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When is it justified to defend yourself against government authority? Listen to this lesson to learn that there are instances when defense is legitimate but that Jesus Christ chose to submit to unfair authority. Find out how Jesus identifies Himself as God and how His voice affected the crowd. See how Peter reacted and hear what Jesus meant by His warning to Peter. Find out five prophecies that were fulfilled which gives us the confidence today that we can always depend on the Word of God.
This lesson also includes Luke 22:47–53 and John 18:2–11.
The notes link below includes “The Betrayal and Arrest” chronological reading of this event that Dr. Dean developed at the beginning of this class.
Submission to Unjust Authority
Matthew 26:47–56; Mark 14:43–52; Luke 22:47–53; John 18:2–11
Matthew Lesson #176
November 5, 2017
“Our Father, we’re thankful so much for Your Word; it is a lamp unto our feet, a light unto our path. It is the word that You breathed out to be recorded, to be preserved down through history that we might know You.
“That we might understand what the problem is between us human beings and You, between the fact that we were originally created in Your image and likeness, and yet that has been corrupted because of sin. But You loved us in such a way that You gave Your only begotten Son to die on the Cross for our sins.
“Father, as we continue our study of the details surrounding His death on the Cross, His betrayal, and arrest, we pray that we might be strengthened and encouraged knowing that this is all according to Your plan and every detail that took place was known by You.
“In fact, many of these were prophesied in the Old Testament, and that fulfillment of prophecy is just another way in which our confidence in Your Word is strengthened and that it provides more and more evidence of the truth of Your Word and the reality of what took place on the Cross.
“We pray this in Christ’s name, amen.”
Open your Bibles with me to Matthew 26:47. The parallel passages that we’re looking at are in Mark 14:43–52, Luke 22:47–53, John 18:2–11.
If you remember from last week when I introduced this section, I talked about the focal point, which was on Judas as the betrayer and on his betrayal of the Lord that took place in the Garden of Gethsemane, and its significance.
I started off talking about the meaning of these words—treason or betrayal—that this is when someone goes against the authority that is set over them and betrays them or fights against them or disobeys them in some serious way.
I gave several historical examples, one of which was of Guy Fawkes, a Brit who in the 1600s was part of a plot to blow up Parliament. Well, today is Guy Fawkes Day; I just had to remind you of that. They celebrate that by shooting off a lot of firecrackers and things of that nature.
But when we look at things of that nature, where we see someone who is not only disobedient to legitimate authority established over them, but seeks to overturn that and to pervert that, it raises questions related to when is it, if ever, justified to defend yourself against a government, to fight against perceived tyranny, or to even defend your life against a government power?
The details of that are really covered in studies that I’ve done on Romans 13 and in 1 Peter 2:13, which you can study. But in this episode we’re going to see that Jesus is being attacked illegally. Both the Romans and the Jewish authorities are violating their own laws in the way they are arresting Jesus.
So Jesus, in one sense, has every right to self-defense. He has every right to resist the authority of Rome and the illegal actions of the Jewish authorities. Yet Jesus chooses not to exercise that right and privilege that He has not only as an individual Jew, but as the Son of God, as the Sovereign of the Universe.
I want to remind you of a passage in Philippians. In this section of Philippians, Paul is talking about humility—what is genuine humility? He is challenging the people in the congregation at Philippi to model their thinking after the thinking of Jesus, which shows genuine humility and submission to authority.
It’s always interesting when you go through Scripture that when many things are given as a challenge or instruction to believers, the Scriptures do not go to some historical figure or to some cultural icon. They don’t illustrate with stories of the day; they go to Jesus; they go to God.
They go to historical examples from the Old Testament because we’re supposed to understand the Bible and be familiar with that. This is God’s Word; this is the divine interpretation of events. We don’t go to pop culture, and we don’t go to these other things to develop these illustrations.
We go to the King of kings and Lord of lords Himself Who, Paul says in Philippians 2:6, “… existed in the form of God …” That means He existed with the very essence of God. He was undiminished deity but He, “… did not regard equality with God …”
Which would mean His authority: the fact that He is fully God, that He is the Creator and that He has a right to expect obedience from His creatures.
