Wednesday Night Bible Survey
March 29, 1995
We're now in the final twenty-four hours of Jesus' earthly life.
Last week we started into Thursday evening, the Passover is being celebrated, Jesus has initiated communion.
:30-35 Disciples will deny Him
:30 they had sung an hymn
Gill: The "Hallell", which the Jews were obliged to sing on the night of the passover; for the passover, they say, was "bound to an hymn". This "Hallell", or song of praise, consisted of six Psalms, the 113th, 114th, 115th, 116th, 117th, and 118th: now this they did not sing all at once, but in parts. Just before the drinking of the second cup and eating of the lamb, they sung the first part of it, which contained the 113th and 114th Psalms; and on mixing the fourth and last cup, they completed the "Hallell", by singing the rest of the Psalms, beginning with the 115th Psalm, and ending with the 118th; and said over it, what they call the "blessing of the song", which was "#Ps 145:10" (Psalms 145:10 All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee.), &c., and they might, if they would, mix a fifth cup, but that they were not obliged to, and say over it the "great Hallell", or "hymn", which was the 136th Psalm. Now the last part of the "Hallell", Christ deferred to the close of his supper; there being many things in it pertinent to him, and proper on this occasion, particularly "#Ps 115:1 116:12-15 118:22-27", and the Jews themselves say, "the sorrows of the Messiah" are contained in this part:
Psalms 115:1-AV Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, [and] for thy truth's sake.
Psalms 116:12-15 AV What shall I render unto the LORD [for] all his benefits toward me? 13 I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD. 14 I will pay my vows unto the LORD now in the presence of all his people. 15 Precious in the sight of the LORD [is] the death of his saints.
Reminds me of when Jesus would pray, "Let this cup depart..."
Psalms 118:22-27 AV The stone [which] the builders refused is become the head [stone] of the corner. 23 This is the LORD'S doing; it [is] marvellous in our eyes. 24 This [is] the day [which] the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it. 25 Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity. 26 Blessed [be] he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD. 27 God [is] the LORD, which hath shewed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, [even] unto the horns of the altar.
:31 it is written, I will smite the shepherd ...
Jesus is quoting:
Zechariah 13:7-AV Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man [that is] my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
Note: It's interesting to me that Jesus didn't say, "You are all going to run from me because I have done intense psychological testing on you, and you all have such weak personalities that you're going to run".
Jesus based His conclusions on the Word of God.
:32 after I am risen again ...
Whenever Jesus talked about His death and resurrection, it seems the disciples always picked up on the death part, but didn't seem to notice the part about the resurrection.
When the resurrection came, it almost seems as if they were surprised.
:33 yet will I never be offended
Is Peter going to be able to keep this promise?
For some reason, I've started to cringe when I hear some husband telling his wife that he'll never drink again, or something of that sort.
When you make claims like that, are you prepared to eat your words?
Our flesh is WEAK.
In us and with our own abilities, we can never learn to do the things we're supposed to do.
Romans 7:18-AV For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but [how] to perform that which is good I find not.
It's only as we learn to let God take over more and more of our lives, and we learn how to walk in the power of the Spirit of God, that we are able to do the things God wants us to.
Galatians 5:16-AV [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Peter would learn to stand up for his belief in Jesus, even be arrested and face persecution, eventually dying for his faith, but only after he learned how to let God have control of his life.
:34 before the cock crow
The rooster crows at the sunrise.
Jesus is saying that not only would Peter deny Jesus, but that he would do it not once, not twice, but three times, and all before the night was over.
36-46 In the Garden of Gethsemane
Gethsemane = "an oil press"
This was an olive garden at the foot of the Mount of Olives.
:37 Peter ... two sons of Zebedee
Peter and the two brothers James and John.
This was Jesus' "inner circle". These were His closest "friends".
:37-38 sorrowful and very heavy ... exceeding sorrowful
This doesn't mean that Jesus had a sudden weight gain (very poor joke!)
1) to make sorrowful 2) to affect with sadness, cause grief, to throw into sorrow
1) to be troubled, great distress or anguish, depressed
++++ This is the strongest of the three Greek words (85, 916, 3076) in the NT for depression.
1) very sad, exceedingly sorrowful 2) overcome with sorrow so much as to cause one's death
What's the point?
Jesus was VERY depressed!
:38 tarry ye here ...
In a way, maybe we can learn a little from Jesus about handling depression.
How did Jesus handle depression?
1. He admitted He was depressed.
He didn't try to cover it up or hide from it.
