Relentlessly Jesus Goes Through Defeat to Victory
The Story of The Crucifixion of Jesus
(The Subplot – Peter’s Denial)
Relentlessly the events of the Jesus’ life moves toward His death on the cross. He has finishing presenting himself to
Israel and the nation has rejected Him. In addition, the disciples have been instructed concerning the rejection of Israel
and the way, the spiritual way, to enter Kingdom. All that remains is for Jesus to do the work as the Messiah to provide
the means, provide the way, for those who make the choice to have faith in Him to enter His kingdom. The work Jesus
had to do, the death and resurrection, is recounted by Matthew. The next few weeks we will look at the THE BIG
EVENT IN BIG STORY OG GOD – Jesus goes through what looks like defeat- to victory.
The Scenes – Matthew reported Jesus' crucifixion in five scenes: the Preparations, The Arrest, The Trials, The Crucifixion,
and The Burial.
Scene 1 – The Preparations:
SLIDE Scene 1 – Act 1 Prediction and Plot (Matthew 26:1-5)
Setting – Wednesday before Passover. Jerusalem's population swelled with pilgrims during Passover season. Since Jesus
had a large following, especially among the Galileans. So there many Jesus followers there.
1 When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 “As you know, Passover begins in two
days, and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
This is Jesus’ 4th Prediction – Flashback to prior predictions he had given His disciples:
Matt 16:21 From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and
that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law.
He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead.
Matt 17:22-23 After they gathered again in Galilee, Jesus told them, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the
hands of his enemies. 23He will be killed, but on the third day he will be raised from the dead.” And the disciples were
filled with grief.
Matt 20:18-19 “Listen,” he said, “we’re going up to Jerusalem, where the Son of Man will be betrayed to the leading
priests and the teachers of religious law. They will sentence him to die. Then they will hand him over to the Romans to be
mocked, flogged with a whip, and crucified. But on the third day he will be raised from the dead.”
3 At that same time the leading priests and elders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, 4 plotting
how to capture Jesus secretly and kill him. 5 “But not during the Passover celebration,” they agreed, “or the people
Dirty Politics – The players: The chief priests and the elders represented the clerical (preachers/teachers) and regular
members of the Sanhedrin.
At that time in history, Rome appointed Israel's high priest, but typically someone bought the office from the Romans.
Annas had been the high priest until A.D. 15, when the Romans deposed him and set up his son Eleazar in his place.
Eleazar served for about two years (A.D. 16-17), until the Romans replaced him with Joseph Caiaphas, in A.D. 18.
Caiaphas held the office until his death in A.D. 36.His unusually long tenure reflects his political skill and his
acceptability to the Roman overlords. But, Annas was Caiaphas' father-in-law, and he continued to exercise much power,
even after the Romans forced him out of office. This oozes with dirty politicians, money, and power – and worst of all
corrupt religious leaders.
This house has 21 bedroom and 17 bathtubs. It is close to the temple.
This might be the house where the plotting began, and eventually the trial.
The Irony of the Plot – The Jewish leaders plotted to execute an innocent man in the very place where justice should have
And, the official spiritual leader of Israel, the high priest, took a leading role in this travesty of justice.
Matthew's original Jewish readers could not help but marvel at this injustice.
The leaders resorted to deceit, because they could not trap Jesus with questions and turn the crowds against Him or take
Him by force.
Cunning Politicians – The leaders realized that they had to plan to do away with Him secretly, and carefully, lest popular
sentiment turn against them. They did not know how to solve their problem—UNTIL Judas volunteered to hand Jesus
over to them privately.
QUESTION: Have you ever had people scheme against you and then you felt like you walked into a trap?
Explain without names and too many details.
That’s what happened to Jesus.
SLIDE Scene 1 – Act 2 Jesus Anointed at Bethany (Matthew 26:6-13)
Setting – Bethany, a small town not far from Jerusalem. Flashback – this happened the previous Saturday.
Matthew 26:6-7 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. 7
While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head.
Jesus spent the evening of that Saturday in the home of Simon, who was a healed leper, with His disciples and other
guests. John recorded that Lazarus was there, his sister Martha helped with the serving, and their sister Mary possibly was
the woman who broke the vial and anointed Jesus' head and feet. The pound of perfume cost 300 denarii, about one year's
wages for a working man. The perfume was nard which probably came from India.
Matthew 26:8-12 The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. “It could have been sold
for a high price and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for
doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. 12 She has
poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial.
Criticism due to Misunderstanding – Judas Iscariot led the disciples' criticism of Mary's act (John 12:4). (According to the
Gospel records, every time this Mary tried to do something for Jesus she was misunderstood.) The disciples failed to
appreciate the significance of what Mary was doing.
Regardless of Judas' true motive, the other disciples felt that Mary's gift was inappropriate since so many poor people
could have been helped with the money.
**They did not realize that the sacrifice that Jesus was about to make would solve the basic need of every poor
person throughout all of history.** They didn’t understand. Mary must have. Regardless, she made her great sacrifice
because she loved Jesus.
This beautiful thing that Mary did, which Jesus called a good deed, was named "this waste" by the disciples.
Bad Timing – The disciples would always have plenty of poor people around them, whom they could help with good
deeds, but they would not have the Jesus with them much longer. (Normally friends of the deceased would prepare the
corpse for burial after death, but that was not permitted in the case of criminals. Mary may or may not have understood
the full significance of what she was doing by doing this before Jesus death, but Jesus but Jesus did!)
Matthew 26:13 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will
be remembered and discussed.”
