Wednesday Night Bible Survey

April 5, 1995

Matthew 26:51-75


We're now in the final few hours of Jesus' earthly life.

The chapter began with moving into Thursday evening, the Passover is being celebrated, Jesus has initiated communion, then Jesus moved on to a garden called Gethsemane.

Jesus went and prayed during His time of temptation, being tempted to not go to the cross.

Judas has now showed up with a crowd, and is betraying Jesus into the hands of the chief priests.

Matthew 26

:47-56  Betrayal's Arrest

:50  Friend, wherefore art thou come?

Last week we talked about this ...

The depths of the betrayal.


Jesus understands your hurt

: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

Luke, the physician, tells us another detail, that 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 ...

This kind of speaks for itself, doesn't it?

: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 soldiers 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 that 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 ...

What Scriptures?

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  53:2-11  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire him. 3  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. 4. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5  But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7  He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither [was any] deceit in his mouth. 10. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11  He shall see of the travail of his soul, [and] shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

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?

Jesus understands!

:57-68  Trial before Caiaphas

:57  where the scribes and the elders were assembled

How convenient!

It's late at night, and they all just happen to be over at Caiphas' house for a party...

: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!

Some people want to know if you can be a Christian and still do this or that.

It's not a matter of how far you can get from Jesus and still be a Christian.

It's a matter of how close you can get.

John 12:26-AV If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will [my] Father honour.

After the resurrection, Jesus sought Peter out.

Just as Peter would deny the Lord three times, Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him.

 John 21:17-19 AV He saith unto him the third time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.  18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry [thee] whither thou wouldest not.  19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

:61  I am able to destroy the temple ...

Is this really what Jesus said?

Here's what He really said:

John 2:19-21 AV Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.  20 Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?  21 But he spake of the temple of his body.

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?

Jesus understands.

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.

After all, this is Jesus, the guy who knows how to silence the Pharisees and Sadducees.

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.


How to suffer unjustly:

1.  With Patience

patience - hupomeno

1) to remain   1a) to tarry behind 2) to remain i.e. abide, not recede or flee  2a) to preserve: under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one's faith in Christ   2b) to endure, bear bravely and calmly: ill treatments

acceptable - charis

Just stick it out.

2.  Watch your mouth

Don't return the bad remarks.

Jesus handled it by just being quiet, holding His peace.

That is really, really hard.

We usually like to let everybody know just how bad it feels that we stubbed our toe.

And the person that put the thing in our way that we stubbed our toe on, watch out!

: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.

In saying this, Jesus is claiming His title as Messiah.

: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].

:67-68  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.

Think of Jesus' example of suffering unjustly:

Here's the ultimate in holding back in returning evil for evil.

Here's these stupid peons hitting and spitting on the King of the Universe.

With just one word they're toast.

Yet Jesus endures the punishment.

We often think that not returning evil for evil is only something you do when you don't have the strength of power to do the other person any damage.

But here's the source of all power being brutally bullied.

:69-75  Peter Denies His Lord

:70  he denied before them

That's once

:72  again he denied with an oath

That's twice

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

delos   1) clear, evident, manifest

"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.

You can either dig holes or climb ladders.

It's either up or down.

Each time you yield to sin, you get in a little deeper.

Each time you obey the Lord, you climb a little higher.

: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?

It's sunrise on Friday morning.

: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.


Jesus sees.

We get into trouble because we start thinking that nobody's watching.

Ezekiel   8:7-12. And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall. 8  Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door. 9  And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here. 10  So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, pourtrayed upon the wall round about. 11  And there stood before them seventy men of the ancients of the house of Israel, and in the midst of them stood Jaazaniah the son of Shaphan, with every man his censer in his hand; and a thick cloud of incense went up. 12  Then said he unto me, Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients of the house of Israel do in the dark, every man in the chambers of his imagery? for they say, The LORD seeth us not; the LORD hath forsaken the earth.

Isn't it amazing what kinds of things your kids will do when they don't think that anybody's watching them?

And how quickly they change when they catch you peeking in on them!

Peter found out.

He found out that Jesus saw him.

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.

But I feel that when we catch a glimpse at the Lord watching us, that's when we begin the road of turning around.

This is Peter's darkest hour.

This is why we must learn to Watch and Pray.

Matthew 27













Matthew 28