. Jesus wants them to serve Him willingly, with love and understanding. This is why He chose the Disciples, because they were trained to know God’s Ways, and if their service was based on the knowledge of God and of love, they can expect lasting fruit.
Union with Christ brings suffering, however, and because of their relationship to Him, they would be hated by the world. Loyalty to Christ brings persecution, and Jesus’ teaching and work clearly showed His Divinity. Those that saw and heard Christ had no excuse for unbelief, for their clearer knowledge increased guilt in their lives, to which, they may have claimed to worship God, but they hated Jesus, which also meant they hated God.
The Disciples believed upon Christ, and would receive the Spirit and His Help during the difficult times ahead. They could expect roughness ahead, and therefore, when Christ departed, the Holy Ghost would come and help the Disciples in defending them and opposing the persecutors. He would convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. This means sin is the cause of unbelief in Christ, and that Jesus’ death is the way to God, which is proved through His Resurrection and Ascension. Judgment for sinners is certain, because satan has been conquered by the death of Jesus.
Jesus could not speak much more to the Disciples, because of how grieved they were. After He left them, the Holy Ghost would come unto them and help them understand. The teaching brought to them could concern the present and the future; therefore, it should confirm things for them. Jesus would soon be taken from them, but return in a few days. Their sorrow will become joy just as a woman’s pains before birth are replaced with joy after the birth when she sees her child. Jesus’ victory through death and Resurrection would bring confidence in God that they had never partaken before. Jesus would be the mediator or intercessor that they can pray through to the Father and receive His Blessings!
Many of the Disciples would understand completely what Jesus has been saying all along after His Resurrection, which would speak of the purpose of His Mission. They would no longer depend upon Jesus to pray for them; therefore, they would have to learn to pray personally and with confidence (especially based upon the instructions that He gave them concerning prayer). This is only possible because of who Jesus was and what He had done!
Jesus’ words had strengthened the Disciples’ faith; however, they failed to realize that a few hours later, their faith would be tested, as they would be frightened and confused on forsaking their Lord in His final hours. The lapse in faithfulness, nonetheless, would only be temporary, as through His Victory, they would Triumph!
The Intercessory Prayer
Jesus now prays before the Lord God fervently, in reflection of the Triumph of the completed work. He begins by speaking of His relationship with the Father, and that His Will was to reveal God to the world so that people could receive Eternal Life through Him. He prays to the Lord that by dying on the cross and thus finishing the work successful, He would Glorify God. This is also in hopes that Glory would be found in Christ through this, as He would ascend to His Father and sit at His Right Hand where He belonged originally.
Only some believed in Him and knew He was God and that He had come from the Father to make Him known. In other words, Jesus came to reveal the Father, and in doing so, was rejected by most, but acknowledged by some. That remnant would be His People—His True People that is, who are going to share in His Coming Kingdom that He will Rule in Eternally.
Next, He prays that His Disciples would live in a way to show His Glory to the world, so that their unity will display a similar unity as the Father is to the Son. He wants His Disciples to remains as faithful to Him as possible so they will not be defeated by evil in the world. He wants them to share with Him the Triumph and Joy that shall come through the completion of the Will of the Father. As Jesus leaves the world, His Disciples will continue the work. He prays that they will not be discouraged by hatred or even corrupted by sin. Jesus gave Himself to God to carry out His Work, so He desires that His Disciples would give themselves to God to spread His Message in the entire world.
Finally, Jesus prayed for those that would believe through the preaching of that first group of Disciples and become God’s new people, the Christian Church. He prays that the same unity that exists between the Father and Son would bind all of the Disciples together in one family so that through them others would believe as well, to which in the age to come enjoying of the Glory that was His before the world began. Those that have trusted in Him will be there with Him in the Triumphant Kingdom of God that He will Rule and Reign over! Meanwhile, even though there is unbelief in the present world, many people will come to Christ and share in the Love that the Father has for the Son (by being joint-heirs in a way). The world will begin to know God when the world sees the Love of Jesus in His People!
