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Matthew 26


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Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

The Jewish leaders had become very hostile toward Jesus and His supposed authority, so they took counsel to kill Him.

Matthew 26:1-4
1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, 2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified. 3 Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders of the people, unto the palace of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas, 4 And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill him.

Never forget that it was the religious crowd that had Jesus crucified.  It wasn’t the ACLU, terrorists, or some wicked group of Satanists.  It was the religious leaders of that day.  You could say it was the “Ministerial Alliance.”


There’s a huge difference between being religious and being saved.  Organized religion sends people to hell.  People get confirmed, sprinkled, baptized, take communion, sing songs, teach classes, pray prayers, have group sessions, discuss, have socials, do community work, play bingo, conduct fundraisers, listen to readings, chant repetitions, dress up, dress down, volunteer, and do all sorts of good things...and then go to hell because they never trusted in Jesus to save them...they trusted in religion and ultimately, in their own religious goodness.


The religious Jews were hypocrites.  Their religion had degenerated into power and money.  It’s a perversion of what it’s all supposed to be about.  Some televangelists still do this today.


“Pharisee” isn’t a bad word.  We think of them in a poor light because of what they did to Jesus.  But the word literally means ‘separate.’  They were a group who wanted to keep themselves separate from unclean Jews who didn’t want to live for God and keep the law.  But they degenerated into a group of self righteous hypocrites.  But there were exceptions like Nicodemus [John 3] and Joseph of Arimathea [John 19].  These were Pharisees who were searching for true spiritual religions.  Another can be found in Mark 12 [unnamed].  But for the most part they looked good on the outside and were dead on the inside.  Lost in religion.


The last person a hypocrite wants to be around is someone who sees right thru Jesus.  Look what He said on Thursday just before they decided to arrest and try Him...

Matt. 23:13-33

[8 Woes / serpents and vipers!]


So no wonder they wanted to kill Him...He’s onto them.  They can’t feel self righteous anymore!  They needed to learn a lesson, but they chose to ignore it—that you cannot reduce Christianity to a list of rules.


Ill.—Jerry Vines tells of preaching in a back woods church in GA.  These people had to travel toward town in order to hunt.  They actually had a list of rules on a board at the front of the church w/ things on it like, No TV, no makeup, no V necks, no moonshine.  Ironically, he said when he arrived all the people, men and women, were out on the porch dippin’ snuff!


Spirituality is inward, not outward.


Jesus exposed their darkness, but rather than stepping into the light, they decided to snuff out the light.


Judas betrays Jesus to them, giving them inside info. about where they can find Him in the garden, and when. 

v. 36-38


Gethsemane means oil press—fitting since Jesus is about to be crushed and pressed so the oil of salvation can freely flow to each one of us.


There are mysteries about that night that defy human understanding.  But it was there that the victory of the cross was actually won...when Jesus surrendered to the will of God.


v. 38        ‘exceeding sorrowful’ is 1 word in the Greek—meaning to be immersed, surrounded, engulfed by sorrow.


Because of the emotional suffering He was enduring.  Rejected by His own, the unbelief of most people, hatred and malice, desertion by some disciples, and so much more.  And emotionally He knew what He was facing:  injustice, ridicule, public embarrassment and shame.  Any of us would be devastated by any one of the above, but He had it all at once.  His human side recoiled at these emotional sufferings.  Add to this stress the temptations of Satan to not go thru with it.


Add to that His physical suffering.  Crucifixion is the worst of tortures.  It is to die a thousand His case, He would die innumerable deaths for each one of us.


But His spiritual suffering was the worst.

v. 39        In that cup was every sin that would ever be committed thru the ages...and He has to become that sin.  He was perfect and holy, but chose to take all that upon Himself.


He laid aside His own will to do God’s will.  O that we would do that.  You see, there’s a cross and there’s a throne.  You either have Jesus on the cross and yourself on the throne, or Jesus on the throne and yourself on the cross.  We are supposed to die to ourselves, and be crucified w/ Christ.  Does your life say, “My will be done” or “Thy will be done”?


Lucifer fell from heaven saying, “I will.”


The Garden of Eden:…here the first Adam exerted his own will and brought about the ruin and damnation of the human race.

But in the Garden of Gethsemane:the last Adam Jesus Christ didn’t exert His own will, but deserted His own will!…and in so doing brought about the redemption of the human race!


Luke 22:44
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

Luke was a medical doctor, and this condition he observed was likely hemathydrosis, a rare phenomenon when a person under extreme distress ruptures blood vessels in the sweat glands which mix on the brow.


In Eden, Adam’s sin led to the curse of living by the sweat of the brow, but in Gethsemane Jesus conquered Adam’s sin, and His blood mingled w/ the curse, removing it!


Luke 22:43
And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

Every life has its Gethsemane, and every Gethsemane has its angel!


When the ultimate Gethsemane comes [death] thank God we can be carried away to heaven, only by trusting in Jesus!