2. He got His buddies around Him
In a way, Jesus would have to go to the cross alone.
Everyone would be scattered at His arrest.
But for now, while He was facing the depression, He got His closest friends around Him.
3. His friends were just to be there.
Jesus didn't say, "Come and counsel me and tell me what to do."
He just asked them to hang around and wait with Him.
They were also supposed to be praying too (vs.41)
Sometimes we feel like we have to have all the answers for our depressed friends.
It's probably just a lot better if we sit with them and pray with them.
Job's friends did fine for the first seven days, until they opened their mouths.
4. He prayed
Jesus poured His heart out to God.
Psalms 34:4-AV I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
:39 if it be possible, let this cup pass from me
In the long term view of things, it wouldn't be possible for salvation to come to mankind any other way but that Jesus should die for our sins, to die in our place.
Jesus is going to pray this same prayer three times.
It's okay to tell God what your desire is, even if it's a little "selfish".
Sometimes we stop talking to God because we just assume that what we would ask wouldn't be His will.
It's kind of like a kid who wants to ask his dad for a bike, but he knows that his dad is going to say no, so he never brings it up with his dad. In fact he just gets mad because he knows that dad would say no.
That's how to have a poor relationship with somebody.
It's much better to risk hearing a "no" than to shut up and never talk to each other.
Remember, Jesus even bothered to ask the Father THREE TIMES about the same thing!
The important thing is that we always recognize that He's God, and we are willing for Him to do whatever is best in His sight.
:39 nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt
Do you get the feeling that going to the cross wasn't going to exactly be a pleasurable thing for Jesus?
Hebrews 12:2-AV Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Be careful when looking at this verse.
It's not because going to the cross was joyful that Jesus went.
It's that He exchanged the joy He would have in the end for the cross that He went.
Jesus is placing His own desires and wishes in the Father's hand. He is willing to obey the Father, even if it's not what He (Jesus) would personally enjoy doing.
Ask according to God's will.
The "Faith" teachers claim that it's a copout to pray "if it by Thy will".
They say that we should simply demand it in Jesus' name, and God has to obey us.
They might rephrase this prayer to say, "Nevertheless not as Thou wilt, but as I will".
I think Jesus has a little better idea of how to pray than these guys do.
Jesus had already taught us to pray:
Matthew 6:10-AV Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as [it is] in heaven.
We have a promise about praying according to God's will:
1John 5:14-15 AV And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
Once we ask God for something He wants to give us, we'll get a positive answer to our prayers.
The trick is just learning to ask for the right things.
Sometimes we never know unless we start asking for them.
Obedience is doing what's right, whether you feel like it or not.
Obedience isn't supposed to be fun. It's just supposed to be done.
Too often our obedience to the Lord is put off because we don't "feel like it".
Jesus didn't feel like going to the cross.
But He went.
:41 Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation
What were the temptations being experienced at this moment?
What was Jesus being tempted with?
Jesus was being tempted to not obey the Father and to not endure the pain of the cross.
What were the disciples being tempted with?
The disciples were being tempted to not stand by Jesus, but instead to deny even knowing Him.
Who watched and prayed? Who eventually fell to the temptations?
Jesus watched and prayed, He didn't fall.
The disciples fell asleep, they did fall.
Watch and Pray
It's a guaranteed way to stay out of temptation.
Watch - (gregoreuo)
1) to watch 2) metaph. give strict attention to, be cautious, active 2a) to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one
To keep awake, alert, to pay attention to what's going on around you.
Don't be ignorant of the things going on around you. Don't be ignorant of the tricks of the enemy.
1Peter 5:8-AV Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
If you have a problem with alcohol, and the guys at work go to lunch at the bar down the street on Fridays, watch out! Be ready!
Keep in touch with headquarters.
Pray for God to deliver you.
I think that for the most part I just don't get this thing of prayer.
Here God offers to us all the resources of heaven, if we just ask.
But do we?
How much time to we spend each day in committed, directed prayer (not just shallow talking as you go stuff).
Why don't I pray more?
I think a lot of pitfalls in our lives, especially the temptation kind, wouldn't hit us nearly so bad if we learned how to grow in prayer.
