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Presentation 86. Introduction Long before his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus had been preparing his disciples for the end, and equally important,

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Presentation on theme: "Presentation 86. Introduction Long before his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus had been preparing his disciples for the end, and equally important,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Presentation 86


3 Introduction Long before his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus had been preparing his disciples for the end, and equally important, his enemies among the rulers of the people had been plotting to destroy him. In chap 18, these events are clearly underway, as the forces of antagonism gather a momentum that would result in Christ's arrest, trial, condemnation, and crucifixion. And as John begins his record of these last hours the spotlight falls upon Judas. What precisely was his role in all this? To put the matter succinctly, why was Judas and his betrayal necessary for the chief priests at all? Presentation 86

4 Introduction Two answers are usually given, either that Judas was necessary in order to lead the arresting party to Christ's hiding place during these last days or else that he was necessary in order to ensure a secret arrest because of the leaders feared the people. But Frank Morison writes, “To regard Judas merely as a common informer, ready (for a fee) to lead the authorities to the secret hiding place of his erstwhile Friend and Leader, is absurd, for Jesus was not in hiding”. Presentation 86

5 Introduction Earlier in his ministry Jesus had removed himself from the dangerous vicinity of Jerusalem, knowing that his ‘hour had not yet come’. But from the time that he had raised Lazarus from the dead just one week earlier, all that Jesus had done he had done openly. He was not a part of an underground church moving around carefully under cover of darkness. On Palm Sunday Jesus entered Jerusalem to the cries of; “Hosanna! Blessed is the King of Israel, that comes in the name of the Lord” John 12v13. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday he had travelled back and forth openly with his disciples. Presentation 86

6 Introduction Under these circumstances did the religious leaders need Judas? Obviously, if they had felt free to arrest Jesus, they could have done so in Jerusalem at nearly any unguarded moment. That they did not do this but rather relied on Judas to bring them information necessary to achieve the arrest suggests a further important factor – a fear of Jesus himself. What if Jesus was to make his bid for Messianic kingship during the feast of the Passover? The events of Palm Sunday would, in their minds, have supported such a fear! Presentation 86

7 Introduction Add to that Christ's undeniable, supernatural power, which they denied early in his ministry [John 9:24] but now his miracles were openly acknowledged. They had already made unsuccessful attempts to arrest him. Their soldiers had returned empty handed saying “No one ever spoke as this man does” 7v46. On another occasion when they moved against him we read “Jesus hid himself slipping away from the temple grounds” 8v59. What would the rulers have thought as a result of their abortive attempts to take Jesus? Perhaps they would not have voiced their most fundamental fear, that he might be unarrestable? Presentation 86

8 The Time Element Now it is clear that both the arrest and trial were greatly rushed. This is apparent from the fact that the first trial (or hearing) was held at night, which was illegal under Jewish law regarding capital cases. It is also apparent from the fact that in order to try Jesus' case, Pilate was prevailed upon to come out of his palace early on what would normally not have been a trial day. Even more significantly, it is evident from the case itself, which was obviously unprepared, that the trial was illegal. Presentation 86

9 The Time Element The case was obviously failing until Caiaphas the High Priest decided to interrogate the witness himself during which Jesus declared his divinity and was convicted on a charge of blasphemy. Now as we read of their great rush an obvious question comes to mind - why did they wait so long? Or why, assuming that they compressed the events in order to get the whole thing out of the way as quickly as possible, were they not better prepared when they actually made their move against Jesus? Presentation 86

10 The Time Element Some have suggested that Judas brought the religious leaders information that led them to think that they’d better proceed with an arrest before the Passover. What information? During the last supper, while Judas was still there, Jesus had been talking about his forthcoming death. To many that would have sounded like defeatist language, was the mood of surrender suggested? Was Judas counselling, Arrest him now while he is in this state of mind and I think he will come willingly causing your fears to evaporate! Hurry and make your arrangements. I will lead you to him.” Presentation 86

