Jesus is arrested and is tried by officials (Journeys 56-57)

We are reaching a critical juncture in the Life of Christ. Because Jesus was betrayed by Judas, officials are aware of His whereabouts, and are seeking to take Him in for questioning.

SCRIPTURE: Mark 14:43-15:19; Matthew 26:47-27:30; Luke 22:47-23:25; John 18:2-19:16

First: Jesus is betrayed, arrested, and forsaken – Jesus is in the Garden of Gethsemane, just before being taken to Annas, the ex-High Priest… It is Friday, long before dawn, the day of Suffering; and this has become, for the Christian, the Day of the cross. It is in the Garden of Gethsemane that Jesus is betrayed, arrested, and forsaken.

Jesus’ arrest

Judas knew of the garden, for He went there often with His Disciples, to which, Judas led the guards to seize in arresting Jesus. This is the betrayal by Judas (with a kiss), to which, Jesus needed no one to defend Him. The men that came with Judas fell to the ground upon meeting Him, but Jesus surrendered unto them, especially hoping that His friends were not harmed. The Disciples tried to fight; however, Jesus told them that if they practiced violence, they would also suffer violence. If Jesus wanted help, He would draw it supernaturally; however, this was not necessary as He was fulfilling Prophecy. The soldiers grabbed a person that followed Jesus, but he escaped. The Disciples fled once a fight broke out.

The Jewish trial comprised three stages:

  1. The preliminary examination by Annas
  2. The informal trial by the Sanhedrin, probably before dawn
  3. The formal trial after dawn

Jesus was taken and bound, being led to Annas first, and then to Caiaphas. Annas was the previous High Priest, and could give Him a preliminary examination, before His trial. Jesus noted that He spoke no evil, for they would have to give proof. Otherwise, why smite? Jesus noted that His teachings were known by many and they did not have any evil. Therefore, Jesus was taken to Caiaphas the High Priest next.

Jesus before Caiaphas

A gambit: It was illegal for the Sanhedrin to meet at night; however, they considered this an emergency.

Jesus was brought before Caiaphas, where he had called the Sanhedrin together to condemn Jesus immediately. They teased Him, telling Him to prophesy who struck Him in the face (as He was blindfolded during this encounter). Nonetheless, the leaders desired for Jesus to say something of blasphemous intent, so they could condemn Him to death. They were satisfied as Jesus said He was the Messiah, the Son of God, and the Son of man—to which, He was about to receive the Glorious Kingdom of God. They suddenly abused Jesus violently and condemned Him to death.

Peter denies Jesus Christ

Discussion of interpretation: At the Court of the High Priest’s residence, Friday, before dawn during the series of the trials, we are seeing the unfolding of Peter’s denial. There is something interesting here… Each of the four Gospels record three denials. But the details differ considerably, as must always be the case where in each narrative a few facts are selected out of many sayings and doings. John gives only the first of the three stages, Luke only the last, Matthew and Mark the second stage fully, and the third is mentioned briefly.

Peter recognized

If Peter’s denials ran through all three (Luke says in verse 59 that there was an hour between his second and third denial), then not one of the four Gospels could give each of the denials precisely at the time of its occurrence, and so each Gospel merely throws them together. We attempt here yet another way: We bring them together in one section. There is no difficulty about the substantial fact of the denials, and we must be content with our inability to arrange all the circumstances into a complete program.

The story: Peter was in the courtyard while Jesus was being tested. A servant girl recognized Him as a Disciple, and asked if he had any association, to which he denied. A bit later, another person recognized him and told the people standing near, and again, he denies Christ; however, this time with an oath. About an hour later, some of the bystanders had approached Peter again, wondering if he was sure he wasn’t a follower… Peter denied emphatically. Soon, the cock would crow, signifying that Jesus was correct of what Peter would do. It reminded Peter of his folly, to which, Jesus saw Peter, and Peter was filled with grief and began weeping bitterly.

Jesus is then condemned by the Sanhedrin at the Residence of Caiaphas

It was a long night for Jesus, which included the Passover, the Lord’s Supper, the washing of the Disciples’ feet, the long discussion in the upper room, the walk to Gethsemane and the agonizing prayer time in the garden, the arrest, and then the questioning that contributed to the rough handling of Him at the high priest’s house.

Jesus before Caiaphas again

Now that it was a new day, judgment could be passed to Jesus by legal sentence, to which He was made to stand before the Sanhedrin for a brief repeat of the investigation the previous night. The leaders could make a formal charge against Him to present to the Roman authorities, so they had to come up with something to convince the governor what He had done and why He needed execution.