Soon after Augustine's conversion, he was walking down the street in Milan, Italy. There he accosted a prostitute whom he had known most intimately. She called but he would not answer. He kept right on walking. "Augustine," she called again. "It is I!" Without slowing down, but with assurance of Christ in his heart, he testified, "Yes, but it is no longer I." Although young in the faith, he knew something of a solicitation to do evil and the way of victory over temptation. His reply, "It is no longer I," expresses a realization that he had a new power available to combat the forces of sin and evil which would seek to dominate his life. He was a changed man. In the words of the Master, "Keep watching and praying, that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matt. 26:41)
Standing at the South Pole is like being in the eye of a hurricane -- it's deceivingly calm. The quietness seems inconsistent with the fact that mighty winds originate there. How is this possible? As warm air from the equator flows in over the polar region, it descends, becomes cold and dense, and sinks to the frigid surface. Since the ice-covered plateau tapers off toward the oceans, and no mountains of other obstacles stand in the way, gravity pulls the heavy, cold air down the smooth slopes. The wind picks up tremendous speed as it moves northward toward the equator. Gradually it is heated by the sun and begins to rise, creating a circular pattern to drive the earth's weather machine that is so vital to our existence.
For Christians, quiet times of prayer and worship also give rise to great power. They might seem non-productive because nothing appears to be happening.
Our urge is almost compulsive: move, do, work, worry, struggle. Yet at the heart of accomplishing things for God must be that regular experience of calm followed by an unobstructed flow of energy.
:41 the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak
Paul the apostle wrote:
Romans 7:15-NIV I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
:44 prayed the third time, saying the same words
Here's something else the "Faith" teachers find hard to swallow.
I've heard them teach that if we are truly asking in "faith", then we only have to ask once.
If we have to ask more than once, it's only because we are doubting, and lack faith.
In contrast, Jesus taught us to learn to pray persistently, but keeping on asking over and over.
Luke 18:1-8 AV. And he spake a parable unto them [to this end], that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
Keep on asking.
:47-56 Betrayal's Arrest
:48 Whomsoever I shall kiss
Judas had to have a way of pointing out Jesus to the people because they apparently hadn't all seen or heard Him before.
:50 Friend, wherefore art thou come?
Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss (a sign of friendship)
Jesus still calls Judas "friend"
The depths of the betrayal.
It was prophesied through David and the relationship he had with Ahithophel:
Ahithophel was one of David's close friends and counselors.
He was a trusted advisor.
But he betrayed David's trust and sided with Absalom when Absalom decided to kick David out and make himself king.
Ahithophel was possibly Bathsheba's grandfather. His son (Bathsheba's father) was one of David's mighty men, one of the inner 30.
2Samuel 11:3-AV And David sent and enquired after the woman. And [one] said, [Is] not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite?
2Samuel 23:34-AV Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,
2Samuel 15:12-AV And Absalom sent for Ahithophel the Gilonite, David's counsellor, from his city, [even] from Giloh, while he offered sacrifices. And the conspiracy was strong; for the people increased continually with Absalom.
Look at the depths of the pain that David, and hence Jesus felt during their betrayal.
Psalms 41:9-AV Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up [his] heel against me.
Psalms 55:12-14 AV For [it was] not an enemy [that] reproached me; then I could have borne [it]: neither [was it] he that hated me [that] did magnify [himself] against me; then I would have hid myself from him: 13 But [it was] thou, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. 14 We took sweet counsel together, [and] walked unto the house of God in company.
Jesus understands your hurt
You may have had a friend at work turn their back on you.
But Jesus understands.
You may have felt rejected by your parents or family.
But Jesus understands.
You may have felt betrayed by a loved one, maybe going through divorce.
But Jesus understands.
Hebrews 2:18-AV For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
Hebrews 4:15-16 AV For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
:51 one of them which were with Jesus
Matthew is being nice and discreet here.
But old John didn't cover up the real blow hard here. John goes and rats on his old friend:
John 18:10-AV Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest's servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.
:51 smote off his ear
Jesus then turns around, picks up the ear, and heals the man.
Luke 22:51-AV And Jesus answered and said, Suffer ye thus far. And he touched his ear, and healed him.
:52 all they that take the sword ...
We might put it into modern terms today:
"All those that take up a gun die shall die by a gun"
:53 more than twelve legions of angels?
The word "legion" is a Roman word, describing a grouping of the Roman army.
A full Roman legion had 6,100 foot and 726 horse in the time of Augustus.
If we take Jesus literally, He's saying that at just a word, more than 81,912 angels would show up to defend Him.
And keep in mind that in one of the historical records of the Old Testament, one angel alone killed 185,000 Assyrians in one night!
Isaiah 37:36-AV Then the angel of the LORD went forth, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians a hundred and fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they [were] all dead corpses.
I wonder if Jesus uses the number of "12" legions in that He'd call one legion for each apostle.
Think of the angels showed up to protect Elisha when the armies of Syria came to capture him.