He “… did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped …”—or held onto— Philippians 2:7, “… but He emptied Himself …” Not a good term, really. It has the idea that He added to Himself the form of a bondservant; that is, He was “… made in the likeness of men.”
Philippians 2:8, “Being found in appearance as a man, He …”—this is the key phrase—“… He humbled Himself by being obedient to the point of death …” Not just obedient to the Father, but obedient to these unjust authorities that were going to sentence Him to death “… on the cross.”
It’s a great example. He is not saying that you always have to do that, but there may be times and situations where that is the appropriate choice. Just because we have rights doesn’t mean we should always assert those rights and privileges. It is up to the individual.
Last time as we started through this passage, I pointed out three things that we covered:
1. The arrival of the crowd in Matthew 26:45–47
2. The backdrop, going back to the early part of Matthew 26 where we learned of the conspiracy by the members of the Sanhedrin, which was totally illegal, to arrest and kill Jesus.
3. What happened when Judas arrived, and his kiss of betrayal.
This morning we’re going to look at three more things in this passage:
4. The authority of the Son of God, which is not mentioned in the synoptic accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, but it is described in detail by John in John 18:4–7.
5. Peter’s emotional reaction to the men coming to arrest Jesus, and this in fact is covered in each of the Gospel accounts.
Things are not always covered in all four Gospel accounts, so when some event is covered in all four Gospel accounts, that is of great significance.
6. At the end Jesus emphasizes why it is important that these things take place, so that the Scripture will be fulfilled, prophecy will be fulfilled.
This is mentioned in Matthew 26, not by the other two synoptic writers, and then it’s mentioned in John 18:9, and you should read that along with John 17:12.
Just to review a little bit, last time we looked at the arrival of the crowd.
Matthew 26:47, “And while He was still speaking ...”—that is, to His disciples at the conclusion of His three times of prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane—“… behold, Judas, one of the twelve, with a great multitude with swords and clubs, came from the chief priests and elders of the people.”
When the accounts are compared with Mark and Luke, we know that all of the different religious groups were behind and participants in this. That is an indictment on them because this is very much an illegal action that is taking place: that it’s happening at night; it’s happening in violation of the laws that were later recorded in the Mishnah; it’s happening by the religious leaders who were later to sit in judgment.
It shows that they are not objective whatsoever, violating another law as well. Religious authorities were prohibited from arresting anyone as a result of a bribe—that’s another law that was broken—they are arresting Jesus as the result of bribing Judas to betray Him.
We’re told that this crowd that came is a cohort. The English is translated “a detachment of troops.” The Greek word is SPEIRA, which refers to a cohort. Some people try to reduce it to something much, much smaller.
I ran across a very good quote in Raymond Brown. Raymond Brown is a Roman Catholic scholar who has written a two-volume work just on the death of the Messiah that is extremely granular. He is very good on history and background and customs by the way. The theology’s questionable at places, but it’s got good background information.
“Athough there are instances of this Greek word speira rendering the Latin word manipulus (200 troops), it is the normal word for the Roman cohort [in other words what he is saying is sometimes it translates manipulus, but normally it relates to the cohort, which as I said last week is 1/10th of the legion, 600 troops].That John means the latter [that is, 600 troops] is suggested by the title chiliarchos given to the commander in 18:12, the normal Greek rendering of the [Latin] tribunus militum, who was over a cohort [and then he says, parenthetically] (Those who reduce the cohort to a manipulus [200 men] have to reduce him [that is the commander] to a decurio, a type of a corporal.)”
He is making a good point, and several people have commented since last time that they had no idea how many people had come out to the Garden of Gethsemane. If you’ve been there, you know this area is not necessarily that large. Here you have a minimum of 600 troops, plus the temple police, and all of the representatives of these religious groups. So, you have somewhere between 600 and 1,000 coming to arrest Jesus.
