Skip to main content

Montage of Insanity

We’ll be moving right along in Matthew this morning, picking up towards the end of chapter 26, in verse 57.

Written by David Steltz on .

Notes

We started studying Matthew in August of 2021, and this is our 73rd week of actually studying in Matthew!

 

It has been nearly two years! But the end is in sight.

 

In fact, the end of Jesus’s bodily ministry on earth is exactly what’s on his mind, as we saw last week. Mike brought us through the scene in the garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was in agony knowing the trials he knew were ahead, and yet fully willing to go through them anyway. He has spent the better part of the night in prayer, wrestling with God in this tension of being fully submitted to God’s will, while still free to express his own desires and thoughts to the Father.

 

Recap/Timeline

 

Let’s run through a quick review of the timeline leading up to this night, just to get a little bit of context:

 

[Timeline Slide]

 

The timeline varies slightly among the four gospels, and the exact chronology can be a matter of interpretation. But this is an overview of the week so far:

 

  • Palm Sunday (Arrival in Jerusalem): Jesus arrives in Jerusalem like a king, and the crowd welcomes him by laying palm branches on his path, hailing him as Messiah. This event is known as the Triumphal Entry (Matthew 21:1-11).

 

  • Monday: The mood shifts, when Jesus cleanses the Temple by driving out the money changers and those who were buying and selling in the Temple, condemning them for turning a house of prayer into a den of robbers (Matthew 21:12-17).

 

  • Tuesday (Day of Controversy and Parables): Jesus returns to the Temple, where he is challenged by the religious leaders. He teaches through parables and gives the Olivet Discourse, teaching about the end times (Matthew 21:23-25:46).

 

  • Wednesday (Day of Rest): Traditionally, this day is thought of as a day of rest for Jesus. There is no biblical record of what happened this day. Some also suggest this is the day Judas conspired with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).

 

  • Thursday (The Last Supper): Jesus and his disciples have the Passover meal, during which Jesus institutes the Lord's Supper (or Eucharist). Jesus washes his disciples' feet and predicts his betrayal. Afterward, they go to the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus prays (Matthew 26:17-46).

 

  • Late Thursday night to Early Friday (Jesus's Arrest, Trials, and Sentencing): Jesus is betrayed by Judas, arrested, and taken to the high priest Caiaphas. He is tried and denied by Peter. Early in the morning, Jesus is taken to Pilate, the Roman governor. He is sentenced to be crucified (Matthew 26:47-27:26).

 

  • Friday (Crucifixion and Death): Jesus is crucified at a place known as Golgotha. He is on the cross from about the third hour (9 a.m.) until the ninth hour (3 p.m.). He is buried the same day by Joseph of Arimathea in a nearby tomb (Matthew 27:27-60).

 

  • Saturday (Sabbath and Day of Rest): Jesus's body is in the tomb during the Sabbath. The tomb is sealed and guarded by Roman soldiers (Matthew 27:62-66).

 

  • Sunday (Resurrection): Jesus is resurrected from the dead. The women who followed Jesus find the tomb empty, with an angel telling them that Jesus has risen from the dead (Matthew 28:1-10).

 

Passage

 

[LAST SLIDE ANIMATION HERE]

 

Today, we’ll focus in on those fateful evening hours Thursday, leading into early Friday morning. And even though it’s a relatively short period of time, I would argue that it’s the most suspenseful and dramatic sequence of events in the story so far.

 

In a narrative style that reminds me of how he starts his book, Matthew presents multiple angles, or perspectives, through a montage of four, rapid-fire scenes, each describing interactions between Jesus, or one of his disciples, and a variety of other people.

 

1. First, we’ll see a conversation betwen Jesus and the high priest Caiaphas.

 

2. Next, we are witness to Peter’s interaction with some other bystanders that night.

 

3. The next scene finds a remorseful Judas, confronting the Jewish leaders.

 

4. And finally, we see Jesus before Pilate, their conversation, and how Pilate handles the whole situation.

 

Let’s read the whole passage together to get an overview, then we’ll take a closer look at each scene one at at a time.