2Kings 6:17-AV And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain [was] full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
What Jesus is trying to get across to the disciples is that if He didn't feel that it was right to be arrested, all He'd have to do is say the word and the bad guys would be dust!
:54 how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled ...
This is what He came to earth to do.
He came to die.
He came to give up His life in exchange for ours on the cross.
:56 all the disciples forsook him, and fled
Do you ever feel as if nobody is on your side?
:57-68 Trial before Caiaphas
:57 where the scribes and the elders were assembled
:58 Peter followed him afar off
We're going to see the pathway to Peter's sin.
We're going to see an example of how to fall.
First we saw how Peter did not watch and pray.
Now we see Peter following "afar off"
Peter is probably thinking in his mind, "I'll just follow at a safe distance"
But no distance from Jesus is a "safe distance".
Stay as close to Jesus as you can!
It's not a matter of how much can you get by on and still maintain a Christian walk.
It's a matter of how close you can get.
:61 I am able to destroy the temple ...
Is this really what Jesus said?
Here's what He really said:
John 2:19-AV Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.
And the temple Jesus was talking about was the temple of His body, not the literal temple.
Jesus is being unjustly accused and condemned.
Have you ever felt like someone was twisting your words against you?
Let it drive you to Jesus where He can put His arms of love around you and hold you.
:63 Jesus held His peace
Two things are happening here:
1. Jesus is willingly laying down His life.
He could have answered all the charges and blown them away.
But His purpose is to go to the cross.
John 10:17-18 AV Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. 18 No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.
2. Jesus is giving us an example of suffering.
1Peter 2:18-25 AV Servants, [be] subject to [your] masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 19 For this [is] thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory [is it], if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer [for it], ye take it patiently, this [is] acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
That is really, really hard.
:64 Thou hast said:
Or, "It is as you said", or, "You betcha!"
:64 nevertheless I say unto you
Or, "Just in case you didn't get it the first time ..."
:64 the Son of man sitting ...
I believe Jesus is referring to the vision of Daniel:
Daniel 7:13-14 AV I saw in the night visions, and, behold, [one] like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion [is] an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom [that] which shall not be destroyed.
This is a vision of the Messiah being given His kingdom by the Father.
:65 He hath spoken blasphemy
Because He was claiming to be the Messiah.
It's only blasphemy if it's not true.
After all guys, sooner or later the real Messiah is bound to show up.
:67 Then did they spit in his face
I hate this part.
Can you imagine the absolute stupidity of these men who think they are judging some lunatic or something, and in reality it's the King of the Universe sitting before them?
To spit in someone's face was to demonstrate great contempt.
Numbers 12:14-AV And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in [again].
:67 buffeted him ... smote him
1) to strike with the fist, give one a blow with the fist 2) to maltreat, treat with violence and contumely
1) to smite with a rod or staff 2) to smite in the face with the palm of the hand, to box the ear
As horrible as this is, this had to happen to fulfill the prophecies:
Isaiah 50:6-AV I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.
Isaiah 53:3-AV He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
:69-75 Peter Denies His Lord
:70 he denied before them
:72 again he denied with an oath
Note: He has to use an oath to try and get them to believe him.
Something like, "May I be struck by lightning if I'm not telling the truth"
:73 thy speech bewrayeth thee
"I can tell by your accent..."
:74 Then began he to curse and to swear ...
Here's the third time.
Isn't it interesting to see Peter's fall, how it gets worse each time he denies his Lord?
Sin progresses from bad to worse
Somehow we get to thinking that if we just do it one more time, we'll never do it ever again, honest!
But the truth is, every time you commit the same sin, it gets worse and worse.
Every time you obey the Lord it gets easier and easier.
:74 immediately the cock crew
Or, "the rooster crowed".
Did it have to happen immediately? Isn't that kind of rubbing your face into it?
:75 Peter remembered the word of Jesus
Jesus was right, Peter wasn't such a tough follower after all. Peter had weakness in him.
:75 he went out, and wept bitterly
Apparently, the palace of the high priest was built around a courtyard.
It was in this courtyard that Peter was hanging around at the fires of the soldiers.
The trial of Jesus was close enough that they could all see what was going on.
Luke tells us that when the cock crowed, Jesus turned around and looked right at Peter.
Luke 22:61-AV And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.
No wonder Peter wept bitterly.
Not only did he remember what Jesus had told him, but there was Jesus looking right at him, knowing everything.
This is Peter's darkest hour.
This is why we must learn to Watch and Pray.