Relentlessly Jesus Goes Through Defeat to Victory
The Story of The Crucifixion of Jesus
(The Subplot – Peter’s Denial)
Matthew 26-27 (26:47-56)
Introduction: Prepare yourself for some really ugly things
SLIDE Scene 3 Act 1 – Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested
47 And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and
clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. 48 The traitor, Judas, had given them a
prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” 49 So Judas came straight to Jesus.
“Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss. 50 Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come
for.” Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 51 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck
the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear. 52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die
by the sword. 53 Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of angels to protect us, and he would send
them instantly? 54 But if I did, how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that describe what must happen now?” 55 Then
Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? Why
didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there teaching every day. 56 But this is all happening to fulfill the words of the
prophets as recorded in the Scriptures.” At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.
Setting – It was late at night. What good things usually happen late at night? Nothing
1) V47 Who might the “crowd of men” that came to arrest Jesus be?
I grew up seeing plays at church portraying all the men as Roman soldiers. This is not all of these men. They were most
likely sent from the Sanhedrin and the High Priest, a very political group that had an inner circle within the Sanhedrin that
wielded the power. Dirty politicians bordering on mobsters. And this group of men, some translations say mob, was most
likely the Temple Guard. They were somewhat like hitmen. They did the dirty work for the High Priest and his cronies.
And, most likely a crowd of people followed to see what was going on.
2) V48-49 Why do you think Judas chose a kiss to identify Jesus?
In New Testament times, the holy kiss was a sign of greeting, much like the modern handshake. For Christians, it further
expressed brotherly love and unity. In this case it wasn’t a greeting, it was a signal to target Jesus. In modern
terminology Judas doxed Jesus. (You get put in “timeout” on twitter for doxing someone. Ironically, as I was studying
this, Elon Musk suspending several people for posting in real where he and his family was located. And more ironically,
he referenced assassins.)
V50 Jesus let the mob arrest him.
3) V51-52 We are told in the book of John that it was Peter that slashed off the year of one of the men in the mob.
Peter had good intentions but was missing something. From what Jesus said to Peter, what did Peter not
He reacted in the moment without considering the big picture. He lacked discernment. He acted out of anger, fear, and
emotion. He lacked understanding, even though he’d been told what was going to happen. Peter’s courage was admirable
This is a good time to take a side trip and talk about reacting in anger. Making rash decisions.
SLIDE TABLE TALK: What have you learned in Anger Management or elsewhere that would have been helpful for
Peter to have known (and used the knowledge) in this situation?
Slow down. Pray. If possible, give it 24 hours. Type the email but don’t send it. Seek wise counsel. Realize you are
angry and it’s not a good time for a response. Fearful – not a good time. Emotional – not a good time. Tired – not a good
time. Think about the big picture, the long view. Ask yourself if this fits your standards, your ethics. Your values.
SLIDE TABLE TALK: Why do we at times not apply our knowledge to a situation?
We are mad, fearful, tired, hungry. We don’t slow down.
Back to the main story
4) V53-56 What is Jesus response to His arrest?
I could stop this. Actual number of angels – 7 legions = 72,000. This has to happen. Then Jesus says, “Really? You
could arrest me right there in the temple in the daylight.” He’s saying I know I haven’t done anything and the people that
sent you know I haven’t done anything.
So far, the crowd had been “well-disposed” toward Jesus. He taught like no one else. He wasn’t arrogant like most of the
religious teachers. But – SLIDE Crowds well-disposed but without faith.
QUESTION: What is the difference? Fan or follower. Admire or trust completely. Jesus was a good person or Jesus was
the Son of God. It your choice. It’s the most important choice of your life.
SLIDE When Your Whole World Turns Against You
Have you been there? Maybe in grade school you found yourself as an outcast and you’ve never forgotten it. A
basketball game, you only need to make one, and you miss the free throws at the end to win. Your teammates just walk
off the court disgusted at you. You stand there alone afraid to look at the fans, who are silent (Larry Bird in high school.)
A traumatic event and there’s no one there to care for you, to hold you, to say, “We’re gonna get through this.”
SLIDE Verse 56: At that point, all the disciples deserted him and fled.
When Your Whole World Turns Against You – Betrayal (let’s spend the remainder of our time with this word)
SLIDE Mark 14:42 Get up, we must go. Here comes the man who has turned against me.
Go back to picture slide
The words were spoken to Judas. But they could have been spoken to anyone. They could have been spoken to everyone
that had been praising him before but abandoned him on this night. As Jesus left the garden he was alone with his captors.
Betray is weapon found only in the hands of one you love. Your enemy doesn’t have this weapon.
Only a friend can betray you. It’s an inside job. Only if had been a stranger, a random attack, just circumstances that hurt
you. But it was a friend.
You look to friends. They don’t look back at you. You look to the system for justice – you don’t get it.
Max Lucado: Betrayal
It’s more than rejection. Rejection opens a wound, betrayal pours the salt.
It’s more than loneliness. Loneliness leaves you in the cold, betrayal closes the door.
It’s more than mockery. Mockery plunges the knife, betrayal twists it.
It’s more than an insult. An insult attacks your pride, betrayal breaks your heart.
Betrayal . . . when the world turns against you.
Betrayal . . . where there is opportunity for love, there is opportunity for hurt.
So . . . when betrayal comes, what do you do? Get out? Get angry? Get even? You have to deal with it some way.
What did Jesus do? Jesus called Judas friend. I wouldn’t have. Would you?
Let’s reframe Judas. We never see Jesus mistreating Judas. There’s no indication he was “left out” of the group.
Think about this: The betrayal was Judas’ idea. The religious leaders didn’t seek him out. Judas sought them. “What will
you pay me for giving Jesus to you?”
Jesus didn’t justify what Judas did. He didn’t minimize what Judas did. He didn’t somehow release Judas from the
choice he made. But Jesus knew something. He knew Judas had been seduced by a powerful foe. Jesus was well aware
of the seduction and craftiness of Satan.
So, what did Jesus do, he looked Judas in the eye and told him to do what he had to do. And then, he watched his
disciples flee from the scene. But no hatred, no anger from Jesus.
The question is, what do we do with this? What do we do with betrayal?
As long as you hate your enemy, a jail door is closed and a prisoner is taken. That prisoner is you!
Is forgiveness too gracious, too nice for the Judases and the abandoning disciples/friends in your life? Will harboring the
anger solve the problem? Will getting even remove the hurt? Their actions should not be minimized, but justice won’t
come on this side of eternity.
Why? Life is not fair. It’s not. Who told you life was fair? God didn’t say “if you have many troubles . .”, he said “when
you have many troubles…”
So, don’t look for fairness – look where Jesus looked.
SLIDE Mark 14:62 And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of power at God’s right hand and coming on the
clouds of heaven.
While going through hell, Jesus kept his eyes on heaven.
While surrounded by enemies, he kept his mind on the Father.
While abandoned on earth, he kept his heart on home.
Jesus looked toward home and he said what we read earlier: Don’t you realize that I could ask my Father for thousands of
angels to protect us, and he would send them instantly?
The Father’s loyalty to Jesus is the Father’s loyalty to you. When you see the crowd with the torches coming toward you
and you feel the betrayer’s kiss, remember Jesus’ words:
SLIDE I will never leave you; I will never forsake you.
(If you struggle with forgiveness come see me after we pray.)