What’s interesting is, it talks about the fact that they came with lamps and torches and lights and all of this, that in the midst of what would be a dark night, there was some light from a full moon, because remember, it’s Passover, so that’s a full moon, so it wasn’t completely dark—could have been cloudy. But the irony here that we might miss is that they have to light their way to arrest the Light of the world.
Judas was Satan possessed. Satan is described in 2 Corinthians 11:14 as one who disguises himself as the angel of light. So the angel of light is also coming to betray the Light of the world. It’s these little subtleties in the text that are important to bring out as we continue our study.
Slides 10, 11, 12
The backdrop in relationship to the conspiracy is that at the beginning of the week, the chief priests and the scribes and elders conspired with Caiaphas, the high priest, in order to take Jesus by trickery and to kill Him.
They are enabled in this by Judas, who, we learn from Luke 22:3, is indwelt by Satan. This occurred at the time, early in the week, when he first contacted the chief priests and the elders. Then it happened again: Satan entered into him during the Seder meal, during the Passover meal, the night before Jesus went to the Cross. John 13 describes that Satan entered into him.
He was Satan possessed, and he still is as he goes to betray the Lord and to give Him the kiss of betrayal described in Matthew and in Mark.
We went through that passage, and what I want to bring out is that this kiss, as described by the word used by Matthew and Mark, is a word that indicates passion. It indicates the same level of passion, it is the same word that’s used of Mary, the sister of Martha, who is the one who anoints Jesus’ feet with her tears and wipes them dry.
This shows that there’s something going on here that is private—that Judas, as it’s described in the Gospels, has led the troops out there. He is in the front, so that he probably separates himself—that’s what it indicates—and Jesus is in front of the disciples, and they have this meeting.
It’s not just a meeting between Jesus and Judas, it’s a meeting between the Son of Man, the Eternal Son of God, and Satan, the leader of the cosmic rebellion against God. He feigns loyalty through this kiss, and Jesus somewhat sarcastically asked him this question—I would paraphrase it this way—“Do you really think you’re betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
Jesus asserts by this that He is still in control; He is completely in control of everything that is taking place. He’s the One who is submitting to their authority. He could call on a myriad of angels that would come down and defend and rescue Him. But instead He is submitting to this because this is God’s plan and purpose for redemption.
The last thing I want to point out from this, which I didn’t touch on last time, is when Judas approached Jesus, Jesus says to him in Matthew 26:50, “Friend, why have you come?”
Most of the time that we see Jesus use the word “friend,” it is a form of the noun PHILOS, which is from the Greek PHILEO, which indicates a close, personal, intimate love or affection, and it is the word for a personal friend.
That’s not the word that Jesus uses here for Judas. He uses the word HETAIROS, which could be translated as comrade—that sounds a little too communistic—comrade or companion. It’s a word that would be used of an impersonal relationship with an associate, usually someone who’s inferior like an employee or a pupil. It does not imply a personal friendship.
Sort of like your Facebook friends; you have no idea who most of those Facebook friends are. There’s no relationship there. They’re just somebody you said you would friend, so that they could see the wise things or pictures that you post on Facebook.
That’s what this is: it’s not an insult, it’s not positive. It’s just sort of a neutral word there, but it doesn’t imply any kind of close personal friendship.
It is interesting that in John 15, as they were going to the Garden of Gethsemane after Jesus had sent Judas away, Jesus said to the other eleven, “No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing, but I have called you friends”—PHILOS. There’s an important distinction the Scriptures make here between them and Judas. He is not a believer, he is not really a friend of Jesus; he is out for his own. He is a thief, as described in Scripture.
The first thing we want to look at today is what’s described in John 18, which gives us a different look at what is going on here. According to John 18:4–7, we see a different aspect of the encounter. It is not the same as what we have in the Synoptics.
There it emphasizes Judas coming out and giving the kiss of betrayal. But here—I think this happens afterward, after that intimate conversation between Jesus and Judas—then Judas goes back to the crowd as Jesus approaches them.