The Synoptic Gospels do not give the great discourse of Jesus in John 14-17. Hence they represent Jesus as going forth to Gethsemane after the institution of the supper. The time was probably not long, and they apparently sang the hymn (probably one of the Psalms; Mark 14:26/Matthew 26:30), as they rose to leave the Upper Room in John 14:31. Thus, the passage in John 15-17 comes in between singing the hymn and reaching Gethsemane. Gethsemane was an open garden, between the Brook Kedron and the foot of the Mount of Olives. It is late in the night introducing Friday, and Jesus suffers long and in horrible agony.
All of them sung a hymn, as they departed to the Mount of Olives and then into Gethsemane. Coming upon Gethsemane, it is about midnight when He and His Disciples arrived. Jesus took Peter, James, and John with Him and moved to a spot to which they could be alone. He was filled with anguish and horror as He saw what death meant for Him, as the others sympathized with Him. He had to battle temptation to avoid suffering that lies ahead; however, the battle was something He had to fight and win alone. The “cup of suffering” that caused Jesus such anguish was not just about a physical suffering event, but rather, also an inner agony as He, the Sinless One, was to take upon Himself the sin of human creatures, and bore the wrath on their behalf.
No one else could know the pain, but Christ, as He had a human will, and knowing that He must complete the Father’s Will; therefore, conflict arose within. He fought against temptation in avoiding the cross, and his agony was so intense that He had sweat blood. However, He won the battle, and was determined to do the Father’s Will. Jesus saw the weakness that the Disciples had, and told them to be alert and pray for strength, as they would be tested soon. They would face a temptation to deny Jesus so that they may save themselves.
What do we learn here: We may come upon battles that are tough, even to win on our own; however, we don’t have to fight them alone, for He provides the strength we need and will assist us when we call out to Him!
We are reaching a critical juncture in the Life of Christ. Because Jesus was betrayed by Judas, officials are aware of His whereabouts, and are seeking to take Him in for questioning.
SCRIPTURE: Mark 14:43-15:19; Matthew 26:47-27:30; Luke 22:47-23:25; John 18:2-19:16
First: Jesus is betrayed, arrested, and forsaken - Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before being taken to Annas, the ex-High Priest... It is Friday, long before dawn, the day of Suffering; and this has become, for the Christian, the Day of the cross. It is in the Garden of Gethsemane that Jesus is betrayed, arrested, and forsaken.
Judas knew of the garden, for He went there often with His Disciples, to which, Judas led the guards to seize in arresting Jesus. This is the betrayal by Judas (with a kiss), to which, Jesus needed no one to defend Him. The men that came with Judas fell to the ground upon meeting Him, but Jesus surrendered unto them, especially hoping that His friends were not harmed. The Disciples tried to fight; however, Jesus told them that if they practiced violence, they would also suffer violence. If Jesus wanted help, He would draw it supernaturally; however, this was not necessary as He was fulfilling Prophecy. The soldiers grabbed a person that followed Jesus, but he escaped. The Disciples fled once a fight broke out.
The Jewish trial comprised three stages:
- The preliminary examination by Annas
- The informal trial by the Sanhedrin, probably before dawn
- The formal trial after dawn
Jesus was taken and bound, being led to Annas first, and then to Caiaphas. Annas was the previous High Priest, and could give Him a preliminary examination, before His trial. Jesus noted that He spoke no evil, for they would have to give proof. Otherwise, why smite? Jesus noted that His teachings were known by many and they did not have any evil. Therefore, Jesus was taken to Caiaphas the High Priest next.
A gambit: It was illegal for the Sanhedrin to meet at night; however, they considered this an emergency.
Jesus was brought before Caiaphas, where he had called the Sanhedrin together to condemn Jesus immediately. They teased Him, telling Him to prophesy who struck Him in the face (as He was blindfolded during this encounter). Nonetheless, the leaders desired for Jesus to say something of blasphemous intent, so they could condemn Him to death. They were satisfied as Jesus said He was the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Son of man—to which, He was about to receive the Glorious Kingdom of God. They suddenly abused Jesus violently and condemned Him to death.