Judas ends it for himself: Judas, the betrayer, “repented himself” and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the Chief Priests and Elders. Judas went out and hanged himself. He returned the thirty pieces of silver, and this was the money used to purchase Potter’s field where Judas was buried.

Jesus appears before Pilate

The process of the Roman Trial:

  1. The first appearance before the Roman Procurator Pilate
  2. The appearance before Herod Antipas, the native ruler of Galilee appointed by the Romans
  3. The final appearance before Pilate

The time here is Friday, early morning. Jesus is taken to Pilate the first time.

The Jewish leaders were attempting a formal charge against Jesus so they could convince the Roman governor of His deserving of execution. Bringing Jesus before Governor Pilate, they had to go to Jerusalem into his Praetorium. The Jewish leaders took Him to Pilate early in the morning to have Him dealt with before festivities started (again, as reviewed earlier to avoid a riot since Jesus was so remarkably influential).

Pilate isn’t sure, so Herod should see Him

The Jews charged Jesus with blasphemy, as He called Himself the Son of God; however, when they took Jesus to Pilate, they twisted the situation and the charge that not only did He claim to be God, but also to be above Caesar. Suggesting Him to be a political rebel, they tried to lead Him as a messianic uprising as if He would overthrow the Roman’s rule to set up an independent Jewish province. Pilate then attempts to dismiss the case, probably waiving Him as just an annoyance; however, the Jewish leader pressed upon their charges further.

Jesus then explains to Pilate the true picture that His Kingdom was not concerned with political power; therefore, He was not trying to create an uprising. Rather, it was a spiritual kingdom that was based upon truth. Pilate did not understand Jesus; however, he did understand enough to be convinced that Jesus was definitely not a political rebel, and thus, suspected that the Jews handed Him over for judgment because of jealousy of the remarkable following that Jesus created. He decided that Jesus should see Herod.

Now before Herod

Pilate soon learned that Jesus was from Galilee and that since he did not control relations in Galilee, he sent Jesus to the Galilean governor, Herod Antipas, who happened to be in town for the festivities as well. As Jesus came before Herod, He refused to speak to Herod (He was just silent the whole time), and did not attempt to defend Himself against the false accusations of the Jewish authorities; therefore, after mocking Him ridiculously and adorning Him with a gorgeous robe, Herod sent Him back to Pilate. Apparently, through this, Herod and Pilate became friends after having hostility for so long.

Again before Pilate

Herod returns Jesus to Pilate. The time is now Friday toward sunrise. John uses Roman time with the hour starting at 12 midnight and 12 noon, as is done today. However, the Synoptics use Hebrew reckoning, beginning with sunrise (6 am to 7 am being the first hour, etc.). This is apparent from the care with which the Gospels specify particular hours in relation to the crucifixion. Jesus was put on the cross at 9 am (“third hour,” Mark 15:25). Darkness was over the land from noon until 3 pm (“sixth till ninth hour,” Matthew 27:45-46; Mark 15:33-34; Luke 23:44). Thus, the “sixth hour” mentioned in John 19:14 could not be Hebrew time (noon) but rather 6 am, “when morning was come,” according to Matthew 27:1-2.

The choice was: Free Barabbas or Acquit Jesus

They said to free Barabbas

Pilate slowly and reluctantly, and in fear, surrendered to the demand of the Sanhedrin for the crucifixion of Christ. He could not escape full legal and moral responsibility for his cowardly surrender to the Sanhedrin to keep his own office. Both the Pharisees and Sadducees unite in the demand for the Blood of Jesus. It is impossible to make a mere political issue out of it and to lay all the blame on the Sadducees, who feared a revolution. The Pharisees began the attack against Jesus on theological and ecclesiastical grounds. The Sadducees later joined the conspiracy against Christ. Judas was a mere tool of the Sanhedrin, who had his own resentments and grievances to avenge.

Mockery begins…

The time is Friday, between 6 and 9 am. The Roman soldiers mock Jesus, just as the Sanhedrin had done during the trial at the residence of the High Priest, Caiaphas.

Some soldiers were preparing for the crucifixion, and some in Pilate’s Praetorium were mocking Jesus as “King” and putting old soldiers’ clothes on Him. They adorned Him with a royal (scarlet colored) robe and a crown of thorns. They even hit Him over the head with a stick that was His “sceptre.” After that, they spat in His face and punched Him.

Then they shout at Him:

“HAIL! KING OF THE JEWS!”

