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Lesson 23
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I.       Observation

A.     Outline

The Multitude Arrests Jesus (14:43-52)

The Sanhedrin Judges Jesus (14:53-65)

Peter Denies Knowing Jesus (14:66-72)

Pilate Judges Jesus (15:1-15)

The Soldiers Mock Jesus (15:16-20)

B.     Key Words/Phrases

Kiss, seized, deserted, fled, blasphemy, denied, crucify, mocked

II.    General Analysis

1a. 1. Judas—betrayed Jesus for money (14:10-11); gave a signal to those who came to arrest Jesus (14:44)

2. Chief priests, scribes, elders—looked for an excuse to put Jesus to death (14:55, 64); spat at him, beat him, mocked (14:65); stirred up the crowd (15:11)

      3. Arresting party—armed with swords and clubs to arrest Jesus (14:43)       

      4. Disciples—deserted Jesus and fled (14:50)

      5. Young man—fled (14:51)

      6. Witnesses in the Sanhedrin—testified falsely against Jesus (14:56-59)

      7. High priest—condemned Jesus of blasphemy (14:63)

      8. Peter—disowned Jesus three times (14:68, 70-71)

      9. Pilate—ordered Jesus to be crucified and flogged to please the crowd (15:15)

      10. Crowd—demanded that Jesus be crucified (15:13-14)

      11. Soldiers—mocked Jesus (15:17-19)

III. Segment Analysis

1. Weapons are common in a mob scene. Perhaps they expected resistance and wanted a show of force. Perhaps the chief priests and scribes had stirred up their thirst for blood.

2. It indicates that it was not easy to tell Jesus apart from His disciples. There was nothing in His physical appearance that identified Him as a leader, much less a king (Isa 53:2). He looked more like a common servant. Those who had never heard Jesus’ words or witnessed His power could not tell who He was.

3a. Jesus accepted Judas’ kiss without question. He did not rebuke Judas or push him away. Jesus accepted Judas with love, as He had done when He washed His disciples’ (including Judas’) feet (Jn 13:1-17).

4a. Moments before, Peter had proclaimed that he would die with the Lord (14:31). Now he was ready to stand by his words. Peter took action to protect his Lord against the hostile crowd. Note that Peter asked for Jesus’ permission, but did not wait for an answer (Lk 22:49-50). He reacted to the situation without thinking.

4b. There would have been serious repercussions on the early church. The disciples might have killed some of the men sent from the chief priests, or be killed. A riot might have resulted. The Roman government would’ve cracked down on the Jews, imprisoning and executing the remaining disciples. If these things had happened before the disciples received the Holy Spirit, they would not have been able to withstand the persecution, and the church would have been defeated even before she began.

5. Jesus first rebuked them for coming to arrest Him for no legitimate reason. They came with violent intent, even though Jesus never promoted rebellion or violence (He rebuked Peter for drawing his sword [Mt 26:52] and healed the servant of the high priest [Lk 22:51]). Jesus also pointed out the fact that they did not arrest Him when He was teaching every day in the temple courts. Perhaps it was because they had been amazed at His teaching (Mk 11:18). Perhaps they had been among the crowd who cheered Jesus when He entered Jerusalem!

The words “the Scriptures must be fulfilled” reminded the crowd that every event was under God’s control. Before the appointed time, no one could take Jesus by force or kill Him (Lk 4:28-30; Jn 7:43-44). Jesus could have asked the Father to send twelve legions of angels to fight for Him (Mt 26:53), but He did not. Instead, in order to fulfill God’s will, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter” (Isa 53:7).

6. The young man who later fled naked (14:51); Peter, albeit “at a distance” (14:54).

7. They distorted Jesus’ teachings and accused Him of things He did not say (for example, about the temple [14:58; cf. Jn 2:19-22 for what Jesus really said]). It was obvious even to the accusers that their testimonies did not agree.

8. Jesus remained silent. There was no need to refute the false testimonies because it was pointless. The Sanhedrin was looking for any excuse to put Him to death. The only time Jesus spoke was to testify to His divinity and prophesy his Second Coming.

Many people ask us questions regarding our faith because they earnestly seek the truth. There are others who have already made up their mind against the true gospel and are only trying to find faults in our faith. Often their arguments do not make sense. If a person only wants to argue, we do not have to fight back with words. We can listen and remain silent, as Jesus did. When necessary, we can point out what the Bible says. At all times, we must remember that only the Holy Spirit can give us spiritual wisdom to understand God’s words.

9a. “Jesus is a Jew and not a savior of mankind”; “Christians look down on other religions”; “The True Jesus Church is a cult.”

9b. We must first have a clear understanding of biblical teachings. We have to know why we believe. When we share our faith, we do not have to argue or be condescending. Our job is to calmly and humbly show what the Bible says about our faith.

10. Christ, Son of the Blessed One, Son of Man, Mighty One

The various terms show us a different aspect of God. Both the high priest and Jesus used different terms, which implies that they both had a profound understanding of God’s nature. However, the high priest’s knowledge did not help him. He did not believe what he saw, and ended up condemning the Savior.

11. Jesus had remained silent throughout the trial. The high priest wanted to force Him to say something self-incriminating. He knew Jesus would not deny that He is the Son of God. The high priest used that as an excuse to sentence Jesus to death. (The chief priests later piled on more charges before Pilate [15:3] because they knew Jesus would not contest them).

12. They condemned Jesus of blasphemy, based on His words that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and that He will come again from heaven. It is a sad irony that the sinners used God’s truth to condemn a sinless man.

16. When confronted with a great opposition (men from the chief priests armed with swords and clubs), Peter was prepared to fight and maybe die a heroic death. However, when the commotion was over, he lost the passion. Now that Jesus was arrested, Peter was more interested in preserving his life.

Often, our faith is strong when we are under great persecution or trial because we realize that only God can help us. However, when all is calm, we relax our vigilance and give the devil a foothold (Eph 4:27). Sometimes it is the small temptations that make us stumble.

18. They repeatedly cried out, “Crucify him!” (15:14)

19a. The people wanted a savior who would overthrow the Roman government and restore the nation of Israel on earth. To them, the Bible promised them a mighty and glorious king (Isa 11:1-16). They were ignorant of the prophecies of the savior’s meek appearance and suffering (Isa 53:1-10).

Jesus looked pathetic in their eyes. He was not the king they had been waiting for. Furthermore, the chief priests stirred them up. As more people gathered against Jesus, disappointment turned into rage. In the end, they wanted to kill Jesus for not fulfilling their expectations. They would not listen to reason. Their desire for blood was so fierce that Pilate gave into their wishes (15).

19b. We must remember that we often see only part of the truth. If we make up our mind before we see the whole picture, then every little thing becomes “proof” that we are right. In that case, anything can trigger us to act out.

20. Like Barabbas, we are freed from our death sentence because Christ died in our place. We deserved to die because of our sins, but now have eternal life through Jesus Christ (Rom 6:23).

21a. The Roman soldiers despised Jesus first as a Jew and second for His unsubstantiated and ridiculous (in their minds) claim to be “the King of the Jews” (15:2,9,12). They were accustomed to torturing a convict (cf. Did You Know 8), and gave no second thoughts to amusing themselves at Jesus’ expense.

21c. Jesus remained silent and did not fight back. In this, He showed us God’s infinite love. He set an example of “turning the other cheek” (Mt 5:38-42). We also need to have this non-retaliatory attitude when suffering for doing good (Rom 12:17-21; 1Pet 2:20-25). While this is a hard teaching to live by, we must never give up trying. The Holy Spirit will help us to love others like Jesus did.

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