 

Matthew 26:57-27:26

 

Matthew 26:57–27:26 NLT
57 Then the people who had arrested Jesus led him to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of religious law and the elders had gathered. 58 Meanwhile, Peter followed him at a distance and came to the high priest’s courtyard. He went in and sat with the guards and waited to see how it would all end.

59 Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find witnesses who would lie about Jesus, so they could put him to death. 60 But even though they found many who agreed to give false witness, they could not use anyone’s testimony. Finally, two men came forward 61 who declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’ ”

62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Well, aren’t you going to answer these charges? What do you have to say for yourself?” 63 But Jesus remained silent. Then the high priest said to him, “I demand in the name of the living God—tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”

64 Jesus replied, “You have said it. And in the future you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

65 Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, “Blasphemy! Why do we need other witnesses? You have all heard his blasphemy. 66 What is your verdict?”

“Guilty!” they shouted. “He deserves to die!”

67 Then they began to spit in Jesus’ face and beat him with their fists. And some slapped him, 68 jeering, “Prophesy to us, you Messiah! Who hit you that time?”

69 Meanwhile, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. A servant girl came over and said to him, “You were one of those with Jesus the Galilean.”

70 But Peter denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.

71 Later, out by the gate, another servant girl noticed him and said to those standing around, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

72 Again Peter denied it, this time with an oath. “I don’t even know the man,” he said.

73 A little later some of the other bystanders came over to Peter and said, “You must be one of them; we can tell by your Galilean accent.”

74 Peter swore, “A curse on me if I’m lying—I don’t know the man!” And immediately the rooster crowed.

75 Suddenly, Jesus’ words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And he went away, weeping bitterly.

 

1 Very early in the morning the leading priests and the elders of the people met again to lay plans for putting Jesus to death. 2 Then they bound him, led him away, and took him to Pilate, the Roman governor.

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he declared, “for I have betrayed an innocent man.”

“What do we care?” they retorted. “That’s your problem.”

5 Then Judas threw the silver coins down in the Temple and went out and hanged himself.

6 The leading priests picked up the coins. “It wouldn’t be right to put this money in the Temple treasury,” they said, “since it was payment for murder.” 7 After some discussion they finally decided to buy the potter’s field, and they made it into a cemetery for foreigners. 8 That is why the field is still called the Field of Blood. 9 This fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah that says,

“They took the thirty pieces of silver—

the price at which he was valued by the people of Israel,

10 and purchased the potter’s field,

as the LORD directed.”

11 Now Jesus was standing before Pilate, the Roman governor. “Are you the king of the Jews?” the governor asked him.

Jesus replied, “You have said it.”

12 But when the leading priests and the elders made their accusations against him, Jesus remained silent. 13 “Don’t you hear all these charges they are bringing against you?” Pilate demanded. 14 But Jesus made no response to any of the charges, much to the governor’s surprise.

15 Now it was the governor’s custom each year during the Passover celebration to release one prisoner to the crowd—anyone they wanted. 16 This year there was a notorious prisoner, a man named Barabbas. 17 As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?” 18 (He knew very well that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.)

19 Just then, as Pilate was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him this message: “Leave that innocent man alone. I suffered through a terrible nightmare about him last night.”

20 Meanwhile, the leading priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas to be released and for Jesus to be put to death. 21 So the governor asked again, “Which of these two do you want me to release to you?”

The crowd shouted back, “Barabbas!”

22 Pilate responded, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

They shouted back, “Crucify him!”

23 “Why?” Pilate demanded. “What crime has he committed?”

But the mob roared even louder, “Crucify him!”

24 Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!”

25 And all the people yelled back, “We will take responsibility for his death—we and our children!”

26 So Pilate released Barabbas to them. He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.

 

Whew!

 

So, in one evening, we’ve gone from Jesus celebrating Passover with his disciples, to being betrayed, arrested, and falsely accused, to eventually being found innocent, but condemned to death anyway.

 

Jesus & Caiaphas, Sanhedrin

 

26:57-68

 

Let’s go back now and look at the first scene, Jesus and the high priest, Caiaphas.