Peter denies Jesus Christ
Discussion of interpretation: At the Court of the High Priest’s residence, Friday, before dawn during the series of the trials, we are seeing the unfolding of Peter's denial. There is something interesting here... Each of the four Gospels record three denials. But the details differ considerably, as must always be the case where in each narrative a few facts are selected out of many sayings and doings. John gives only the first of the three stages, Luke only the last, Matthew and Mark the second stage fully, and the third is mentioned briefly.
If Peter’s denials ran through all three (Luke says in verse 59 that there was an hour between his second and third denial), then not one of the four Gospels could give each of the denials precisely at the time of its occurrence, and so each Gospel merely throws them together. We attempt here yet another way: We bring them together in one section. There is no difficulty about the substantial fact of the denials, and we must be content with our inability to arrange all the circumstances into a complete program.
The story: Peter was in the courtyard while Jesus was being tested. A servant girl recognized Him as a Disciple, and asked if he had any association, to which he denied. A bit later, another person recognized him and told the people standing near, and again, he denies Christ; however, this time with an oath. About an hour later, some of the bystanders had approached Peter again, wondering if he was sure he wasn’t a follower… Peter denied emphatically. Soon, the cock would crow, signifying that Jesus was correct of what Peter would do. It reminded Peter of his folly, to which, Jesus saw Peter, and Peter was filled with grief and began weeping bitterly.
Jesus is then condemned by the Sanhedrin at the Residence of Caiaphas
It was a long night for Jesus, which included the Passover, the Lord’s Supper, the washing of the Disciples’ feet, the long discussion in the upper room, the walk to Gethsemane and the agonizing prayer time in the garden, the arrest, and then the questioning that contributed to the rough handling of Him at the high priest’s house.
Now that it was a new day, judgment could be passed to Jesus by legal sentence, to which He was made to stand before the Sanhedrin for a brief repeat of the investigation the previous night. The leaders could make a formal charge against Him to present to the Roman authorities, so they had to come up with something to convince the governor what He had done and why He needed execution.
Judas ends it for himself: Judas, the betrayer, “repented himself” and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the Chief Priests and Elders. Judas went out and hanged himself. He returned the thirty pieces of silver, and this was the money used to purchase Potter’s field where Judas was buried.
Jesus appears before Pilate
The process of the Roman Trial:
- The first appearance before the Roman Procurator Pilate
- The appearance before Herod Antipas, the native ruler of Galilee appointed by the Romans
- The final appearance before Pilate
The time here is Friday, early morning. Jesus is taken to Pilate the first time.
The Jewish leaders were attempting a formal charge against Jesus so they could convince the Roman governor of His deserving of execution. Bringing Jesus before Governor Pilate, they had to go to Jerusalem into his Praetorium. The Jewish leaders took Him to Pilate early in the morning to have Him dealt with before festivities started (again, as reviewed earlier to avoid a riot since Jesus was so remarkably influential).
The Jews charged Jesus with blasphemy, as He called Himself the Son of God; however, when they took Jesus to Pilate, they twisted the situation and the charge that not only did He claim to be God, but also to be above Caesar. Suggesting Him to be a political rebel, they tried to lead Him as a messianic uprising as if He would overthrow the Roman’s rule to set up an independent Jewish province. Pilate then attempts to dismiss the case, probably waiving Him as just an annoyance; however, the Jewish leader pressed upon their charges further.
Jesus then explains to Pilate the true picture that His Kingdom was not concerned with political power; therefore, He was not trying to create an uprising. Rather, it was a spiritual kingdom that was based upon truth. Pilate did not understand Jesus; however, he did understand enough to be convinced that Jesus was definitely not a political rebel, and thus, suspected that the Jews handed Him over for judgment because of jealousy of the remarkable following that Jesus created. He decided that Jesus should see Herod.