John 18:4, “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that would come upon Him …” Because He is the Son of God, He is undiminished deity and He’s omniscient, He knew everything that was going to transpire. He is fully aware of what’s happening so that when He submits to this unjust authority, He knows exactly what that will entail.
He knew all things that would come upon Him. He goes forward, He’s taking the initiative. He’s showing He is in control, He is not a victim. He’s in control, and He asked them, “Whom are you seeking?”
John 18:5, “They answered Him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ ” and then Jesus answers. In the English it translates, “I am He,” and that “He” is usually italicized, because it’s not in the original. It’s a phrase in the Greek that is the understood translation of the personal Name of God from the Hebrew. He says, “I AM.”
There are seven key phrases in the Gospel of John where Jesus uses this, and the implication is that He is saying something that identifies Himself as the Messiah and as the Son of God. So, He just answers with the Name of God, “I AM.”
Judas was there with them, and when He says this, “They drew back and fell to the ground.” They hear the Voice of God, not the voice of the humanity of Jesus. He speaks with such power and authority.
I would love to have had an MP3 recorder there, so that we could record that—I think MP3s are becoming an old protocol now, we have to find out what the new one is. But you know the idea—we’ve got a voice recorder—and to hear that! It reverberated from the hills; it echoed down the Kidron Valley.
The crowd of 1,000 were knocked down by His voice, so several minutes are going to go by. They have to pick themselves up from the ground, dust themselves off, wonder what in the world just happened.
Then as they are collecting themselves, Jesus asked them a second time, John 18:7, “Whom are you seeking? And they say, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ ” John 18:8, He says, “I told you that I am He.”
The reason I put “He” in here, it’s italicized again, He says EGO EIMI again, but He doesn’t say it with the divine voice of authority like He did the first time. This in His more normal voice He goes on to say, “Therefore, if you seek Me, let these go their way.”
He is releasing His disciples at that point because He can read their minds. He knows exactly what they’re thinking, and they’re thinking that they want to be anywhere else but here getting arrested by Roman soldiers and the Jewish authorities. We will be told that what happens is that they leave.
What we have here is this unjust authority that is arresting the Creator of the universe, the Second Person of the Trinity, and they’re going to take Him off and torture Him, and they are going to run Him through some illegal trials, and then they’re going to crucify Him.
This is what Paul is describing in Philippians 2:6, “who, although He existed in the form of God …” Although He had every right to assert His authority—and He gives them a glimpse of it, just to let them know, “If I wanted to, you’d all be dead,”—but He doesn’t think He should assert His rights, even though He has every authority to do so. He’s not going to hold onto it and He is going to submit Himself. He is going to be, can be obedient, by submitting Himself to the point of death.
Of course, we know that if any of the disciples are going to react, it’s going to be Peter. Peter is the one who many of us identify with first and foremost: he acts first and thinks later; and he is going to react. This is described in all four Gospels, as I stated earlier.
We read, described in Matthew 26:51–52, “Suddenly, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword, struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. But Jesus said to him …”—that is to Peter—“… ‘Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.’ ”
There are some interesting things here that we have to point out in order to properly understand and interpret this passage. Jesus’ comment is one that has brought about a lot of misuse and misinterpretation, especially by pacifists. They want to interpret that, that if you use weapons, if you’re in the military, if you use your weapons in self-defense, then you will die in such a manner and that ignores so much of the context and the teaching of Scripture.
The sword that is mentioned here in both verses, the Greek word MACHAIRA, refers to a sword like the one in front of the pulpit. This is a Roman gladius, translated into Greek as a MACHAIRA. It’s a double-edged, sharp sword.
The reason we have tape along the edge of this MACHAIRA is because you could shave with it. That is how it was given to us pastors at the 200th anniversary of Preston City Bible Church a couple of years ago. Peter’s MACHAIRA would have been that sharp. It just sliced off Malthus’ ear.
