Cover to Cover
In verses 57-67, Jesus faces the Sanhedrin. No one could find fault in Him, other than some thought when Jesus spoke of destroying the temple and rebuilding it in three days, Jesus was threatening to destroy the actual temple. He was referring to His body, but Jesus also spoke in parables, looking for people who would rely on the Holy Spirit for interpretation. I’m sure many were perplexed by the things Jesus said. Some would even point a finger of blame at Him for not being clearer in His communication. However, the kingdom is for those who are humble in heart, not the proud. The religiously proud were constantly offended at His sayings. Today, proud, religious people can also be offended and blame spiritual leadership for the actions and attitudes of offended people.
Jesus kept silent when accused. The high priest was demanding Jesus to answer, trying to dominate his Messiah, forcing Him to respond. However, His silence shows me a few things:
1. Jesus was in control of His emotions and His words.
2. Jesus would not be dominated or manipulated by the high priest.
3. Jesus was to become sin on our behalf. He wasn’t fighting it.
4. Jesus knew who He was. He didn’t have anything to prove.
5. Jesus had insight to the other side of the cross. He was looking beyond His resurrection.
Here is what we can observe from the Jewish people and leaders who were there:
1. The high priest was full of pride and anger. He hated Jesus.
2. The high priest demanded Jesus state that He was the Messiah, the Son of God. He wanted to find guilt in Jesus, the guilt of blasphemy. Jesus confirmed it was as the priest said, then added the next time He would be seen would be seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven. In that day every eye will see Him and bow before Him, declaring that indeed, He is the Lord.
3. For saying that He was the Messiah, the group said Jesus deserved death. They despised Jesus for calling Himself the Son of God. Look at their actions – they spat in His face. They were furious at Him – they beat His body with clubs and their bare hands. They didn’t believe Him - they mocked Him, saying, “Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck You?” In Isaiah, it said He was beaten so badly that He was unrecognizable. These people were His countrymen! They were violent with the Lord.
4. These people had studied and memorized the old testament scriptures! Let’s not be surprised when even the most knowledgeable people in our churches get to a place of pride, criticism, anger, control, or even to bring harm through slander or church splits. It’s sad, but it’s human. If the Jews did this to their King, don’t be surprised if your fellow Christian does something similar to you or your church.
In verses 69-75, Peter denies Jesus and experiences regret. First, let me point out that Peter followed Christ at a distance, keeping an eye on Jesus, his leader and his Lord. Peter was protective of Jesus, and he was watching over Him as best as he could. Peter didn’t want to lose his life, understanding the danger of the mob and the threat to his own wellbeing because of his association with Christ. Jesus knew Peter would not be able to stay away. He knew Peter loved Him.
The courtyard Peter was in was the courtyard of the high priest. He was listening and watching, concerned for the Messiah. When recognized, three separate times Peter denied knowing Jesus, fearful for his life.
Immediately after the third denial, the rooster crowed. In Luke 22:61, it says Jesus and Peter made eye contact. Peter, remembering Jesus had prophesied it and Peter vehemently denied it, wept bitterly. Peter was a loyal man, realizing not only failure, but disloyalty.
Let’s look at the word of knowledge. It was revealed to Jesus that there would be exactly three denials. It was incredible that He knew to the second that a rooster would crow.
Jesus knew this, but He did not mention it to Peter until Peter said that he would never stumble. Sometimes our spiritual leaders know things about us that they don’t always share. Some of it is good, and some isn’t good; but some things are known because God reveals them for the purpose of caring for someone under his or her leadership.
We’re human. We often miss it, even when we’re aiming straight at the target. This story makes me think how important it is to stay humble before God. Pride will keep us from living out our full potential! It also reminds me that there is forgiveness, even for someone like an apostle who walked with Jesus for years. It also tells me that God can use us after failing because Peter was the one God used on the day of Pentecost, preaching in Jerusalem, leading over 3,000 to salvation and infilling of the Holy Spirit. Thank God for His grace!
These two chapters are on cleansing. In chapter 15, Moses shares the law for cleansing of bodily discharges. In chapter 16, the Lord gave Moses a ritual for cleansing healed lepers. There was an atonement that had to be made for the disease. This is why Jesus commanded the ten lepers to go show themselves to the priest, and as they went, they were healed (Luke 17:11-19). These ten lepers wouldn’t be going to the priest, or anyone for that matter, if they were still leprose. Going to the priest, they understood, was to show themselves as clean, healed. They were walking in faith and obedience. When the one returned to Jesus to thank him, I believe he was also going back to acknowledge Jesus as the Christ, a Mediator between him and God. After all, what other priest could heal leprosy? He returned to Jesus for that true atoning work. The other nine must not have recognized that.