 

The focus has shifted from the previous passage, away from the disciples who have fled and scattered, to focus in on Jesus and where they have taken him. They’ve taken him to see Caiaphas.

 

Who is Caiaphas?

 

Caiaphas served as the high priest of Jerusalem from around AD 18 to 36, during the reign of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate. His full name was Joseph ben (son of) Caiaphas, and he was the son-in-law of Annas, who had been high priest before him. Caiaphas and Annas were both influential religious leaders in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus's ministry.

 

After Jesus's arrest, he was first taken to Annas, and then to Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin for trial.

 

Historically, Caiaphas is viewed as a significant figure not only for his involvement in the trial of Jesus, but also as a representative of the collaboration between the Jewish religious leadership and the Roman government during this period.

 

Alright, so he’s a pretty important guy, influential in both Jewish and Roman spheres, so it’s a pretty big deal for him to be involved in this, particularly in the middle of the night.

 

What is the Setting?

 

Where is this first scene set? Where are they?

 

[SLIDE]

 

Matthew 26:57–58 LSB
57 Now those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together.

58 But Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in, and sat down with the officers to see the outcome.

 

The scene is set in the high priest Caiaphas's house.

 

After Jesus is arrested, he’s brought to the high priest's home. This location, in the middle of the night, becomes the scene of Jesus's first religious trial.

 

While the Bible doesn't provide a specific description of Caiaphas's house, we can infer some details based on historical context and archaeological findings. Caiaphas was the high priest in Jerusalem, a role of significant religious and political power during the time of Jesus, so his house would likely have been large and well-appointed.

 

During the first century AD in Jerusalem, wealthier homes, like that of Caiaphas, were typically constructed of stone. They would often include a central courtyard surrounded by rooms. The courtyard served as an open-air space where activities could be conducted, and rooms around it would serve various purposes including living spaces, storage, and guest rooms.

 

Homes of the wealthy and influential often had larger, more elaborate versions of these elements. They might have included decorative mosaics or frescoes, multiple levels, and fancy architectural features.

 

The Sanhedrin were gathered together here, the council of influential and respected leaders, among other people, like the servants, so we should be picturing a fairly spacious area. The house likely had a sizeable courtyard area where an assortment of people could gather, mingle, and observe the proceedings.

 

What is the Charge?

 

Initially, they try to use eyewitness accounts to make a case against Jesus using statements he made about the temple. But they don’t get anywhere with this, because he never actually made any legitimate threats.

 

I would imagine that the testimonies were all embellished and none of them were consistent, otherwise they wouldn’t really have had so much difficulty charging him.

 

CSB Study Bible: Notes Chapter 26
The Sanhedrin was obligated to interview witnesses separately and then compare their testimonies to determine if they were consistent (Mk 14:55–59). Inconsistent testimonies were considered invalid.

 

Eventually, though, Caiaphas and the council of Jewish leaders (the Sanhedrin) charged Jesus with blasphemy.

 

What is blasphemy?

 

Well, as far as the Sanhedrin is concerned I think, the only thing that matters is that blasphemy is punishable by death. And it’s a pretty ambiguous concept.

 

[SLIDE] Here’s how Merriam Webster defines it in a modern context, and this English definition is actually heavily influenced by the New Testament.

 

In the context of ancient Jewish law, blasphemy is typically understood as an act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God. The specifics of this crime and its punishment are outlined in the Old Testament, specifically in the book of Leviticus.

 

The penalty for blasphemy, according to Jewish law, was death by stoning. However, the exact definition of blasphemy isn't entirely clear and can vary depending on interpretation. In the broader sense, it's seen as using the name of God in a disrespectful or irreverent manner. Typically, though, a formal accusation of blasphemy would only refer to the most blatant and severe offenses. Again, the minimum mandatory sentence for this is death, so it’s not to be taken lightly. But the Sanhedrin are manipulating its intention for their own purposes.

 

In the case of Jesus, he was accused of blasphemy by the Sanhedrin for his claims of divinity. When asked directly by Caiaphas if he was the Messiah, the Son of God, Jesus affirmed this and referred to himself in Messianic terms. The Sanhedrin considered this a blasphemy, as it was a claim of being equal with God. Jesus was thus sentenced to death on these grounds.