11 The Time Element You see, effecting an arrest was the all important thing – the legal niceties would just need to be rushed through. If any time was auspicious to arrest Jesus it was now! The religious leaders would have thought that Judas had more than earned his 30 pieces of silver! Meanwhile Jesus was clearly waiting in the Garden for his arrest instead of going back over the Mount of Olives to Bethany as was his custom. He waited while Judas carried his message, the leaders made their arrangements, and the arresting party made its way out of the city to seize him. Presentation 86

12 Who Killed Jesus All this has bearing upon two very important matters. First, it indicates that Jesus was in control of these events from the beginning. They did not come upon him by accident. When Jesus raised Lazarus a week previously, he precipitated the final decision of the leaders to have him killed. When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday he carried the confrontation a step farther. When he cleansed the temple he turned up the pressure on the religious leaders. And it was Jesus who sent Judas out on the very night of his arrest! Presentation 86

13 Who Killed Jesus Historically, there has been a heated discussion to point the finger at the one responsible for Jesus’ death. Attempts have been made to blame the Jews, which in the past led to fierce anti-Semitism, others have tried to lay the blame at Pilate’s door. He was a weak provincial governor. And of course Judas the betrayer lies at the top of many people’s list. In all of this it is easy to overlook the most important fact of all. Jesus’ death was God’s will. It was his plan that Jesus should be killed for our sin. Jesus also willed his death out of love for us and in obedience to the revealed will of his Father. Presentation 86

14 Who Killed Jesus Moreover, Jesus ordered the events of this last Passover week to indicate the meaning of what he was doing. For just as he ordered his entry into Jerusalem to correspond to the exact time at which the Passover lambs were being led into the city, so also he timed his death to coincide with the killing of those self same lambs. He was the great Passover Lamb of which they were but shadows. It was his blood, rather than theirs, that was to take away the sins of the world. Presentation 86

15 Who Killed Jesus This immense truth does not however diminish the culpability of the religious leaders, the political administrators or the friend who was the betrayer. Indeed the part that Judas played has a particular and sobering challenge all of its own. You see it is possible, like Judas, to be close to Christ and his followers and yet not to be converted. Think how close Judas was. He had been with Jesus for at least three years. He had witnessed Jesus’ amazing miracles. He had heard Jesus’ teaching and even understood much of what was taught. He had been a leader in evangelistic campaigns. He had been instrumental in healing others and seen lives transformed. Judas was that close to the One he betrayed. Presentation 86

16 Who Killed Jesus As far as everyone, apart from Jesus, was concerned, he appeared to be the genuine article, a real believer, someone in whom and through whom the Spirit of God was working. This is sobering, it is possible to be quite close to Jesus, to sit in a Christian church listening to biblical sermons, even to understand what you hear, and yet fail to make that personal commitment to Christ which is the necessary human response to God's work of salvation. Presentation 86

17 Who Killed Jesus Judas was not simply a one off. An example that does not need to concern us unduly. And for this reason the writer to the Hebrews makes the point: “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age and who have fallen away, to be brought back to repentance. To their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace”. Heb.6v 4-6. Presentation 86

18 Who Killed Jesus Judas is not simply set up as a straw man, a mental figment with no point of contact in reality. This is a real warning! What does it teach? That entry into the kingdom of God resembles some kind of revolving door where or a day to day basis we are not sure if we are, “in-out, in-out, in-out” and asking “Are we members of God’s royal family or not?” No of course not! The people of God are eternally secure. But there is an invisible line in a person’s spiritual journey and it is possible to move right up to that line which marks entry into the kingdom without crossing it. And when you view those who stand near the line, it is difficult to tell the difference between them and those who have crossed the line, between those in whose heart Christ is reigning and those in whose hearts his reign has not yet begun. Presentation 86

19 Conclusion Jesus himself identified such individuals in the sermon on the mount when he described the day of judgement: “Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!‘” Matt.7.21-23 How foolish it is to come so close to the kingdom and yet never commit ones life to Jesus and so be lost. How much wiser, by contrast, to put your faith in that One who willingly died for your salvation. Presentation 86

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