It Can Get Worse
Intro.: I have only had to testify one time in my life at a trial. #. I was working for Clinical Bio-Tox Laboratories, the largest toxicology lab in the Chicago area.
- Most of the tests we did were to monitor the level of therapeutic drugs drawn from patients in hospitals throughout the Chicago metropolitan area.
- There were two other kinds of test – we would be responsible for monitoring the level of drugs in people, mostly kids, who had over dosed as they improved over a series of days.
- And we would get emergency drug screens from hospital emergency rooms.
- One night, I received a sample (probably blood serum) that had to be tested for an alcohol level. I did the test and reported the high test to the hospital.
- A week later I received a subpoena to attend a hearing for the man from whom it was drawn. Apparently, before going to the emergency room, he had been involved in an auto accident.
- The problem was that, though we were certified as a medical lab, we were not certified as a law enforcement lab. We had not been trained to treat the specimens we received as evidence for use in a trial; we were not trained to preserve the chain of evidence or to verify its authenticity.
- I never discovered the outcome of that hearing – I never had to testify at a trial. I do know that I was very uncomfortable having to attend that hearing that day.
- I suspect that Jesus was just as, if not more so, uncomfortable as he faced his arrest and trials that Thursday night and Friday morning.
Read: Matthew 25:47-68 Pray
- The Arrest
- Jesus was the first to spot the crowd. He alerted his disciples as He finished praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.
- But it really started with a kiss.
(Ill.) Though neither Sandra nor I read them, when I say it that way, “It started with a kiss”, it sounds like the start of a romance novel. And I suppose it could have been, if Judas had repented, and chose at some point to commit his life to the man he had followed for the last three years. But he did not, and instead, sold that kiss for thirty pieces of silver.
- The kiss itself was not unusual. It was typical greeting between friends, male and/or female. But Judas had made arrangements for the Jewish leaders and the temple guard to use that kiss of friendship as a kiss of betrayal.
(Appl.) We live in a world that would like everything to be black and white. It is either good or bad. It is either okay or not okay. But here we have a perfect example of how, what is normally a good thing, a sign of friendship, can be used for a very ugly purpose – leading to the death of the Lord of Lords, the King of Kings, the one and only God, death as a common criminal. We have thing in our world that have similar characteristics – let mention just one: food.
- Judas was not the only man there that night. There were eleven other disciples. As best we can determine, Peter is the only one who reacted. He pulled out a “machaira”.
(Ill.) a “machaira” is a small knife – a dagger. It is the word which forms the root of our English word :”machete”.1
- Peter pulls out a “machaira” and slices off the servants ear. John tells us that this is not just unnamed individual – the servants name is Malchus. The name means “king”. But the King of Kings tells them to put their swords back. He could call down twelve legions of angels, if need be. A Roman legion was composed of 6,000 soldiers – twelve legions would be 72000 angels. Luke tells that, at that point, Jesus reached out and touched the servants ear and healed him.
(Appl.) It becomes easy for believers to follow Peter's example. Oh, we might not use a dagger, but we are sometimes too quick to pull out our scriptures and use it to put other people down. In all the time that Jesus lived, he never sinned – yet there is not one example of his putting down another person. The sword of the Spirit is to a tool of love, not a tool to take people, Christians or otherwise, down.2
- What really amazes me about this passage is that, though Peter fights, Jesus never does. He makes sure that the crowd knows who he is, he turns himself in.
- He is taken away and the disciples disappear into the crowd – except for Peter who follows at a distance.
- The First Trial
- Jesus is taken before a kangaroo court. The Sanhedrin is called together.
(Ill.) The Sanhedrin consists of 70 men plus the high priest. They don't all need to be present – a quorum consists of only 23 of the 71 members. There were a number of rules that governed the role of the Sanhedrin in trials. No trials were to be held at night, no trials were to be held on the sabbath, no one could be convicted on the same day of the trial (though they could be acquitted). In the Jewish court system, the reasons for acquittal are given before the reasons for conviction. But in this trial, this step is skipped entirely. Yet Jesus' trial violated everyone of these rules. It was truly a kangaroo court.3
- Peter is there too. We'll see more of him next week, but for now, note that he is sitting back where he can watch the proceedings; but, rather than getting involved, he sits only in the background.
- It is a strange trial – the prosecutors look for witnesses, but they can't find any. They can't find anybody willing to lie – anybody willing to speak against the man they do not understand. Finally, two men speak up and explain that Jesus said that he could tear down the temple and in three days he would build it up again. They are quoting an event told in John 2 – where Jesus is talking about his own body. It will be destroyed, it will be crucified, and three days later he will experience the resurrection.
- But Jesus is quiet at first. Until the high priest pushes the issue, “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”
- But it is not the accusations that will convict Jesus. It is his own words, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
- And it goes downhill from there
- He is mocked
- They hit Him
- The spit on Him
- They slap Him on the face.
- They find Him guilty, their verdict says that He deserves death.
- But there is a problem. The Sanhedrin apparently does not have the authority to conduct capital trials. In all the historical records, Jesus' trial is the only one ever recorded. They may want to give Jesus a death sentence, but they cannot. Another trial is still being scheduled before Pilot.
- But first we need to explore Peter's presence that night and morning.
Conclusion: It had been a crazy night.
- Starting with the dinner in the upper room, prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, and now with the arrest and trial, the first trial, of Jesus.
- But the day is not over. Peter has to face the truth – does dessert Jesus. There will be two more trials. And there will be a crucifixion before the day is over.
- But today, we can celebrate that Jesus is alive. He did dies for our sins. But today, today He lives at the right hand of God. And we, as members of His church, are His body.
1Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996, c1989). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament : Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (1:57). New York: United Bible societies.
2Courson,J. (2003). Jon Courson's Application Commentary (195). Nashville,TN: Thomas Nelson.
3Wood,D. R. W., & Marshall, I. H. (1996). New Bible dictionary (3rd ed.) (1060). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsityPress.