Matthew 26:69 – 27:10

Thursday Evening Bible Study

June 28, 2007


We are in the last night before Jesus is crucified.

Before Jesus had gone to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, He warned the disciples that they were all going to abandon Him. Peter objected:

(Mat 26:33-35 NKJV) Peter answered and said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble." {34} Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." {35} Peter said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" And so said all the disciples.

We’ve now followed Jesus through the rest of the evening as He was praying in Gethsemane, then Judas showed up with the guards to arrest Jesus, and Jesus has had His first trial in front of the Sanhedrin.

26:69-75 Peter denies Jesus

:69 Now Peter sat outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came to him, saying, "You also were with Jesus of Galilee."

servant girlpaidiske – a young girl, damsel; a maid-servant, a young female slave; the main idea of the world is “small”. You take the word for “child” (pais) and make it smaller (diminutive).

This is not a big burly guard questioning Peter at the end of his sword. It’s just a little girl.

:70 But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you are saying."

before them all – Peter isn’t alone with this young gal, there’s a courtyard full of people. Peter wants them all to hear what he has to say.

That’s one. Now Peter’s begun to do what he said he’d never do.


The path to sin

If you really want to do something bad, they say you can find instructions for just about anything on the internet …
This information was included in an interesting, amusing article titled "How Not to Rob a Bank," by Tim Clark, which appeared in the 1987 edition of The Old Farmers Almanac.
1. Pick the right bank. Clark advises that you don't follow the lead of the fellow in Anaheim, Cal., who tried to hold up a bank that was no longer in business and had no money. On the other hand, you don't want to be too familiar with the bank. A California robber ran into his mother while making his getaway. She turned him in.
2. Approach the right teller. Granted, Clark says, this is harder to plan. One teller in Springfield, Mass., followed the holdup man out of the bank and down the street until she saw him go into a restaurant. She hailed a passing police car, and the police picked him up. Another teller was given a holdup note by a robber, and her father, who was next in line, wrestled the man to the ground and sat on him until authorities arrived.
3. Don't sign your demand note. Demand notes have been written on the back of a subpoena issued in the name of a bank robber in Pittsburgh, on an envelope bearing the name and address of another in Detroit, and in East Hartford, Conn., on the back of a withdrawal slip giving the robber's signature and account number.
4. Beware of dangerous vegetables. A man in White Plains, N.Y., tried to hold up a bank with a zucchini. The police captured him at his house, where he showed them his "weapon."
5. Avoid being fussy. A robber in Panorama City, Cal., gave a teller a note saying, "I have a gun. Give me all your twenties in this envelope." The teller said, "All I've got is two twenties." The robber took them and left.
Peter could probably write his own manual on how to blow it. We can see his tracks all through the chapter.
1. Overconfidence
(Mat 26:35 NKJV) Peter said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" And so said all the disciples.
(1 Cor 10:12 NKJV) Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
Peter never thought he’d ever deny Jesus. When we look down our noses at people who have fallen into sin, we face the trap of falling into the very same thing.
2. Lack of prayer
(Mat 26:41 NKJV) "Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
Prayer is not a “fun” thing to do. My flesh, my sin nature, does not like to pray. I’d rather read the paper than pray. But I need to pray.
3. Following from a distance
(Mat 26:58 NKJV) But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest's courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end.
We shouldn’t be seeing how far we can get from Jesus, but how close we can get.
4. Warming at the enemy’s fire
(Luke 22:55 NKJV) Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them.
Sometimes our hearts grow cold. What do you do to warm your heart? Sometimes it’s “watch a movie” or “turn on the TV”.

:71 And when he had gone out to the gateway, another girl saw him and said to those who were there, "This fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth."

Another big bad scary servant girl points Peter out as being a Christian.

:72 But again he denied with an oath, "I do not know the Man!"

That’s two.

oath – that’s like saying, “May I be struck by lightning if I’m lying…”

It wasn’t good enough just to deny Jesus, now Peter has to do it with an oath.

:73 And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you."

Peter spoke with the distinctive Galilean accent of Jesus’ followers.

I wonder if our speech ever betrays us. I wonder if people can tell we’re Christians by the kind of language we use.

:74 Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!" Immediately a rooster crowed.

cursekatanathematizo – to curse; this is an intense form of the word anathema – to devote something to destruction. Perhaps Peter is saying something like, “May I be consigned to the lowest part of hell if I’m not telling the truth!”

the mananthropos – a human being; indefinitely, someone, a man, one – “that guy”, perhaps said with some contempt.

That’s three.


