How to Be a Bad Friend – Matthew 26:47-75

Jesus’ love for humanity proves unshakeable when His best friends desert Him when He needs them most.  It’s one thing to love your enemies, but it’s a whole ‘nother can of worms to love a friend who turns their back on you.

  • V47 – Matthew does a pretty amazing job of keeping his commentary to a minimum.  Since he was there for all of this, it would be tempting to emphasize stories in which he was the star, or voice his opinion about Judas.  He doesn’t do any of that.  He keeps Jesus the main character and sticks to facts, not opinions or commentaries.

◊ Is Jesus/God the main character in the gospel story in my life or do I make it about me?  (Technically, if it’s about me, it’s not the gospel.)

  • V50 – The ESV says this isn’t the term for intimate friend (philos in Greek), but rather, hetairos which means acquaintance.  “It was used previously by Jesus in parables concerning someone who has taken advantage of a privileged relationship (see 20:13; 22:12).
  • V51-52 – It seems like this is what Peter was waiting for (v35) and he probably wasn’t aiming for the guy’s ear.  Jesus’ initial response was probably disappointing and relieving since the disciples had two swords among them (Luke 22:38) and they were facing a “great crowd with swords and clubs.”
  • V53 – The Romans and religious leaders probably scoffed at this like a joke but the disciples would be pretty sure that could happen, after some of the things they’d seen.
  • V54 – Jesus instead submits to Scriptures and His Father’s plan.

◊ I often wish God would work profound miracles so I can avoid the suffering that will ultimately draw me closer to God (Romans 5:3-5).

  • V55-56 – One last verbal zing to the religious leaders to point out their hypocrisy and the fact that, while they think they’re writing this story, they’re actually fulfilling the story that’s already been written.  He gets pretty quiet after this.
  • V56 – “All the disciples left Him and fled.”  – This is so sad.  His words from earlier (v31) had to be ringing in their heads.  What could they do besides stay near Him for the sake of solidarity?
  • V58 – Peter stays close, watching to see what God will do.
  • V59-61 – In the middle of the night they were looking for people who could credibly lie about Jesus so they could kill Him.  It sounds like this trial was a chaotic mess.  What kind of people would they find in the middle of the night?!  Finally they found two guys who could agree, but they misquoted Jesus (John 2:19-21) so their “reason” for having him killed was a load of baloney.
  • V63 – What’s to say against that accusation?  It’s completely bogus and He’s not there to defend Himself, but to let Himself be killed.
  • V63-65 – This is the important question and Jesus’ answer puts the responsibility back on His accusers and makes it clear He’s not only a human Messiah but the divine Son of God.
  • V65-66 – Oh the sad, sad irony that those who spent their lives in anticipation of a Messiah have now made it illegal to be that Messiah.

◊ I have a need that can only be met by Jesus’ gift of salvation.  Am I receiving His gift and allowing Him to fill my needs?

  • V67-68 – It occurred to me that at some point these people will have to stand before King Jesus in judgement and He will answer this question and they’re going to wish they hadn’t asked it.
  • V69 – A servant girl certainly isn’t very threatening, but there were guards within earshot (v58).  He feared for his safety.
  • V71 – He moves a little closer to the exit.  It’s interesting that all the servant girls are familiar enough with Jesus that they could recognize His associates.
  • V69 – Here’s an interesting note from my Study Bible: “There were three stages to Peter’s denial.  First, he acted confused and tried to divert attention from himself by changing the subject.  Second, using an oath he denied that he knew Jesus.  Third, he swore that he did not know Jesus.  Believers who deny Christ often begin doing so subtly by pretending not to know him.  When opportunities to discuss religious issues come up, they walk away or pretend they don’t know the answers.  With only a little more pressure, they can be induced to deny flatly their relationship with Christ.  If you find yourself subtly diverting conversation so you don’t have to talk about Christ, watch out.  You may be on the road to denying him.”
  • V69-75 – This story is so sad because his heart was in the right place for so long.  Putting myself in Peter’s shoes, I think this would have been a formative and important experience for the years ahead and the trials to come.  It was a relatively safe place/time to make that mistake.  What if he had denied Jesus after Jesus had returned to heaven instead of persisting in preaching the good news in the face of persecution?!

◊ Have I learned from my mistakes?

Wrap up your quiet time by praying through the following questions:

  • Based on this passage of Scripture, what can I thank God for?
  • What do these verses tell me about God and His character?
  • Based on this passage, is there anything I need to confess to God and ask forgiveness for?
  • What do these verses remind me to pray for others?
  • What do these verses move me to pray for myself?

About knockinguntilitopens

I am a Christ follower, a wife, a mom, and a creator. I like to share my stuff.
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