Why did they have the swords? Where did that come from? Luke 22:36 tells us about this; Jesus had authorized them to bring swords. “Then He said to them …”—this is as they’re leaving from the Upper Room after the Seder meal—“… ‘but now, he who has a money bag, let him take it.’ ”
See, when Jesus sent the disciples out to the house of Judah and the house of Israel earlier back in Matthew 10, He told them not to take money with them, not to take a knapsack, not to take a weapon, but to just go to the House of Israel and the House of Judah, and to let those to whom He was going provide the logistics for them.
But now He gives them a different order. It’s going to be a different dispensation; there are different rules at play. “… he who has a money bag, let him take it—support yourself as you go along the way—“… and likewise, a knapsack …”—take food with you—“… and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment, and by one.”
Protect yourself along the way. This is a foundation for the biblical teaching of self-defense, that we are authorized to defend ourselves from criminal action. They had concealed weapons, and they were to take them with them, and Jesus authorized that.
As He asked them that, two of them said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” Two of them are armed; Peter was one of them and there was also another one that was armed, but we do not know who it was. Jesus’ reply was—“It is enough.”
This is why they were armed, why Peter was armed. He was armed for two reasons. He was armed in order to provide for self-defense. Jesus did not want to be attacked in a way that would not allow Him to reach His goal of the Cross.
That was one reason that they had these weapons was for self-defense; and now that the arrest was taking place, He’s going to point out, it’s not the time to use them.
In Luke 22:49 we read that the disciples—it’s not mentioned in Matthew—but before Peter strikes out, a couple of the other disciples said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?”
He’s authorized them to bring swords. The soldiers and the priests and religious leaders come. They’re about to arrest Jesus, and so they want to know, “Lord, is this the time that we use the swords?”
Peter, before he gets an answer, pulls his sword and tries to cleave the head of the servant of the high priest. Now some people say, “Well, Peter wasn’t a trained soldier, so he missed.” Well, could be that Malchus had quick reactions and he dodged, and so Peter just got the edge of him and took off his ear.
We don’t know which it was, but the ear is lying on the ground. The blood is flowing. All of you know that anybody who has even the most minor of head wounds, just bleeds profusely, so it is an extremely dramatic situation.
I want to go back to talk about what Jesus meant when He said those who live by the sword will die by the sword. This is not a statement of pacifism. We have to understand the idiom that’s going on here. What Jesus is talking about is if you are seeking to solve your problems through the illegitimate use of weapons, then you will be taken care of by the legitimate power of the state.
This is how this phrase “the sword”—this idiom of using the sword—is seen in Romans 13:4 when Paul is talking about the authority of the state to take life. He says, “For he …”—that is, the ruler—“… is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil …”—that is, trying to solve your problem through violence illegally. “… if you do evil, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain ...”
Remember, in the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve had sinned and God pointed out to them the consequences of that sin in terms of pain and sorrow in childbirth and working and gaining food by the sweat of your brow, He then cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden.
And He set a guard around the Garden; a guard made up of numerous cherubs, and they bore a flaming sword. In other words, God would execute them through the sword if anyone attempted to get to the Tree of Life.
This idea of bearing the sword implies a legitimate use of power to take life. So that’s what Jesus is talking about here: if you live by the sword, if you’re trying to solve your problems illegitimately through the use of violence, then you risk the government taking your life.
What Jesus is talking about here in Matthew 26:52 as He’s addressing Peter is that no matter how wicked or unjust His arrest might be, Peter had no right to take vigilante action. A right thing done in the wrong way is wrong.
In this whole statement, He is emphasizing that it is legitimate to defend yourselves. He could have defended Himself, Matthew 26:53, by calling upon the angels. But there was a higher more significant purpose at play here, so it was not the time to engage in self-defense. He was going to go to an illegal trial, and He would lose His life, but that was the Father’s plan.
At the conclusion of this statement, He begins it, Matthew 26:52–54, “ ‘Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.’ ”
Matthew 26:53–54, “ ‘Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?’ ”
This is the third point we’re looking at: prophecy must be fulfilled. This is stated in these two passages. Matthew 26:54 it is stated overtly; in John 18:9, it’s alluded to, so I want to look at these two passages.