Sin’s progression

Did you notice how each time Peter denies Jesus, it gets worse?
First Peter just “denied” Jesus. Then he did it with an oath. Now he’s cursing and swearing.
Sin has that kind of progression, from bad to worse.
Satan wants to tell you that if you just give in this one time, that everything will be okay.
But what he doesn’t tell you is that if you give in this one time, it will be easier the next time, and that the next time won’t be as satisfying so you’ll want to do worse and worse things.
A heroin addict rarely starts out on heroin. It’s usually something not very strong, but it’s never enough and you get in deeper and deeper.

Dr. Dobson interviewed Ted Bundy, the serial rapist and killer who gave his life to Christ before he was executed. I remember how he described his descent into evil. It started with simple little peeks at harmless pornography, but he needed more and more and more. Bundy said, “Like an addiction, you keep craving something that is harder,” intoned Bundy, “until you reach a point where... you begin to wonder if maybe actually doing it would give you that which is beyond just reading.”

Sometimes we confuse what the Bible says about temptation.
(James 4:7 NKJV) …Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
(2 Tim 2:22 NKJV) Flee also youthful lusts …
Any time you are faced with a temptation to sin, it’s the right time to turn and flee.
A little boy always went next door to play even though his mom had warned him against doing so. This worried the mom so badly that she asked him why he was so disobedient. He replied that Satan tempted him so bad and he did not know what to do. The mom then advised him to say ‘get thee behind me Satan’ whenever he was tempted. She then built a fence around the house. This worked for a week, then one sunny afternoon the mom looked over the window and there was her son playing on the neighbor’s lawn having cut a hole in the fence. “John”, she yelled, “Come here!” She then said “did I not tell you to say ‘get thee behind me Satan’ whenever he tempted you?” “Yes”, the boy replied, “I said, ‘get thee behind me Satan’, then he went behind me and pushed me through the hole in the fence.”
There are times when we are faced with spiritual attacks from the enemy, we are to resist him and use the authority that God has given us. But when the “attack” is a temptation to sin, we don’t resist the temptation, we are to flee from it.
For Peter “fleeing” from his temptation would mean speaking up the truth that he knew Jesus. He didn’t need to physically flee the place, that’s the very thing he was being tempted to do.

:75 And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly.

Luke gives us another detail:

(Luke 22:60-61 NKJV) But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are saying!" Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. {61} And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."

Not only was Peter aware that he had done the very thing he said he’d never do, but Jesus was right there seeing him do it.

weptklaio – to mourn, weep, lament

27:1-2 Jesus handed over to Pilate

:1 When morning came, all the chief priests and elders of the people plotted against Jesus to put Him to death.

plotted – literally, “they took counsel”. They had listened to all the testimony and they made their decision.

At this point in the history of the nation of Israel, the Jews were not allowed the authority by the Romans to conduct executions. They were going to need help from the Romans.

:2 And when they had bound Him, they led Him away and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

deliveredparadidomi – to give into the hands (of another); this is the word that is often translated “betrayed”, the word used to describe how Judas betrayed Jesus to the chief priests. Now they “betray” their own Jewish Messiah into the hands of a pagan Gentile ruler to be killed.

:27:3-10 Judas hands himself

:3 Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

(Mat 27:3 KJV) …repented himself …

was remorsefulmetamellomai – it is a care to one afterwards; it repents one, to repent one’s self. The word is one that seems tied to emotions – not necessarily in a bad sense.

Judas was sad that Jesus was now being condemned. It seems that he thought it would turn out differently.

:4 saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." And they said, "What is that to us? You see to it!"

You see to it – it’s actually a future tense, “You will see”

(Mat 27:4 NLT) "That's your problem."

(Mat 27:4 NIV) "That's your responsibility."

:5 Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.

hanged himselfapagchomai – to throttle, strangle, in order to put out of the way or kill; to hang one’s self, to end one’s life by hanging

Judas and Ahithophel

King David had a close friend who betrayed him named Ahithophel. There are several of David’s psalms that speak of this betrayal and they become prophetic regarding Judas:

(Psa 41:9 NKJV) Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.
(Psa 55:12-13 NKJV) For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; Then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; Then I could hide from him. {13} But it was you, a man my equal, My companion and my acquaintance.

But there were more parallels between Ahithophel and Judas than just the betrayal. They both died the same way:

(2 Sam 17:23 NKJV) Now when Ahithophel saw that his advice was not followed, he saddled a donkey, and arose and went home to his house, to his city. Then he put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died; and he was buried in his father's tomb.

:6 But the chief priests took the silver pieces and said, "It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, because they are the price of blood."