Now before Herod
Pilate soon learned that Jesus was from Galilee and that since he did not control relations in Galilee, he sent Jesus to the Galilean governor, Herod Antipas, who happened to be in town for the festivities as well. As Jesus came before Herod, He refused to speak to Herod (He was just silent the whole time), and did not attempt to defend Himself against the false accusations of the Jewish authorities; therefore, after mocking Him ridiculously and adorning Him with a gorgeous robe, Herod sent Him back to Pilate. Apparently, through this, Herod and Pilate became friends after having hostility for so long.
Again before Pilate
Herod returns Jesus to Pilate. The time is now Friday toward sunrise. John uses Roman time with the hour starting at 12 midnight and 12 noon, as is done today. However, the Synoptics use Hebrew reckoning, beginning with sunrise (6 am to 7 am being the first hour, etc.). This is apparent from the care with which the Gospels specify particular hours in relation to the crucifixion. Jesus was put on the cross at 9 am (“third hour,” Mark 15:25). Darkness was over the land from noon until 3 pm (“sixth till ninth hour,” Matthew 27:45-46; Mark 15:33-34; Luke 23:44). Thus, the “sixth hour” mentioned in John 19:14 could not be Hebrew time (noon) but rather 6 am, “when morning was come,” according to Matthew 27:1-2.
The choice was: Free Barabbas or Acquit Jesus
Pilate slowly and reluctantly, and in fear, surrendered to the demand of the Sanhedrin for the crucifixion of Christ. He could not escape full legal and moral responsibility for his cowardly surrender to the Sanhedrin to keep his own office. Both the Pharisees and Sadducees unite in the demand for the Blood of Jesus. It is impossible to make a mere political issue out of it and to lay all the blame on the Sadducees, who feared a revolution. The Pharisees began the attack against Jesus on theological and ecclesiastical grounds. The Sadducees later joined the conspiracy against Christ. Judas was a mere tool of the Sanhedrin, who had his own resentments and grievances to avenge.
The time is Friday, between 6 and 9 am. The Roman soldiers mock Jesus, just as the Sanhedrin had done during the trial at the residence of the High Priest, Caiaphas.
Some soldiers were preparing for the crucifixion, and some in Pilate’s Praetorium were mocking Jesus as “King” and putting old soldiers’ clothes on Him. They adorned Him with a royal (scarlet colored) robe and a crown of thorns. They even hit Him over the head with a stick that was His “sceptre.” After that, they spat in His face and punched Him.
Then they shout at Him:
"HAIL! KING OF THE JEWS!"
Jesus is now prepared for His Crucifixion process, and we will be covering that in the next blog.
What can we learn during this process?
We must keep in mind to not be as the Disciples who fled, but be the people who continually follow Christ, even through troubles. We should be faithful in following Christ, because turning back is a sin (similar to those that put their hand to the plough, but look back are not fit for the Kingdom of heaven/God). Many evil people shut their eyes to the truth, and will not listen to reason, because of the wickedness in their hearts. Let us confess Christ’s Name, even in reproach, because He will confess us before the Father! No matter what we are to endure, as long as we do it for the Glory of God, nothing can stop us, for He will be with us to strengthen us the whole way through.
Wicked men must answer to the consequences of their evil deeds; therefore, it is always best to repent of your sins before you reap the consequences. This reminds us to bring more sinners to Christ so that hell does not have its way with them in death. His People must realize and begin thinking about Kingdom things rather than worldly things, so that we may be prepared and look forward to His Coming Kingdom!
Therefore, in the face of our accusers, as Jesus was in the face of accusers, we must stand firm and allow the Lord to lead us on what to say, what not to say, and how to work out a situation for His Will. Jesus knew He could speak to Pilate, but speaking to Herod was not going to be a good idea, as even though Jesus did not speak to him, he still mocked Jesus. The Lord knows when people will understand and when they will not, and He will lead us on what to say, for we have the Comforter and the Teacher to guide us. Christ did God’s Will so that He may obtain the joy, Glory, and completing of the purchase for us Eternal Life. We must do the same that we do God’s Will so that we may do it for the joy of the reward we will receive for Eternity!