Matthew 26:54–55, “ ‘How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?’ In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, ‘Have you come out, as against a robber with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me.’ ” He’s indicating that they’re coming out in an illegitimate manner.
Matthew 26:56 reiterates the statement about the fulfillment of prophecies, “ ‘But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.’ Then all the disciples forsook Him and fled.” John talks about the fact that He addressed the Romans and said, “Let these go.”
In John 18:9 we read that this was done “that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, ‘Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.’ ”
Now, what’s interesting, and the reason I put up John 17:12—this is the chapter of His high priestly prayer—Jesus prayed to the Father and He said, “Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition …”—that’s Judas. The word for perdition is the same word that is used in John 3:16 for perishing, indicating that he was lost and not saved. “… that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”
Again and again, especially as we get into this section with the arrest, the trial, and the crucifixion and resurrection, we’re going to see numerous prophecies from the Old Testament fulfilled.
This is designed to give us great confidence that the Scriptures are the Word of God, that God was in control of this whole series of events, and that the Scripture is true and the Word of God.
Let’s look at five of these prophecies that are fulfilled.
1. He’s betrayed for 30 pieces of silver: Zechariah 11:12.
Several of these prophecies come out of Zechariah; that is, those who are fulfilled at this time.
Zechariah 11:12, “Then I said to them …”— this is the prophet speaking— “… ‘if it is agreeable to you, give me my wage; and if not, refrain.’ So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.” The context is a Messianic prophecy and it is fulfilled.
Matthew 26:14-15, “Then one of the twelve, Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, ‘What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?’ And they counted out to him 30 pieces of silver.”
That was the price, according to the law, of a slave. It’s treating Him as if His life has almost no value whatsoever.
The second prophecy that is fulfilled here is what happens to that 30 pieces of silver.
2. Money thrown into God’s House
Zechariah 11:13, “the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’—that princely price they set on me. So I took …”—there’s a little humor there—“… so I took the 30 pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord for the potter.”
What is this thing about the potter? Well, Jeremiah is given orders by God to go to a potter and get some pottery. Then he is going to take it out of the potsherd gate on the southern wall of Jerusalem and take it to the Valley Hinnom where he is going to crush it.
The Valley of Hinnom was where those in Judah practiced child sacrifice, where they offered their babies and their infants to the god Malik, where they burned them alive in the arms of Malik. This abomination was one of the primary reasons that God was bringing the Babylonians to Judah to destroy them.
We studied this in Matthew a couple of times on the significance of the word GEHENNA. This was the site of the worst sins committed by the Jews in the Southern Kingdom.
When Jeremiah takes this, he’s giving an object lesson: he’s crushing the pottery which represents Israel. God is saying, “I’m going to crush you, and you are going to be buried here in the Valley of Hinnom.” It came to be known as the Potter’s Field that would become a cemetery for the poor. That’s why it says, “for the potter;” it picked up that name because of Jeremiah.
It was fulfilled that after Jesus was crucified, Judas was overwhelmed with guilt. In Matthew 27:5, “Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself.” He took the bag of silver, threw it in the temple, and left. That’s a fulfillment of prophecy.
3. The money is thrown to the potter.
Zechariah 11:13 emphasizes that part, “Throw it to the potter,” so he “… threw it into the house of the Lord for the potter.”
When this money was discovered, because it was tainted money, because it had been used to bribe someone to give an illegal testimony, a false testimony against Jesus, it couldn’t be used for anything in the temple, so it had to be taken away from the temple. According to Jewish law, the only thing it could be used for is something that would benefit the poor.
Matthew 27:7, “And they consulted together and bought with them the potter’s field.” This is located in the Valley of Hinnom and would be a burial place for the poor or for Gentiles who were traveling through Israel, who had no family; this is where the state would bury them.
That is our third fulfillment of prophecy.
A couple of times—in Acts 1:11 and Acts 1:18–19—because the disciples are going to replace Judas, there’s a couple of things said about him. In Acts 1:18 it says, “Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity.”