What happens next?

John 18:4-6
4 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. 6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

A powerful force blows them over.  It’s His name, “I Am.”  It’s interesting to note that in the Bible when someone falls backward they are an enemy of God, but friends of God bow and fall on their faces.  So much for being slain in the Spirit!


Next comes the trial, which was a sham.  It was a shameful and illegal mockery of justice...a kangaroo court.


Everything about the trial of Jesus was illegal, from start to finish: 

·       He was considered guilty before the trial even began. 

·       It was conducted at night, also illegal. 

  • Jesus was not allowed to call any witnesses.  He could have called formerly blind, deaf, and lame people He healed. 

·       The Sanhedrin served not only as judges, but also as the prosecutors!

·       False witnesses were secured, even tho’ the price for perjury in those days was to receive the punishment of the accused.

·       Death penalty sentences were to carry a 3 day waiting period, during which period the religious leaders were to fast and pray and make sure their decision was correct.  From His arrest to the cross there was only a few hours.


By the way, He could have proven His own innocence if He wanted to, even w/ this unfair treatment, but He opened not His mouth and didn’t defend Himself.  This was fulfillment of prophecy.  But why remain silent?  It’s almost as if He WANTS to die!  He did.


The abuse of Jesus

v. 67-68   They are playing games and mocking Him.  The height of humiliation is a spit in the face.  And this is the face that wept at the grave of Lazarus, that smiled in welcoming little children, and that looked at this world in love.    That’s the face they spit upon.  And if you know you need to be saved, and you know that Jesus can save you, and you reject that offer, in a very real sense you are spitting in that face as well.  “I don’t care that you love me, died for me, were humiliated for me, were tortured for me!”


They blindfolded Him and then hit Him, mocking, asking who it was who hit Him.  They mocked His deity.  Then they mocked His royalty, putting a robe on Him and a scepter in His hand and the crown of thorns in His head.  They bowed and made fun of Him.  Psalms says they ripped out His beard.  Already He isn’t recognizable—what man He is.

Isaiah 52:14
As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men:

Now He’s beaten w/ the cat of nine tails, a handle w/ 9 whips on it, with shards of metal, glass, bone attached.  And with His stripes we are healed!


He submits to all of His life, no man taking it from Him.  He could have stopped it at any time, but He didn’t...for love of you!


Here we see man at his worst and God at His best.  Oh how wickedly man can treat God, and how gloriously lovingly God can treat man!


Though sinless, Jesus was struck w/ the full lightning bolt of God’s wrath.  We cannot understand this spiritual suffering of having all sin laid upon Him and His Father turn His back on Him.  Separation from God is hell.  What does God’s anger and wrath feel like?  Like hell!  We don’t know what hell feels like and I hope you never do!  Jesus did, so you don’t have to.  And He clung to that cross for love.  Will you cling to the old rugged cross?


Pt. 2


It’s sad, because I can stand up and preach on the cross, and some in the room have trouble just staying awake!  Or they are thinking about lunch, or the week ahead.  We have a problem!  Our eyes are dry, our faith is old, our hearts are hard, our prayers are cold.  We are calloused...the frozen chosen...and God help us to light a fire, and find a passion for the Passion of Jesus!


Do we not realize that we should have been crucified?  That it was our sins laid on Him there?  That we are the soldiers in this scenario?  That we are the ones who drove the nails?!


This is the pinnacle of all of human history.  What is happening right now are the most important events of all of human history!


The sun darkened, the veil tore, the earth shook, and dead rose out of their graves!  Something quite phenomenal took place when Jesus died.  But before He died, He said some things that stand as timeless treasures to us today...


Jesus’ 7 sayings on the cross:

Luke 23:34
Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

This is not a blanket pardon.  Ignorance is not a basis for forgiveness.  It was a plea for God to be merciful and to give opportunities for them to be saved.  God did and still does.


Luke 23:43
And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Jesus spoke this to the thief on the cross to believed on Him.  This teaches us that salvation is available to anyone at anyplace at anytime, and you don’t have to be baptized to be saved, or do good works to be saved.  Simple belief is all it takes.  In the morning this thief was a sinner nailed to a cross, and that evening he was a saint wearing a crown.  That morning he was the enemy of Caesar, that evening he was the friend of God.  That morning he was spurned by men, but that evening he fellowshipped with angels.  From a criminal of earth to a citizen of heaven!


John 19:26-27
26 When ... he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.

Joseph had passed, evidently.  And with the weight of the world on His shoulders He’s concerned w/ the welfare of His mother.  When the Bible says to care for our own it means not just our children but our parents, when medically possible.


Matthew 27:46
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

This prayer is deeper in mystery and higher in meaning than any other prayer.  God forsaking could we ever understand?


John 19:28
After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

Psalm 69 predicted this hundreds of years before.  He had a physical body.


