After celebrating the deliverance of God’s people from their bondage in Egypt on Wednesday evening of Passion week at His last Passover with His disciples Jesus was pressed for the oil of His Holy Spirit in the Garden of Gethsemane. Instead of pursuing His own will to escape the cup of suffering that was before Him, He subjected Himself to the will of His Father, even unto death. For in this way God’s people would find deliverance from their even greater bondage to sin through that same Spirit of dying to self through which comes the washing of regeneration that renews one to eternal life, Tit 3:5; cf. Luk 9:23-24. As God’s plan of salvation quickly unfolded Jesus was arrested and taken to Annas, who was formerly the high priest and the father-in-law of Caiaphas the current high priest. Due to his age and influence and because Jesus’ teaching and cleansing of the temple was a threat to the existing order from which his family profited enormously, it is clear that he bears a heavy weight of responsibility for Jesus’ death which could not have happened without his approval. What does this remind us about the potential not only for great good, but also for great evil, that comes with positions of leadership, and hence the great responsibility of such positions? Although leaders like Moses, Paul, and especially the Lord Jesus, may attain the heights of glory by using their power to serve others, what does the ignominy that history has heaped upon Annas and the other Jewish leaders, as well as the likes of Hitler, Stalin, and other despots, teach us about the depths of disgrace to which leaders may fall for misusing the power entrusted to them? Cf. Jam 3:1. In the day of judgment when all the darkness and deception of sin is swept away for all to see with perfect clarity the truth of our deeds, whether good or evil, will their just recompense be glory for having done right by God, even against the prevailing current of the time, or ignominy for having sold God short with whatever power we might have had to do good but didn’t? Cf. Rom 2:6-8,16, 1Co 4:5, 1Ti 5:24-25, Jam 4:17.
Although the disciples scattered upon Jesus’ arrest, did they in fact all totally desert Him? See Mat 26:58. Although Matthew only mentions Peter as following, was he in fact the only one? See Joh 18:15. Who was this other disciple, who is mentioned throughout the gospel but never named, and known from the other gospels to be closely associated with Peter? See Joh 21:20-24; cf. Joh 13:23, 19:26-27, 20:2-8, 21:7, Mar 5:37, 9:2, 13:3, 14:33, Luk 5:10, 22:8, Act 3:1-6, 8:14. As entrance into the courtyard of the high priest was guarded where Jesus was taken, how is it that Peter was allowed to enter—a question that the unbelieving Jews may have used to cast doubt upon the gospel as it was going forth, since Peter was instrumental in its propagation? See Joh 18:15-16. Although it is not said how John was known to the high priest well enough that it gained him and Peter entrance to his estate, what do we know about John that makes it not unreasonable? Recall from our study on Mat 20:20 that his mother was likely the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus, and since Mary was not just related but close to Elizabeth, a descendant of Aaron and the wife of Zacharias, a priest, it is quite possible that Mary and her sister were of priestly descent and so would have had closer connections to the high priest than others; cf. Luk 1:5,36, Joh 19:26-27.
Recall from our previous lesson that before being delivered over to the Romans where He faced three trials before Pilate, Herod, and then Pilate again, Jesus was also subjected to three trials before the Jews, first before Annas, then an informal and formal trial before Caiaphas and the other Jewish leaders. As every matter is to be determined on the testimony of two or three witnesses (Deut 17:6, 2Co 13:1-2, 1Ti 15:19), what do these trials of the only perfect man who ever lived indicate about the willingness of both Jew and Gentile to set aside true justice for the sake of expedience? In what way then were all these trials an indictment against the whole world that will stand for all eternity as a testimony of its injustice and inability to deliver the righteous and innocent from the hand of the oppressor, especially since the Jews were keepers of the righteous and holy law of God, and the Romans had the most developed system of justice in all the ancient world? If deliverance from injustice cannot come from men, where then is the only place to which we must look for it? See Psa 37:28, Jer 9:24. In what way did the injustices Jesus experienced uniquely fit Him as the one whom God would use to establish justice on the earth? See Psa 2:1-6, Isa 42:1-4, 49:4.
Whereas John emphasized the trial before Annas (Joh 18:13,19-24,28) and Luke emphasized the formal trial of Jesus before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin (Luk 22:63-71), which trial did Matthew and Mark emphasize? See Mat 26:57,59-68, 27:1, Mar 14:53,55-65, 15:1. In relation to these different trials, when did Peter’s denials take place? See Luk 22:54-66. In what ways do the different emphases of the different trials by the different gospel writers also reflect their different portrayals of Peter’s denials? Notice that John, emphasizing the trial before Annas, describes Peter’s denials as happening during and afterwards (Joh 18:17-27), and Matthew and Mark, emphasizing the informal trial at night, describe Peter’s denials as happening around the same time, perhaps simultaneously (Mat 26:69-75 and the previous context). Luke, on the other hand, emphasizing the formal trial after daybreak, describes Peter’s denials before that trial (Luk 22:55-71). As all their accounts indicate, his denials were occasioned by various encounters and circumstances during the night; when does John seem to indicate that they actually began? See Joh 18:16-17. How did the way that the slave girl posed her question make it easy for him to say no, but harder to say yes? In what way does this reflect the very nature of temptation that makes it easy to give in to but difficult to resist? Cf. Joh 18:25-26. What does this remind us about the importance of our convictions to overcome such temptations?
The Atonement of Christ's Blood: Understanding How the Blood of Christ Saves and Reconciles us to God
- What is the relationship between Jesus’ sacrifice and our redemption, forgiveness and receiving an inheritance per the terms of the covenant / will that was effected by His death?
- From what, and to what, are we saved? Is it Jesus’ death alone that saves us? What part does His resurrection have in our salvation?
- Does the justice of God demand the satisfaction of blood before He will forgive, similar to what pagans throughout history have believed?
- What was the purpose of the Old Testament sacrifices?
- Does blood alone atone for sin?
- How does Christ’s death render powerless the devil?
- To whom was Christ’s life given as a ransom? From what are we ransomed?
- Why did Jesus not only die, but suffer and die? If all that was necessary was His shed blood, why didn’t God sovereignly ordain a more merciful death for His own dear Son?
- What is the relationship between a will or testament, and a covenant? What was willed to Jesus as an inheritance from His Father, and what was willed to us through the new testament in His blood?