Jesus is now prepared for His Crucifixion process, and we will be covering that in the next blog.

They prepare Him for crucifixion

What can we learn during this process?

We must keep in mind to not be as the Disciples who fled, but be the people who continually follow Christ, even through troubles. We should be faithful in following Christ, because turning back is a sin (similar to those that put their hand to the plough, but look back are not fit for the Kingdom of heaven/God). Many evil people shut their eyes to the truth, and will not listen to reason, because of the wickedness in their hearts. Let us confess Christ’s Name, even in reproach, because He will confess us before the Father! No matter what we are to endure, as long as we do it for the Glory of God, nothing can stop us, for He will be with us to strengthen us the whole way through.

Wicked men must answer to the consequences of their evil deeds; therefore, it is always best to repent of your sins before you reap the consequences. This reminds us to bring more sinners to Christ so that hell does not have its way with them in death. His People must realize and begin thinking about Kingdom things rather than worldly things, so that we may be prepared and look forward to His Coming Kingdom!

Therefore, in the face of our accusers, as Jesus was in the face of accusers, we must stand firm and allow the Lord to lead us on what to say, what not to say, and how to work out a situation for His Will. Jesus knew He could speak to Pilate, but speaking to Herod was not going to be a good idea, as even though Jesus did not speak to him, he still mocked Jesus. The Lord knows when people will understand and when they will not, and He will lead us on what to say, for we have the Comforter and the Teacher to guide us. Christ did God’s Will so that He may obtain the joy, Glory, and completing of the purchase for us Eternal Life. We must do the same that we do God’s Will so that we may do it for the joy of the reward we will receive for Eternity!

Prejudice hindered Jesus' Mighty Works (Journeys 26-27)

Jesus is finishing ministry in Galilee, but first stops at Nazareth. This is not permanent, but due to the extent of ministry in the Galilean region, He is targeted from the powers that be. Most of His Ministry has been more public, but He is preparing for private ministry. Some adversity is encountered before these things become so.

Jesus’ Final Visit to Nazareth

Jesus makes a 7 hour journey to Nazareth, as we are reading in Mark 6:1-6; Matthew 13:54-58. Jesus comes again to Nazareth and teaching in the Synagogue. Their prejudice hinders Jesus from doing a mighty work, although He heals a few sick people; Jesus marvels at their unbelief.

The people there where Jesus came next in Nazareth were surprised that such a person they had known only as a carpenter could preach so well; therefore, they refused to accept His evidence and admit that this One was indeed God.

They refused belief in Him, and therefore, Jesus would not use His Miracles to help them believe; however, out of compassion, He privately healed some sick people.

What can we learn from this?

Some people may despise us, because they know who our old selves are, but we claim to be otherwise, which causes them to disbelieve. Unbelief is a great hindrance to our work, and therefore, we may not be accepted in our original area, but in a new area, we may be widely accepted. Influence comes in many shapes and sizes, and we must depend upon Christ to bring the insight to lead us where to go to be able to have ability for influencing.

Third Tour of Galilee & Sending the Twelve forth

Jesus is taking a painstaking journey now.. From Nazareth to villages (small towns) around Nazareth. Around cities and villages of Galilee (Galilee about 10 hours North to South and 6 or 7 hours East to West). No doubt ending up at Capernaum where His Disciples met Him after their preaching tour. We are reading in Mark 6:6-13; Matthew 9:35-38; 11:1; Luke 9:1-6.

A third tour of Galilee (the last) with the Twelve Disciples: “teaching… preaching… and healing…” Jesus’ compassion for the crowds is seen. They are as “sheep without a Shepherd,” or a “harvest to be gathered.” Jesus gives the Twelve Disciples power over unclean spirits and power to heal the sick.

He sends them to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom. He gives them careful instructions about their ministry, and warnings. Jesus goes from city to city, alone.

Jesus sent out His Twelve Disciples (Apostles) to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of the Messiah, to which, the miraculous powers of the Messiah were given to them also that the can use, so that the knowledge of His Love and Mercy might spread quicker through the land.

Jesus could not spread the Gospel worldwide in His Lifetime; therefore, the Apostles had to concentrate on Israel. They were to take with them the bare necessities for daily needs, so they are not hindered in travel. They were not to waste time preaching to people who were refusing to listen. Go to areas where the Gospel hasn’t been heard yet.

What can we learn from this?

Go and do as the Lord has called you to do without apprehensions of needs and other things, for He has provided all of the needs that we have. In addition, don’t bother with people who only ignore you, but go to people who will receive you and be willing to listen.