 

The problem for them though, is that Judea was under Roman rule, and only the Roman authorities had the authority to actually execute criminals.

 

That's why, even though Jesus was convicted of blasphemy by the Sanhedrin, he will still have to be brought to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, for the execution of his sentence.

 

Peter & Bystanders

 

BUT, before we go there, Matthew takes us, WHOOSH! away from Jesus, back over to Peter.

 

Last we heard of Peter, he was sticking around in Caiaphas’s courtyard, after initially being left outside, as we can learn from John:

 

[SLIDE]

 

John 18:15–16 LSB
15 And Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest,

16 but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in.

 

It’s thought likely that this “other disciple” was John, since it is his gospel account that records him, and that Peter and John were the only two of the twelve allowed in the courtyard.

 

The fact that some extra effort was taken in order to get him inside, shows that Peter had a deep desire to know what was happening to his Master. To be near him. Remember, this is the guy who jumped into action and cut off a guy’s ear to protect Jesus!

 

In a moment, we’ll read, for the second time today, about the intimate personal failings and weakness of this man (imagine millions of people reading about yours!) So first, let’s recognize the significance that he has made it THIS far! Even in his fear and confusion, wanted to stay close to Jesus during this critical time.

 

[SLIDE]

 

Matthew 26:69–75 LSB
Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.”

But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.”

And when he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.”

A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.”

Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed.

And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and cried bitterly.

 

Eventually, as Jesus predicted he would, Peter succumbs to fear, and chooses to disassociate himself from this man accused of blasphemy.

 

Again, the rest of the disciples had run away at this point, so at least he was there, but even Peter ended up losing his nerve.

 

This fulfills the prophecy Jesus made in chapter 26, and is recorded in all four gospels. Can you imagine Peter just thinking “Gee, thanks Matt, Mark, Luke, John, you really wanted to make sure everyone knows about that one time, huh? IT WAS ONE TIME!”

 

In all seriousness though, imagine the wave of realization washing over Peter when he hears the rooster, remembers the words of Jesus, and recognizes that he just denied him 3 times in a row.

 

As soon as he has this realization, he leaves Caiaphas’s house, and weeps.

 

Generally, this is read as Peter weeping tears, initially of shame and guilt, which then gives way to repentance, forgiveness, and restoration. And this is all true! Probably the most important thing is that Peter recognized his error and repented. This is clear from the rest of the New Testament.

 

But I can imagine that there were a LOT of reasons for Peter to be bawling his eyes out, after being out all night (though he did take a nap), seen his best friend and mentor get betrayed, arrested, and condemned to death, then experience a humbling departure from his usual boldness and conviction. That’s a lot to process in one night.

 

There are times when there’s really nothing more appropriate than to weep, and bearing witness to our own sin is certainly one of those times. But it’s just that, a time, a process of confession, repentance, and restoration, which ultimately brings us closer to God, and helps to heal our relationships with others.

 

Note From Mike

 

Peter’s denial of Jesus, 3 times, and then being restored helps us to understand, or better yet to not mis-interpret Matt 10:33 “33 But whoever denies me before others, I will also deny him before my Father in heaven.” Obviously, Peter DID deny Jesus, yet Jesus restored him and elevated him to the position of head of the church. We should then understand that Matt 10:33 must be speaking not of a mere incident (or three) but of a heart/life that denies Jesus.

 

Judas & Jewish Leaders

 

So, this takes us now early into Friday morning! Jesus, and many others, would be already exhausted from the night before, as they are about to face the single most exhausting and agonizing days of his life. At the beginning of chapter 27, Matthew reminds us that Jesus is being handed over to Pilate.

 

Then, the scene shifts over to Judas.

 

He, too, realizes his wrongdoing, and initially tries to take it back!

 

Matthew 27:1–10 LSB
Now when morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel together against Jesus to put Him to death;

and they bound Him, and led Him away and delivered Him to Pilate the governor.

Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!”