John 19:30
When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished:

Tetelestai!  It means mission accomplished.  When a servant finished his work he would report to the master saying, Tetelestai, I did what you told me to do.  In the OT on the day of atonement the High Priest would apply the blood in the Holy of Holies and then would emerge and cry out Tetelestai!  A painter would say it when he completed a picture, and a writer when he finished a manuscript.  And when Jesus said it is was because he had finished a masterpiece, a story that had been written for ages.  And when a customer paid a merchant for goods or services, they would receive a receipt that said Tetelestai, paid in full!


Now mankind’s sins could justly be forgiven and man could be reconciled to God.

Well, God has certainly left none of His work unfinished.  In creation He worked diligently for six days; then the heavens and the earth were finished (Gen. 2:1).  God rested then, but only after He had completed the work.

Moses learned this valuable lesson from God.  God had commissioned him to oversee the building of the huge and elaborate Tabernacle in the wilderness.  Thousands of details were to be carried out.  Certain metals were to be used, and particular colors were important.  In a multitude of ways, the Tabernacle was to be a type of Christ.  We read in Exodus 39:32, “Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished:  and the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did they.” 

Aren’t you glad they did not call a strike and stop short of completing this building?

When Nehemiah built the wall, he faced insurmountable problems.  He fought discouragement, fear, doubt and much opposition.  There were plenty of reasons why it couldn’t be done, but he did it just the same!  We read these words of victory, “So the wall was finished in the twenty and fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty and two days” (Neh. 6:15).

Lying on his deathbed, Paul the apostle gave that testimony that ought to strengthen our get-up-and-go.  He said, “I have finished my course . . .” (II Tim. 4:7).  Jesus gathered His disciples around Him just before His death and prayed His great intercessory prayer.  “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4).  Now just a few days later, He is crying out from the cross, “Tetelestai!”


Let us notice some things Jesus completed that were not left unfinished.


{Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe.  Sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.}

No one can accuse Jesus of unfinished business.  He did

not renege or fall short of His responsibility.  He went all the way to the cross for us, and then all the way to hell to defeat death and lead captivity captive!

One man boarded a city bus with what he thought was a transfer ticket.  He handed it to the driver, who sharply called out, “Oh, He did, did He?”

By mistake the man had given him a tract entitled, “Jesus Paid It All.”  Now, Jesus didn’t pay your bus fare, but He did completely pay your way to Heaven.


When Jesus Christ saves us, we are saved all the way.  We are given everlasting life, and that lasts for all eternity.  It is eternal.  When He comes into our hearts, we have all of Him.

We are not saved in stages.  We do not need a second work of grace before we can get in.  Our Bible does not say ye must be born again and again and again!

God doesn’t give 10 day or 10 year life, but everlasting life!

God doesn’t do things halfway.  He makes all things new. 

He completely regenerates.


The Bible was not complete in New Testament days.  Paul explained, “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away” (I Cor. 13:9, 10).  He was referring to the completion of the Bible as we know it.

In the Old Testament, men were instructed by visions and the voice of God speaking from a bush, a cloud or an angel.  On one occasion, we are told that “there was no open vision” (I Sam. 3:1).  Every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

After the book of Daniel was written, he was instructed, “O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end” (12:4).  In contrast to this, the book of Revelation, a parallel to Daniel, was not to be sealed; “for the time is as hand” (22:10).

A solemn word of warning was then given about adding anything to the prophecy of this book.  In other words, the Bible is a complete revelation.  It tells us all we need to know about God and His plan for us.


The rapture…it will include every born-again, blood-bought child of God.  It will be a complete rapture.


Here is where the trouble comes in.  There is unfinished business.  God has done His part.  He has completed redemption, regeneration, revelation and will completely rapture us; but we have not completely repented.

Repentance means unconditional surrender.  It suggests wholly submitting to another’s will.  There is a vast difference, too, between penance and repentance.  Judas did penance by giving back the silver.  Peter repented and wept bitterly.

Jesus said, “ . . .except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).

Peter said, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins . . .” (Acts 2:38).

Paul said, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30).

John wrote, “ . . .repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Rev. 2:5).

To the sinner, without repentance there is no salvation.  To the child of God, without complete, wholehearted, full repentance, there will be no power to overcome, no peace that passes all understanding, no joy unspeakable, no cup running over and no abundant life.

God did His part; let us do ours.  Repent, submit, yield, dedicate, give in, surrender, turn, sanctify ourselves and commit completely to Him! 

If we would all do this, there’s no limit to what God could achieve here on earth thru us…God left us here for a reason…there’s unfinished business to do!  But God’s work is completed on the cross...Tetelestai!


Luke 23:46
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

He died when He chose to die.  They didn’t kill Him.  He laid down His life.  He released His Spirit not when THEY said but when HE said.  It wasn’t nails or blood loss, nor a spear in His side that ended His life...He ended it because it was finished.  And it was only the beginning!


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