Herod has fear for murdering John the Baptist

Herod Antipas, a son of Herod the Great, is fearing for his life due to his murdering of John the Baptist. News of Jesus’ Ministry finally reaches the King, who supposes superstitiously that it is John the Baptist resurrected. Then the gruesome story of Herod’s murder of John is told. We are reading now in Mark 6:14-29; Matthew 14:1-12; Luke 9:7-9.

John the Baptist has been executed, and when Herod heard about Jesus’ Miracles, he feared that Jesus was really John that had come back to life and that supernatural powers were working within Him. Remembering back when John went to prison, this was because John accused Herod of adultery in marrying Herodias, the wife of Herod’s brother Philip.

Herod respected and feared John, as He knew that John was godly and that such accusations were true. However, no discussion with John could persuade Herod to conquer his passions and give up Herodias.

John’s place of imprisonment was a dungeon inside Herod’s palace, which gave Herod the opportunity to speak to John often and made it easier for Herodias to get rid of him. She hated John for interfering with them, and she was quick to act when she saw the chance for him to be executed.

What can we learn from this?

Accusations do not change who a person is, nor does it change the situation. John was a good man, and people believed good things about him. Even though he was imprisoned for accusing Herod for adultery, he was still a good man whom Jesus honored.

Preparing for the next period

With Christ’s blessing, a little goes a long way. The next period of Jesus’ Life is a bit more secluded, as He becomes a tutor for the disciples. One of His most amazing miracles is upcoming that we will explore. Stay tuned into this blog for more marvelous information about our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus cursed for working with Beelzebub (Journey 21)

  • Jesus is cursed by many Scribes, Pharisees, and other prejudice people
  • What did Beelzebub have to do with Jesus’ Ministry? Well people thought His Miracles came from Beelzebub’s work…
  • But how would good miracles come from evil masqueraded work?

Before we dive into the juicy details of Jesus being cursed for working with Beelzebub, we must first explore how Jesus even started into His second tour of Galilee. Jesus, His Twelve Disciples, and a number of women, make a tour of cities and villages.

Visiting all the towns of Galilee was not easy; therefore, Jesus and His Disciples were helped by a group of women who went with them to look after their needs. These women were Mary Magdalene, who had seven devils leave her, Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others.

We are reading in the following Scriptures (linked to for easy access): Mark 3:19-30; Matthew 12:22-37. If you would like to reference the other Scripture surrounding Jesus’ tour of Galilee, see: Luke 8:1-3

On one occasion of casting out demons, the Pharisees blamed Jesus of doing it to the power of satan. Jesus replied that if the devil was being used to cast out demons, the devil would only create war in his kingdom, because he would be destroying himself. The only way a strong man can be defeated is if a stronger one overpowers him. In casting out demons, Jesus showed He was stronger than satan and his demons. His Reign, which would result in crushing the serpent’s head, has begun.

God can forgive such doubts and misunderstandings about Jesus; however, He would not forgive blasphemous remarks or defiant rejection of Jesus’ Work, because His Work was good and originated in God! Those that called His Spirit “satan,” were clearly putting themselves in position to disrepute God’s Goodness.

Therefore, those that blasphemed would not receive forgiveness. One would not want forgiveness anyway, if he/she were to blaspheme against God, because their heart would have hardened completely or their minds completely blinded to the Grace of God!

The Good Works of Jesus were evidence of His Goodness, just as good fruit came from a good tree. The evil works of the Pharisees were the evidence of their evil hearts, in that; such evil will be used against them in Judgment.

What can we learn from this?

The Savior humbled Himself so much that He needed people to be kind to Him, which encouraged and blessed Him. We can do the same by offering our praise, gratitude, and service unto Him! He was rich in Spirit, but He became poor for our sake.

This tells us to focus more on Spiritual wealth for His Kingdom, rather than physical wealth. Though physical wealth may profit us here on Earth, it is only temporary; however, Spiritual wealth is Eternal!

It doesn’t mean that we need to become poor or stay poor; however, our focus must be on Spiritual wealth and less on physical wealth. It’s not bad to have “things,” but money is to serve us. If we are found to be serving money, we will be serving two masters, to which, we may love one and not the other.

We must choose God over money; family over money; Spirituality over money; etc. Man must work for the money he needs to support himself and his family; however, we must remember to make time for our family, but especially for God!

