In less than 24 hours, starting in the middle of the night, Jesus is arrested, stands before at least 4 courtrooms/judges, is condemned, beaten, crucified, dead and buried. And to think the elders didn’t even have a witness to testify against Him when they started this process.
- V1 – My ESV says they gathered enough elders to make a quorum and have an official vote so it would look more legal than a bunch of angry guys making rash decisions in the middle of the night. They also had to come up with an accusation that would fly with the Romans since “heresy” wasn’t of any concern to Caesar.
- V3 – I’ve always theorized that Judas was less interested in having Jesus killed than he was in starting some action – making Jesus hurry up with His revolt against the Romans. When I think about how he may have had his own ideas about what Jesus should be doing and that he did what he thought was best rather than waiting for God’s timing, I can relate to him in a scary way.
- V3 – The ESV points out that the Greek for “changed his mind” can mean “felt remorse” but is different from repentance.
◊ Does my remorse for my sins lead me to repentance?
- V4 – The priests were, in essence, telling Judas they would not bring his sin before God to ask for forgiveness, which was their job. In only a few more hours Judas would have been able to approach God in repentance for his sins himself (when the curtain in the temple was torn).
- V5 – There would have been a lot more hope for him if he had waited around for the end of the story.
◊ Have I given up hope in God for a situation that may not be over yet? God’s timing/ways are different from my own.
- V6-8 – This highlights the backwards priorities of the religious leaders. They are concerned with what they can legally do with this money but not concerned with doing their job (when Judas tried to repent) or with the life of an innocent man who, incidentally, happened to be the Son of God there to save them from their hypocrisy.
◊ What are my religious priorities?
- V9-10 – How astonishing the details predicted hundreds of years earlier!
- V11 – Jesus uses this answer a lot. It basically means “If you say so.”
- V12-14 – Obviously, Jesus could have defended himself against every accusation. He always wins verbal debates and can sidestep every time they try to trap Him with a trick question. But He wasn’t there to defend Himself, He was there to die.
- V16 – Barabbas means “son of the father” or, basically, everyman. Every child of a parent was freed because Jesus took the penalty s/he deserved.
- V18 – Pilate sees right through the Jewish elders but He’s not willing to stand up and do what he knows should be done.
- V19 – Pilate’s wife did listen and do what she could but he ignored her.
◊ Do I listen when people I trust give me good advice to do the right thing?
- V20 – I wonder how they persuaded the crowd. A few days before “the crowd” was praising Jesus.
◊ V21 – Which am I more concerned with: justice or my reputation?
- V23 – No one bothers to answer the question about what evil Jesus has done.
- V24 – Declaring his innocence in meaningless if he didn’t do the right thing. He could have done something but he chose not to; therefore he was not innocent.
◊ Whose blood is on my hands because I have not stood up for their justice? Do I buy clothes or food from companies that exploit people?
- This harsh statement is true for every human – we are all responsible for His death. The ESV translates it “His blood be on us…” Being covered by His blood, ironically, symbolizes our salvation rather than our condemnation.
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?