• Post comments:0 Comments

After being arrested in Gethsemane Jesus faced three inquisitions or trials before the Jews within just a few hours, and is now about to face three more before the Gentiles in an even shorter period of time.  At the most recent He was condemned to death by a formal gathering of the Sanhedrin to make official what had already been decided upon earlier by Annas and Caiaphas.  From their inquisitions during the night they had worked out the charges they would use to prosecute Jesus to the Roman governor who alone had the authority of capital punishment.

As Jesus was being led away to Pilate, Matthew also recorded what happened to Judas, who had betrayed Him.  Not at all expecting that He would actually subject Himself to death, when he saw that Jesus was condemned, he tried to undo his deed by returning the silver and confessing his own sin and Jesus’ innocence.  But when he saw that the religious leaders had no interest in saving an innocent man, but rather had used him as their patsy to put Jesus to death and that he would be responsible for the blood of Christ, he despaired and hung himself in a potter’s field, which we surmise he was in the process of acquiring outside of the Potsherd gate in Jerusalem next to the valley of Hinnom.  In a quandary about what to do with the blood money Judas had cast into the temple that couldn’t lawfully be received into the treasury, and that they wouldn’t receive back lest they accept responsibility for Jesus’ death rather than pinning it on Judas, they were forced by the circumstances to complete the sale of the field in Judas’ name.  In this way Hakeldama, the Field of Blood, which became a burial place for strangers, became a prophetic sign.  For just as in Jeremiah’s prophecies about the potter and the broken pottery jar, so was the Lord reshaping the marred vessel of the Jewish nation into the Israel of God by fashioning calamity against the unbelieving Jews while relenting against the Gentile nations who would turn to Him with the faith of Abraham (Jer 18-19).  And just as Jeremiah was commanded to purchase a field as Jerusalem was about to fall to the Babylonians as a sign that God’s purpose and plans for His people were very much on track in spite of the dire circumstances (Jer 32), so was the purchase of the Field of Blood so near to the Valley of Hinnom, i.e., Gehenna, a similar sign that, in spite of the death of the Messiah and rejection of the gospel by so many of the Jews, His plans were very much still being fulfilled in reconciling to Himself even those who were without hope and strangers to the covenants of promise; see Eph 2:12-13.  What warning does God’s dealings with the Jews give “Christian” nations today, such as those of Europe or the United States?  See Rom 11:17-22.

With what words does Matthew resume his narrative of Christ’s passion?  See Mat 27:11.  What do his words again emphasize about the main charge that was of importance to the Romans?  What introduction and additional charges by the Jews does Luke include?  See Luk 23:1-3.  What additional information does John provide?  See Joh 18:28-33.  What does Joh 18:28 and Luk 22:15 clearly indicate about the Passover being observed on two separate evenings?  Are these contradictory statements, and if not, how are they reconciled?  Recall that the apparent discrepancy is not a contradiction, but reflects a controversy that still occurs on occasion today with the start of Ramadan by Muslims:  Because the start of the month is determined by the sighting of the new moon, which can be ambiguous depending on the year, month, location and other factors, it is possible for different people or groups of people to come to different conclusions about that first day of the month, which then determines different days for celebrations like the Passover which occurs on the 14th day of the first month of the Hebrew calendar.

Because Jesus’ Jewish accusers would not enter into the Praetorium lest they be defiled and unable to eat their Passover, what does John record about Pilate?  See Joh 18:29.  What does this indicate about where the accusations made against Jesus were actually heard?  Cf. Mat 27:12-14.  What do all three synoptic gospels record was Jesus’ response to the main charge about which Pilate questioned him?  See Mat 27:11, Mar 15:2, Luk 23:3, and notice that His reply su. le,geij means literally you say (that I am), with emphasis on you, reflecting the same answer He had earlier given to Jewish leaders (see Mat 26:64) that put the words back in their own mouths.  What does this again remind us about the other trial of His accusers in a heavenly court that was taking place at the same time they were trying Him?  What indication does Luke give that from the very beginning Pilate understood that Jesus was not guilty of the crimes He was accused of and was looking for a way to release Him?  See Luk 23:4 in the context of the preceding verses and cf. Mat 27:15-18,19,22-23,24, Luk 23:14-15,20,22, Joh 18:38, 19:4,6,7-8,12.  What fear might he have had, not only from the Lord’s presence, but from his wife’s dream and the Jewish leaders’ assertion that He made Himself out to be the Son of God?  Although he could hardly have understood the fulness of who Jesus was, what does Pilate’s desire to release Him illustrate about the greater righteousness of his understanding even under the inferior Roman law than that demonstrated by the Jews who were entrusted with the very law of God?  Cf. Rom 2:13-29.

Leave a Reply