When that money is thrown into the temple, the Sanhedrin can’t accept it because it’s tainted money, so it’s still considered Judas’ money. So, Judas is the one who bought the field in their thinking.
“Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out.”
He hung himself, and the way this is brought together—the branch broke, and then he lands; or after his body is decomposed or whatever, when it falls off the tree—this is what causes his bowels to burst open.
“And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem, so that the field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is Field of Blood.”
The image that I have there is an image of Judas hanging from a tree. It is a painting in the Monastery of Onesiphorus, which is located there in the Valley of Hinnom, and so this is by the field of Akel Dama.
4. Jesus would be betrayed by a friend.
This is specifically stated in John 13:18–19, quoting from Psalm 41:9, “Even my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.”
This is a Messianic prophecy that is stated in John 13:18 to be fulfilled, where Jesus, after identifying Judas says, “I do not speak concerning all of you. I know whom I have chosen, but that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘He who eats bread with Me has lifted up his heel against Me.’ ”
Acts 1:16. Peter, in his sermon on the Day of Pentecost says, “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.”
This Scripture clearly interprets Scripture as being a Messianic prophecy.
5. Jesus was deserted by His disciples.
Zechariah 13:7, “ ‘Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd…—that is a reference to the Messiah—… against the Man who is My Companion,’ says the Lord of hosts”—that would be God the Father. “ ‘Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; then I will turn My hand against the little ones.’ ”
Matthew 26:31, “Then Jesus said to them, ‘All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written, ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’ ”
It was not only the 11 that were scattered. Mark records a sort of an addendum to this episode that is kind of interesting, because Mark’s the only one who includes this detail, and he seems to be the only one who knows this detail. A lot of people think that this was probably Mark himself.
In Mark 14:50–52 we read that when all the disciples (the 11) fled, there was a young man who was following Jesus. This guy’s lurking in the shadows; he’s a disciple wannabe. But for some reason the only thing he has on his body is a linen cloth—just a linen robe.
We’re told that when he was identified, that the young men grabbed him, and he just slipped out of his robe and ran off naked. Even the wannabes are fleeing from Jesus. He is being left alone, and that is the emphasis in the text.
Matthew 26:57 goes on, “And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.”
John 18:12 puts it a little more precisely. “Then the detachment of troops …”—the cohort—“… and the captain and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus and they bound Him …”—which is not mentioned in Matthew 26:57. They tied Him up and led Him off to these trials.
Again, Jesus submits. “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”
Jesus had a higher purpose. He could have exercised His rights, but He did not. That’s true humility. And He fulfilled the Father’s plan to go to the Cross and paid the penalty for our sins and to suffer all of the humiliation that that brought.
“Father, we thank You for this opportunity to once again go through the details of our Lord’s arrest, understanding that many laws were broken that night, that this was illegal, and it was totally unjustified. But that He was arrested for a purpose, that You allowed this in Your plan in order to bring Him to the Cross, where He could die in our place as our substitute for our sins.
“Father, we pray that if there is anyone here this morning or anyone listening online that if they have never trusted Christ as Savior, this is their opportunity to do so. Jesus died for everyone. He died for the sins of the world. The certificate of the debt against us was wiped out. But we are still spiritually dead.
“The issue is not our sin or how bad we’ve been, the issue is how great our Lord is and what He has done to save us. He has paid the price in full. He said TETELESTAI, paid in full. All we have to do is accept that payment for our sins. When we trust in Him and Him alone, we have eternal life.
“Father, we pray too that we might be encouraged and strengthened, seeing how prophecy is fulfilled, that in just this little episode, there are five prophecies made from as far back as a thousand years that are fulfilled specifically and precisely at the arrest of Jesus.
“And this confirms for us the truth, the veracity of Your Word that we can trust it totally, because not only were five prophecies fulfilled, but well over 100 were fulfilled in the first coming of Jesus, and all of the rest will be fulfilled when He returns in the future.
“Father, I pray that You would challenge us with these things. In Christ’s Name, amen.”