And he threw the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.

And the chief priests took the pieces of silver and said, “It is not lawful to put them into the temple treasury, since it is the price of blood.”

And taking counsel together, they bought with the money the Potter’s Field as a burial place for strangers.

For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.

Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying, “AND THEY TOOK THE THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER, THE PRICE OF THE ONE WHOSE PRICE HAD BEEN SET by the sons of Israel;

AND THEY GAVE THEM FOR THE POTTER’S FIELD, AS THE LORD DIRECTED ME.”

 

His Grief

 

So, again we see prophecy being fulfilled through this. And it’s similar to the previous scene with Peter, in that he’s experiencing grief over his actions, but it seems to be more like the “empty” or “worldly” grief that Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians:

 

2 Corinthians 7:10 CSB
10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, but worldly grief produces death.

 

There’s a difference between regretting something, because it didn’t work out the way you had hoped, and truly being repentant, sorry because of the wrong done, the damage done, and not just because you got caught!

 

Leaders

 

I don’t think there’s much more to be said about the Jewish leaders at this point, all they care about is killing Jesus. They don’t care about Judas. They don’t care about the money. And Judas, in his despair, hangs himself in a field

 

That said, Judas does throw the money back at them first, and, ironically enough, they don’t want to make God angry by putting the money back in the treasury, so they buy the field with it instead.

 

The fact that they recognized it as “blood money” really reveals how they knew deep down that Jesus was innocent. They want to claim indifference, but they can’t. They knew it wasn’t right to kill him.

 

But hey, at least they didn’t keep the bounty money they placed on his head! What does it say about them that they were more concerned about getting in trouble with God for that, than about brutally killing his son.

 

Talk about some twisted priorities! And of course, that’s easy for use to say, but I have to ask myself, “How often have I let me own priorities and desires become inflated at the expense of losing sight of God’s priorities, and the things that really matter in life?” It’s easy for us to say “Well, I would have never wanted to kill Jesus, of course! How could they mock him and spit in his face like that?” But how often have I figuratively spit in the face of my savior when I don’t extend his love and mercy and forgiveness to others.

 

Jesus and Pilate

 

Alright, let’s move on now to the fourth and final scene for this morning, which takes us back to Jesus. We last left Jesus talking to Caiaphas, who’s completely enraged with Jesus and wants him to die, but lacks the authority to actually carry out such a sentence. So, in chapter 27 verse 11, we find Jesus where he has been brought to Pilate, the regional authority put in place by Rome, whose authority would be needed to make this happen.

 

Matthew 27:11–26 LSB
Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And Jesus said to him, “You yourself say it.”

And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer.

Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?”

And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor marveled greatly.

Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted.

And at that time they were holding a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas.

So when the people gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you? Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?”

For he knew that because of envy they had delivered Him over.

Now while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent him a message, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous Man; for last night I suffered greatly in a dream because of Him.”

But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to put Jesus to death.

But the governor answered and said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.”

Pilate said to them, “Then, what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let Him be crucified!”

And he said, “Why, what evil did He do?” But they were crying out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!”

Now when Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to that yourselves.”

And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children!”

Then he released Barabbas for them; but after having Jesus scourged, he delivered Him over to be crucified.

 

Who is Pilate?

 

Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor of Judaea from about 26–36 AD. Historically, Pilate is a somewhat enigmatic figure, as there are only a few sources that speak about him outside of the Bible. These sources include the Jewish historian Josephus and the Roman historian Tacitus. Both describe him as a harsh administrator who was insensitive to Jewish traditions.

 

Who is Barabbas?

 

Barabbas is a figure mentioned in all four of the canonical gospels of the New Testament — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. According to these accounts, he was a prisoner who was freed by Pontius Pilate instead of Jesus, as part of a custom during the Passover festival where the Roman governor would release a prisoner chosen by the crowd.

 

The nature of Barabbas's crimes varies across different accounts. In Mark (15:7) and Luke (23:19), Barabbas is described as having been involved in a rebellion against the Roman authorities, and in the ensuing conflict, he committed murder. In John's Gospel (18:40), he is simply referred to as a bandit.