Now, the Doctrines of Christ seemed to have a boiling effect upon some people, especially religious leaders; however, it had the Power to break the devil’s power, which cast him out of people. Instead of satan possessing people, Christ was able to insert His Power to override and overthrow that demonic power, so that His Power could envelope the beings.

This brought grace, healing, and Salvation to the mortal bodies. We know that when Christ came in our lives, He had ridden the sin, evil, and other foul things out of our lives so His Grace, Healing, and Salvation could envelope us as well.

When we allow His Work to be done, it will be done to the overflowing abundance of Glory unto God! Therefore, we must beware of any evil speaking against Him, but rather, acknowledge His Glory!

What Beelzebub means…

Beelzebub is generally linked to being the “prince of demons,” or the devil himself. Many sources claim that this word comes from “Baal-zebub,” resulting from the idol deity of old from the Ekronites, which would call him the “lord of flies,” or “fly-god.”

Not exactly a very dignifying name. Others believe his name comes from “Beel-sebul,” which means, “dung-god.” Again, not very dignifying, as this would point him overall to being the author of pollutant abominations of idolatrous worship.

Christ shall be glorified above all! He is not associated with evil, He is Alpha and Omega Only and Above All on Earth!

Herod the Great wanted Jesus Dead

He wanted to kill Jesus… Right from the start, the enemy had his sights set on Jesus’ death, to which he used Herod to bring this hopeful reality – But the enemy was only being short-sighted, for he knew that one day, the promised redeemer would crush the head of the serpent (see Genesis 3).

We will be reading soon, but first, let me explain… Joseph has this dream, where he was warned of an imminent danger and that he needs to take Jesus and Mary and flee to Egypt. It was Herod’s mission to slay all male children under the age of two. We don’t know how many children were slewed – quite a bit or only a little. They were able to escape successfully, which was good for them to survive.

Eventually, Herod dies, and Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were able to return to Egypt and live safely. When they arrived, Joseph saw Herod’s son, Archelaus, in power – so they went on to Nazareth.

Luke passes over this episode; however, Matthew explains the prophecy of Hosea 1:1, “Out of Egypt have I called my Son.” In addition, the weeping prophet, Jeremiah, has something to say on this in 31:15, “Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.”

NOW, let’s explore the Bible verses for this story, Matthew 2:13-23, “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.”

Historicity and Archaeological Data

Herod was apparently an unstable leader, threatened by the onset of Jesus’ Birth, the recognition from the wise men for the King made Herod quite anxious. Since he was so anxious, he had all the children under 2 slayed, to which caused an immense struggle for Joseph, Mary, and Jesus to flee to Egypt. Thankfully, the gifts they received at Jesus’ Birth through the visitations provided them with enough to make it to Egypt without too much complication.

This was seemingly around 4 BC, since Herod the Great ruled from 37-4 BC. Herod’s Kingdom, which he inherited from his father, Herod Antipater, was vast. When Herod died in 4 BC, his kingdom was divided into parts where all three of his potentially ruling sons can take over. Archelaus became ethnarch of Judea, Idumea, and Samaria. Antipas became tetrarch of Galilee and Perea. Finally, Philip became tetrarch of Gaulanitis.

Herod’s Palace; Photo courtesy: Ron Dauphin

Josephus noted Archelaus was tyrannical, which was similar to his father, Herod the Great; however, Archelaus had little ability and bore no fruit during his reign. Augustus, in 6 AD, banished Archelaus to Gaul for being so incompetent, which would suppress his heavy-handed excess treatment against the Jews and Samaritans and suppress any anti-government riots soon to break out.

Archaeologists and historians verified Matthew’s story of this smiting of all the under age 2 children, by research that many small bones being found beneath the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

The Herodium

Josephus notes the physical agony of Herod the Great upon his death. He was buried, as Josephus notes, with great splendor and pomp, and notes the burial happened at Herod’s fortress, Herodium, where remains of this tomb were discovered on the northern slope of Jerusalem.

Herod’s Palace, Lower Terrage zone

Archaeological evidence suggests that the Jews entered the tomb of Herod the Great, where they allegedly smashed his sarcophagus or coffin – which was around the time of the Jewish Revolt of 66-68 AD. This was enacted because of revenge against Herod. Some were skeptical at Josephus’ discovery, until it was confirmed in 2007 when archaeologists found the tomb and remains of Herod.

The sarcophagus was decorated with rosette ornaments and made overall of red imported stone.

On an overall basis, we assume many decorated his tomb, but the Jews absolutely hated Herod and decided to wreak vengeance on his remains. Although, they didn’t rid the evidence, which made it very useful for discoveries contemporarily.