Jesus Betrayed, Denied and Condemned
Welcome back to our Easter 2013 series, AGOG – A Glimpse of God. We are on Day 28 of our adventure, looking together at the life of the most amazing person in human history - Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Today we look briefly at Jesus being betrayed and denied by two of his closest friends and then condemned by both the religious and political authorities.
For the 3 years of His public ministry, Jesus has preached the good news of God’s salvation to reconcile people back into relationship with Almighty God. He has healed the sick, raised the dead, and with a little food has fed thousands of people! He has built strong relationships with his disciples. He has proclaimed that His mission will be fulfilled through his death and being raised back to life. After his prayers in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus is arrested and betrayed (Matthew 26:36-56). From there Jesus appears before various religious authorities. During this time, Jesus is recorded as saying very little and often with oblique answers to their questioning. This prompts his accusers to mock, blindfold insult and beat him. When the accusers couldn’t find any witnesses to speak against Jesus, they confronted him with false witnesses. When the High Priest asked Jesus directly “Are you the Christ?” Jesus says “I am!” At which the priest reacts with anger and accuses Jesus of blasphemy. During this time, Jesus also suffers the indignation of being denied by Peter, one of his leading disciples. From there Jesus is condemned, and sent to the Roman authorities. With all these events we look briefly together at Jesus’ betrayal by Judas and then his appearance before the Roman authorities.
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. Then satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. and Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus. They were delighted and agreed to give him money. He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
Jews were expected to remove all yeast from their houses (Exodus12:15) as a reminder that their ancestors left Egypt in a hurry and had to eat bread without yeast. Jesus had warned his disciples about the “yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1). In other words, the religious leaders had cleansed their houses but not their hearts. The last thing the religious leaders wanted was a messianic uprising during Passover (Luke 19:11).
Judas was motivated and energized by satan (John 13:2, 27) and was never a true believer because his sins had never been cleansed by the Lord (John 13:10-11). Therefore Judas had never believed or received eternal life (John 6:64-71). However, Judas had been given authority and had been preaching the same message. This proves how close a person can come to the kingdom of God and still be lost (Matthew 7:21-29). Judas could have chosen not to betray Jesus but his heart was won over by the short term benefits offered by the finance given to him to betray Jesus.
That is the betrayal, let us now look at Jesus being condemned to be crucified by the Roman authorities.
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they struck him in the face. Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, "Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him." When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, "Here is the man!"
As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, "Crucify! Crucify!" But Pilate answered, "You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him." The Jews insisted, "We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God."
When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. "Where do you come from?" he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. "Do you refuse to speak to me?" Pilate said. "Don't you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?"
Jesus answered, "You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin."
From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, "If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar."
When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge's seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of Passover Week, about the sixth hour.
"Here is your king," Pilate said to the Jews.
But they shouted, "Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!"
"Shall I crucify your king?" Pilate asked.
"We have no king but Caesar," the chief priests answered.
Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
Pilate was the Roman Governor of Judea. It was he that made the decision and gave the order for Jesus to be crucified. Pilate gave in and permitted the flogging and mockery in the hope of shaming Jesus’ accusers (John 19:1-3). Pilate affirmed Jesus’ innocence after the scourging (John 19:4). Jesus’ refusal to answer him, stings Pilate into reminding Jesus of his Roman authority (John 19:10). Jesus, however, corrected Pilate’s idea of authority and told him that although Pilate may have power on earth, his power did not reach beyond earth (John 19:11).
Jesus knew that his work of bringing people back to God in a loving relationship did not rest on the actions of a mere Roman governor. Overall, we see that Pilate was more concerned with his own position than he was for justice. Jesus is publicly rejected by the masses and by the religious authorities who proclaim publicly that Caesar is their only King, while forgetting that in reality, God is their King! Jesus is led away to die on his cross as a common criminal.
Come back tomorrow for Day 29 of our series AGOG, as we continue to look together at that extraordinary man, Jesus Christ, through the Gospel accounts! We shall see together Jesus final moments before He goes to his crucifixion! See you soon at Partakers!
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