Highlights In Today's Reading:
Be ready (25:1-13). Wait faithfully. Minister till Jesus comes — you will be judged (25:14-30,46). Last Supper — Jesus' New Covenant sealed in His blood (26:26-28). His betrayal (26:47-50).
Disturbed by the growing acceptance of Jesus as Messiah following the raising of Lazarus from the dead, the religious authorities conspired about how to kill Jesus (Luke 20:19; 22:2). Caiaphas, who was appointed high priest that year, had already urged the Sanhedrin to find a way to put Jesus to death (John 11:49-51).
Then assembled together the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders . . . unto the palace of the high priest . . . And consulted that they might take Jesus by subtilty, and kill Him (Matt. 26:3-4). Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests . . . What will ye give me, and I will deliver Him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver (26:14-15).
Then Judas led a large mob with soldiers east of Jerusalem into the Garden of Prayer (Gethsemane), approached Jesus, and said: Hail, Master; and kissed Him. . . . Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took Him (26:49-50).
On that night, Caiaphas the high priest . . . the scribes and the elders . . . sought false witness against Jesus, to put Him to death (26:57,59). In doing so, they violated all the rules of Israel's judicial system: 1) there were to be no trials after sunset; 2) there were to be no secret trials; 3) the charges could not originate from judges; 4) the verdict could not be announced at night; 5) the condemned was not to be beaten; 6) two or three witnesses were required and had to agree in all details.
In a frenzy of frustration and anger, the high priest, acting as judge, demanded: I adjure Thee (put you under oath) by the Living God, that Thou tell us whether Thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said (stated the fact). (26:63-64). The high priest then angrily shouted: He hath spoken blasphemy. . . . What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death (26:65-66).
Hate and envy, not evidence, led to the death sentence of Jesus. He was left to the vicious abuses of the guards: They spit in His face . . . and . . . smote Him with the palms of their hands, saying, Prophesy unto us, Thou Christ (26:67-68). He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed (Is. 53:5).
Thought for Today:
And this is the promise that He hath promised us, even eternal life (I John 2:25).
25:27 exchangers =moneylenders; usury =interest on money lent; 26:15 covenanted =established an agreement; 26:47 staves =clubs; 26:63 I adjure Thee =a charge You under oath before God.
For Matt. 26:31: See Zech. 13:7. Matt. 26:64: See Ps. 110:1; Dan. 7:13.
Pray for Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Reverend Richard J. Roberts • Government Officials: Rep. Bob Inglis (SC), Rep. Sam Johnson (TX), and Sen. Patty Murray (WA) • Country: Georgia (5.38 million) west and central Transcaucasia between Asia and Europe • Major languages: Georgian and Russian • Religious opposition to Christianity • 57% Georgian (and Russian) Orthodox; 21.2% Muslim; 5% Armenian Apostolic; .8% Catholic (Greek-Catholic); .5% Protestant (mainly Baptist); .5% Jewish; 15% Atheist/Agnostic • Prayer Suggestion: Thank God for His mercy to cleanse from all sins (Ps. 51:2).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 15:9