Picky thinking

It’s funny that they aren’t concerned about what’s “lawful” when they condemned Jesus to death.
treasurykorban – a gift offered (or to be offered) to God; the sacred treasury
This is a word used one other place:

(Mark 7:9-13 NKJV) He said to them, "All too well you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition. {10} "For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother'; and, 'He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.' {11} "But you say, 'If a man says to his father or mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban"; ' (that is, a gift to God), {12} "then you no longer let him do anything for his father or his mother, {13} "making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do."

Jesus is rebuking the Pharisees for using their traditions to keep from doing what God wants them to do.

If a Pharisee dedicated his money to God, it was “corban”, already as good as in the offering box. That meant he didn’t have to spend his money on his parents.

Here, we see the priests rejecting the money, keeping it from becoming “corban” because it had been used for something bad, as the payment to betray someone to death.
It seems to me that these religious people were guilty of picking and choosing what they wanted to follow in God’s Word and what they didn’t want to follow.

Talking about “picking” and choosing …

from CC Jerusalem, 1/17/98


The leading ultra-Orthodox rabbi in Israel has ruled that it is permitted to pick your nose on the Jewish Sabbath, His aide said this week. Rabbi Ovadia Yosef delivered the ruling in a sermon relayed by satellite to his powers in Israel and abroad. The Israeli newspaper (Yediot Ahronot) had reported that Yosef had said picking is forbidden because tiny hairs inside the nostrils might also be pulled out. But a viewing of a videotape of the event confirmed that Yosef had in fact ruled it was permitted. Yosef is among a select group of rabbis who respond to questions from Jews -- serious or otherwise -- on the minutiae of applying Jewish law to daily life. The Iraqi born Yosef, a former chief rabbi in Egypt and Israel and a leading authority on Jewish law, is spiritual leader of the religious political party Shas, which has 10 seats in Israel's Parliament.

That sounds like someone who is a little too “picky”…

I think we need to be careful of not being too picky about doing God’s Word, but having a heart to want to do all that God has for us.
We’ve been reading Psalm 119 this week:

(Psa 119:160 NKJV)  The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.

Not just part of God’s Word, but ALL of it.

Look at some of the blessings from the Word:

(Psa 119:9 NKJV)  How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.

(Psa 119:50 NKJV)  This is my comfort in my affliction, For Your word has given me life.

(Psa 119:133 NKJV)  Direct my steps by Your word, And let no iniquity have dominion over me.

Don’t pick and choose.  Embrace all of God’s Word.

:7 And they consulted together and bought with them the potter's field, to bury strangers in.

potter’s field – two suggestions as to what this was – 1) a field where a potter had gotten his clay from, now abandoned because he’d gotten all the clay out of the field, 2) a field where a potter through his broken vessels, eventually making the ground useless for anything being filled with broken pottery.

:8 Therefore that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day.

:9 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, "And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the value of Him who was priced, whom they of the children of Israel priced,

:10 "and gave them for the potter's field, as the LORD directed me."

Matthew is actually combining several prophecies with allusions to Jeremiah 18 and Jer. 32:7; but the main part of the prophecy is actually from Zech. 11:13.


Two types of tears

Two men cried that day over their sin with different results.
Peter cried and ran out of the courtyard. Judas cried and hung himself.
It’s not wrong to cry over your sin. But it’s not enough to just cry. God is looking for a change in our behavior.
Paul teaches us that there are different kinds of “sorrow” when it comes to our sin. Paul wrote to the Corinthians about a time when they were “sorry” over their sins after Paul had written them a harsh letter of rebuke:
(2 Cor 7:8-11 NKJV) For even if I made you sorry with my letter, I do not regret it; though I did regret it. For I perceive that the same epistle made you sorry, though only for a while. {9} Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that your sorrow led to repentance. For you were made sorry in a godly manner, that you might suffer loss from us in nothing. {10} For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

You can see this illustrated with Peter and Judas. Peter’s sorrow will lead to a change, but Judas’ sorrow only led to his death.

{11} For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

The words Paul uses here describe results, not emotion.

Judas responded to his “sorrow” by going out and hanging himself.

Peter’s sorrow took a little more time to work out.

Initially he hid, just like the rest of the disciples. But he was there when Jesus rose from the dead. And later he was in Galilee:

(John 21:15-17 NKJV) So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed My lambs." {16} He said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Tend My sheep." {17} He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus said to him, "Feed My sheep.

I don’t think Peter was grieved because Jesus used a different Greek word for “love” than Peter did. I think Peter was grieved because Jesus asking him three times reminded him of how he had denied Jesus three times.

Yet three times Jesus reminded Peter that he had a job to do – take care of the sheep.

And that’s what Peter did. Peter’s sorrow led him to turn around and do the right thing.