And Jesus, with his characteristic “I tell you the truth” nailed it, didn’t He?
Unfortunate observation: I’ve heard the verse about the poor used to not help the poor – at church.
QUESTION: How do you think you would have reacted to what Mary did? Why
SLIDE Scene 1 Act 3 Judas Betrays Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16)
Matthew 26:14-16 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, “How much
will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on, Judas began
looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
Setting – Somewhere secret with corrupt politicians/religious leaders.
The Deal is Made – Evidently Judas Iscariot made his plans the same day that Jesus predicted His crucifixion in two days,
namely, on Wednesday No one recorded Judas' motives for betraying Jesus. Maybe Judas took offense at Jesus' rebuke on
the previous Saturday regarding Mary and the Nard. Maybe the fact that Jesus permitted Mary's extravagant act without
rebuke convinced him that Jesus was not the Messiah.
A Bargain – The 30 pieces of silver that the chief priests agreed to pay Judas was a small sum. It shows that the chief
priests and Judas didn’t regard Jesus very highly. (Contrast this with the high price that Mary valued Jesus.) This amount
fulfilled, and it constituted a month's wages—if the silver pieces were denarii, which seems likely. This was the price that
an Israelite had to pay his neighbor if his ox accidentally gored his neighbor's slave to death (Exod. 21:32).
There was no doubt contempt for Jesus in the minds of both the Sanhedrin and Judas in this “bargain.”
The Irony – Jesus delivers himself to death in order that others might gain life; by contrast, Judas delivers Jesus to death so
that he might gain advantage for himself …
QUESTION for thought – take a minute – have you ever been betrayed? Go there and feel it for a minute. … It hurts
SLIDE Scene 1 Act 4 Jesus' Last Passover (Matthew 26:17-25)
Matthew 26:17-19 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where
do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you?” “As you go into the city,” he told them, “you will see a certain
man. Tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My time has come, and I will eat the Passover meal with my disciples at your
house.’” So, the disciples did as Jesus told them and prepared the Passover meal there.
Setting – The first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread would have been Thursday, in the city at a certain place.
The Activity – Locating the house and preparing the meal.
The Statement – “My time has come.”
The Jewish Passover – Toward midafternoon of Thursday, the lambs (one per 'household') would be brought to the temple
court where the priests sacrificed them. The priests took the blood and passed it in basins along a line till it was poured out
at the foot of the altar. They also burned the lambs' fat on the altar of burnt offerings. The singing of the Hallel (Ps.
113—18) accompanied these steps.
After sunset (i.e., now 15 Friday by the Jewish calendar), the 'household' would gather in a home to eat the Passover lamb,
which by this time would have been roasted with bitter herbs. The head of the household began the meal with the
thanksgiving for that feast day (the Passover Kiddush) and for the wine, praying over the first of four cups. A preliminary
course of greens and bitter herbs was, followed by the Passover “Haggadah” (means telling) reading from a prayer book
—in which a boy would ask the meaning of all this, and the head of the household would explain the symbols in terms of
the Exodus —and the singing of the first part of the Hallel (Ps 113 or Ps 113—14). A second cup of wine introduced the
main course, which was followed by a third cup known as the 'cup of blessing,' accompanied by another prayer of
thanksgiving. The participants then sang the rest of the Hallel (Ps 114—18 or 115—18) and probably drank a fourth cup
Matthew 26:20-25 When it was evening, Jesus sat down at the table with the Twelve. While they were eating, he said,
“I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me.” Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, “Am I the one, Lord?” He
replied, “One of you who has just eaten from this bowl with me will betray me. For the Son of Man must die, as the
Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that
man if he had never been born!” Judas, the one who would betray him, also asked, “Rabbi, am I the one?” And Jesus
told him, “You have said it.”
Betrayal Predicted – Sometime during the meal, Jesus announced that one of the Twelve would betray Him to His
enemies. As the significance of this new prediction sank in, each of the disciples present asked Jesus if it was himself.
The form of the question in the Greek text expected a negative reply: "Surely it is not I, Lord?"
Jesus' answer did not identify the betrayer specifically. His response meant that the betrayer was someone who had
already dipped his hand into the same bowl as Jesus had, namely, one of the Twelve—someone close to Jesus.
This reply stressed the heinousness of the betrayal and the graciousness of Jesus.
Even Today – This language means that one of those who had eaten bread with him [Jesus] had violated the rights of
hospitality by betraying him. The Arabs today are adamant on this point. Eating one's bread ties your hands and compels
Lone Survivor (Navy Seal) – Marcus Luttrell – the lone survivor – the locals who rescued him made a decision – if we
take him in, we are bound to defend him – and they did it – and they helped him get back to American forces. That’s how
serious this was in that culture.
Judas – If Judas had been a believer in Jesus, Jesus would scarcely have said that "it would have been good … if he had
not been born," or that he was "a devil" (John 6:70). Judas' hypocritical question, "Surely it is not I, Rabbi?" stresses
again the awfulness of Judas' action in betraying Jesus. Probably Judas felt pressure to repeat the question that the other
disciples had asked, or else he would have given himself away by his silence.
Jesus Answer to Judas – "You have said it yourself" gives the sense of Jesus' response. In the Greek, Jesus' reply to Judas
was sufficiently vague to lead the other disciples to conclude that Judas was not guilty, and perhaps Judas himself
wondered if Jesus had found him out. Judas then left the room (John 13:30).
The story is getting dark, isn’t it?
Yes and it’s going to get darker – and Jesus does it all for us.
There’s more – to be continued next week.