 

So, he’s a rebel, a murderer, a thief, some kind of actual criminal, it doesn’t really matter what he did, just that he was actually guilty, while Jesus was not. So, Pilate was hoping they’d let Jesus go.

 

Jesus Barabbas?

 

Actually, some early textual sources of Matthew refer to Barabbas as "Jesus Barabbas" (Yeshua Barabbas), which is incredibly ironic. “Jesus” was a common name, so it’s not implausible, and even the name “Barabbas” can even be interpreted to derive from “Son of the Father.” It’s not much of a stretch to see the parallels, or juxtaposition of the two “Jesus, son of the Fathers.”

 

It’s like they’re given a choice, between the real Messiah, or a parody of him. And whether or not Barabbas really was called “Jesus” too, the concept of two, parallel but contrasting options, is certainly what’s being presented here in each of the gospels.

 

The choice offered by Pilate between Jesus and Barabbas has been interpreted symbolically by some scholars, as representing a choice between earthly rebellion and heavenly kingdom, or a choice between violence and peace, and they chose violence.

 

Blind Rage

 

While Pilate is at least reluctant, these other people, the crowds, are completely overcome with malice and hostility towards Jesus of Nazareth! It’s honestly unsettling to think how blinded they are by rage that they want nothing else in the world than to see this innocent man completely destroyed in front of them. They demanded, not just to have him locked up or sent away but to witness him be emotionally and physically shredded to pieces, literally, in front of them.

 

And they say “Let his blood be on us and our children.”

 

This blind range, this blood lust that we see, not just from the crowds but from the religious leaders too, has haunted me as I’ve studied this passage, and it’s an eerie reminder of the darkness to which human nature can sometimes turn, so quickly, and, from an outsider perspective, irrationally.

 

Conclusion

 

I’ll be honest, this is not really a very practical, or application-based message.

 

If there’s one thing I wanted us to walk away from this with, it would simply be a better understanding and appreciation for what went down that night, in the context of the rest of the week.

 

Those 4 scenes, right in a row: Jesus, the Peter, then Judas, then Jesus again.

 

1. Jesus with Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin

 

2. Then Peter and the other onlookers.

 

3. Then Judas and the Jewish leaders.

 

4. And finally, Jesus before Pilate, their conversation, and how Pilate handles the whole situation.

 

This kind of leaves us hanging, Friday morning, before the worst of it takes place. Just contemplate the sense of dread, and the suspense, the fear, the anxiety and uncertainty , throughout this montage of interactions.

 

In the midst of ALL the chaos…this insane, tumultuous night full of emotions and uncertainty, Jesus is a calm, quiet, steady beacon of peace, love, and humility through it all. And most remarkably, STILL plead forgiveness on behalf of all those who had a hand in mocking and torturing him to death. Later in the day, Jesus, WHILE bearing the FULL weight of our sin on the cross, suffering incomprehensible, agonizing pain, physically, mentally, spiritually, emotionally at the very last thread, will STILL have nothing but love, and forgiveness, no hatred or resentment.

 

How much more confidence can we have then in the life and hope and eternal peace in Christ, through the forgiveness and salvation we have in him! We, who don’t have to wait 3 excruciating days before finding out that indeed, Jesus did rise again as he said! He IS alive, and victorious over sin and death on our behalf.

 

And while we may go through seasons of doubt, or of wrestling with God…even opposing God, we have to realize that none of that phases him! He welcomes i! He can handle it! He invites us to pour our hearts out to him, because he gets it.

 

Hebrews 4:14–16 LSB
14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us take hold of our confession.

15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things like we are, yet without sin.

16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

 

Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah, the Son of God, the great high priest and king, who has authority over the whole world, and yet he is not some completely alien creature…he is human, and he is intimately familiar and empathetic to the human experience, and the intense reality of sin and suffering.

 

I know my own needs and suffering pale in comparison, which isn’t necessarily the case for everyone, but regardless of how our problems may seem either not significant enough for God, or too big for him to even handle, we can rest assured that neither is ever the case.


Montage of Insanity