We are in the Christ Stream and reading from the Modern English Version this week.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Jesus, do not let us forget how much we matter to you. Your willingness to suffer; your “passion” is proof of your determination to redeem us. Increase our faith and love so that you – our Savior are our greatest joy and passion in return. Amen.
This chapter contains the events leading up to the crucifixion. Jesus is in his final days before he is laid in a tomb and the world, at all levels, is about to change forever.
plot to kill Jesus – The elders, chief priests, scribes were from this point beyond determined to have Jesus killed. [Matt. 26 gives slightly more detail if you are curious to compare] About a month prior they were musing the topic rather seriously. Killing Jesus had first crossed their minds almost a year before. Now, with a few days before Passover, it was a manic decision. They would lose their pompous positions and their world would crumble permanently (as they saw it) if the didn’t rid Jesus quickly; THIS WEEK.
anointing in Bethany – a sinful woman (Lk. 7:37 makes this most obvious) breaks open a bottle of costly perfume and pours the entire contents over Jesus. It was what we would call a $55,000.- offering in current rates. Would you have done this? Would you have grumbled like the Pharisees? No one knew He was going to rise from the dead – they had heard but did anyone know ?. They didn’t know he was the one who would be eternally referred to as the second person of the Trinity. They didn’t know that this man getting doted on in virtual worship was the Creator at work (Colossians 1:16 – check it!) and right there in the flesh in front of them. How would you react to $55k being poured out. The Pharisees mocked that it could have been given to the poor v.s. expended on a religious person. Gee, have you ever heard a phoney leader pontificate about caring for the poor when they are loaded personally and, in truth, don’t care about the poor at all?! It happens all the time!
betrayal by Judas – This happens and it’s painfully comical that Judas thinks he is pulling this stunt off, that he is going to be “set financially”, that Jesus is not going to find out, and Judas is doing the intelligent thing. The prior story is a woman who loves Jesus with no regard for cost. Here is a poser who has spent three years with Jesus, he thinks very little of it here on the brink, and for Judas, it is all about the cost. What can he get. btw, Judas is still bitterly regretting his decision today.
preparation for Passover – This prescription by Jesus is rather telling (if Judas thinks he can keep something a secret from Jesus). Here is Jesus sending them ahead for the Passover and Jesus predicts every step of the journey to the upper room. It’s amazing. If any of us want to know how to prepare for the future, why consult anyone else but Jesus? Just a thought!
a betrayer called out – Jesus calls it spot on that someone at the table was a ‘rat’; pardon the NYCity term. Crazy to think that Judas doesn’t fess up and beg for mercy. There’s no smart way to analyze this. There’s no smart way to turn against Jesus either, people. Jesus final line here makes the blood run cold: “It would be better for that man if he had not been born.”
The Lord’s Supper – Lk 22:15ff is a bit more descriptive, It has the “do this in remembrance of me” part that we recite each communion…. once a month for most of us – so we remember
what Jesus did for us. Matt and Mark have a very similar rendition of this part. All that to say, the new covenant was upon them. Jesus body and blood was the matter of the new covenant. The old covenant was not sufficient. It was sustaining, but no one was saved from it. This was needed to verify that Salvation is bought and brought to us through Jesus. And we are to remember this!
Peter’s denial foretold – This was a tough one that is a key pillar is Peter’s pilgrimage. He personally thought he was the most committed disciple. Jesus wanted him to know that God’s grace is what we hinge out souls and our destiny upon – not personal resolve or grit. Peter might have known better to just hear and listen and take it in v.s. try to rebutt Jesus. I mean, Jesus knows all. He knows us far beyond what we do. He saw through Judas, he called it for the disciples so they could prepare the Passover. Jesus knows. But Peter tries to correct Jesus. (can you hear the “wrong answer” buzzer? I can. Oh well, this only ground it in deeper that Peter needs to trust Jesus, not himself. He’ll know by midnight.
Prayer in Gethsemane – In case anyone hasn’t heard, “Gethse – mah-nee” is Hebrew for ‘olive press’. Jesus went to pray here and this same olive garden can be visited today. It is among the most prominent and painful prayers we ever read. Jesus is so sorrowful. And the disciples penchant and sleepiness could probably be attributed to denial that led to depression that couldn’t be acknowledged – thus the oppressive sleepiness. They feel asleep three times on Jesus! Then “some guests” arrive . . . !
Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus – Judas arrives leading the soldiers and chief priests and alerted these thugs who Jesus was … his code was to kiss Jesus. Hmmm. He did. They had found this threat, this “false leader” and they arrested Jesus.
Pause and think: who is committed to you? The one who kisses you? The one who denies and curses and swears he doesn’t know you? It appeared that Peter wasn’t committed and that Judas was… not all who scream are untrue to you. Not all who kiss you, care about you. Point to ponder here!
The Young Man who Fled – this is an illustration how quickly everyone wanted to get away from Jesus. Not only were false Messiahs killed – their followers were killed also. This was the typical tactic to crush a rebellion. He is as determined to get out of there as Joseph was to get away from Potiphar’s wife when he jumped out of his own coat in Genesis 39:12. This man
does the same and more. Peter takes a swing at the high priest’s slave and cuts his ear off. Again, he is committed to defend Jesus and is willing to prove it and does. Jn. 18:10 tells that it’s Peter who did this. The others don’t specify.
Jesus before the Sanhedrin – Peter is following but keeping his distance as the phoney and illegal trial progesses. The proceedings are illicit. The testimonies are rigged. The story line doesn’t add up or line up. The testimonies don’t agree. Come come gentlemen, you are trying to conVICT an innocent man who is not a CONvict. Good luck jokers. All the same the false trial begins and they are soon brutally abusing Jesus.
Peter denies knowing Jesus – The High Priest’s maid pegged Peter. She recognized him, deciphered his accent as a Galilean, she rallied others to call it what it was. Peter panicked and swore and denied the obvious three times just before the rooster crowed. This is the reality. But the truth is far more important. Jesus called it exactly as it was going to happen. The finale~ here is Jesus can be trusted and believed and invested in and poured out upon and followed and adhered to and ingested. Is He worth it? yes. Are we? No, but He is. Haleluia