Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Burial of Jesus


Matthew 27:57-61

Now when evening had come, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given to him. When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed. (Matthew 27:57-60)

By 3 o’clock in the afternoon on Friday, Jesus was dead.

He had yielded up His own life.

A rich man came from Arimathea, named Joseph.

He had become a secret follower of Jesus.

He was a disciple.

This Joseph went to Pilate.

He went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus.

Pilate commanded the body to be given over.

The soldiers took the dead body of the Lord Jesus Christ down.

Then Joseph took Him away.

Joseph wrapped the body of the Lord Jesus Christ in a clean linen cloth.

He laid it in his new tomb.

And he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb.

And he left.

******

And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb. (Matthew 57:61)

These two women sat there in deep sorrow and in deep agony.

*******

When the Lord Jesus Christ had risen on the first day, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene and she went and told those who had been with Him.

They were the first witnesses.

*******

Joseph was a secret disciple.

He finally came out of the shadows.

He took a stand for Jesus.

*******

Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were passionate, devoted, loving, dedicated disciples.

They loved the Lord Jesus Christ from beginning to the end.

*******

How about us?


Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Mockery of Jesus


Matthew 27:27:30

Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole garrison around Him. (Matthew 27:27)

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ was taken to the common hall.

600 soldiers was gathered around Him.

*******

And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. (Matthew 27:28)

*******

When the Lord Jesus Christ was scourged, He was naked.

After the scourging was complete, the soldiers put the Lord Jesus Christ’s inner robe back on Him.

As the soldiers began their game, they heartlessly ripped that robe off Him once more, again exposing His wounds.

*******

Then the soldiers found a scarlet robe and put it on the Lord Jesus Christ.

It could be a robe that one of the soldier worn as an outer garment.

*******

When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" (Matthew 27:29)

*******

When they had plaited a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head.

The thorns pierced His brow and little streams of blood ran down His face.

*******

They put a reed in His hand to mock His authority.

They bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"

There was no sincerity in that proclamation, only sarcasm and ridicule.

*******

Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head. (Matthew 27:30)

*******

The Jewish leaders had spit on Him (Matt. 26:67).

Now the Roman soldiers were doing so.

It seems as if the whole world gathered to spit on the Son of God.

*******

If they only knew whom they were mocking.

If they only had known on whom they placed a crown of thorns and a scarlet robe!

*******

The soldiers hit His head repeatedly with the reed to make a joke of His authority.

What kind of a King could He possibly be if they could rip His scepter out of His hand and beat Him on the head with it?

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ’s sovereignty was a joke to them.

They thought if they could spit on Him and hit Him in the head with his own scepter, and have nothing happen in retaliation, then He couldn’t be a King.

*******

The mockery of Jesus was a display of unbelievable human evil.

The soldiers didn’t have anything against Christ.

They were reveling in the depravity of their hearts in their brutal amusement.

*******

Yet through it all the Lord Jesus Christ endured.

He said nothing, offering no resistance.

He was willing to suffer for sinners.

It was not only the death on the cross, but everything that came with it as well.


Friday, July 15, 2011

The Trial Before The Sanhedrin


Matthew 26:57-61

"And those who had laid hold of Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled" (Matthew 26:57).

The Lord Jesus Christ was taken to Annas first (John 18:13)

Annas attempted an arraignment but couldn’t accomplish a thing.

So the Lord Jesus Christ was sent to Caiaphas without an indictment.

In the dark of the night, the Lord Jesus Christ was transported from the house of Annas to the house of Caiaphas, which was located near the temple.

The scribes and elders had been gathering together at Caiaphas’s place while the Lord Jesus Christ was at the house of Annas.

*******

"But Peter followed Him at a distance to the high priest’s courtyard. And he went in and sat with the servants to see the end" (Matthew 26:28).

Peter wasn’t brave enough to step out for the Lord Jesus Christ.

But he was concerned to stand in the background.

While in the courtyard he could see what happened as the Lord Jesus Christ was confronted by Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin.

*******

"Now the chief priests, the elders, and all the council sought false testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none. Even though many false witnesses came forward, they found none (Matthew 26:59-60).

Since the Lord Jesus Christ’s session with Annas failed to exact a charge, the Sanhedrin had no case to judge.

So they had to act as prosecutors first and invent a crime before they could try it.

The council wanted to put the Lord Jesus Christ to death.

They sought the testimony of false witnesses.

But no one could give a plausible testimony.

They couldn’t even find any two to agree.

*******

But at last two false witnesses came forward and said, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.'" (Matthew 26:60-61)

All they could come up with was "this fellow said."

That’s nothing but a generalization.

The false witnesses twisted what Jesus actually said and what He meant.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ was perfect and absolutely sinless.

If He had ever done anything wrong, they would have found it.

But there was no crime.

*******

What a blessed Savior we have!

He is perfect, and found to be so at the tribunal of evil men.

Who actually was on trial that day were those who accused the Lord Jesus Christ.

They revealed themselves to be wretched, wicked, sinful, and unjust men.

The Lord Jesus Christ, by His very presence, identifies those who side with Satan.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Finding Strength In Weakness


Matthew 26:31-35

Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: 'I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'

But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee."

Peter answered and said to Him, "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble."

Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."

Peter said to Him, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!"
And so said all the disciples.

----------------------------------

The Lord Jesus Christ predicted the disciples would desert Him.

And it came to pass exactly as He said it would.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ revealed the disciples' weaknesses.

And this lesson later changed the course of their lives.

*******

To carry the gospel message to the world, the disciples had to be strong.

But the first step to acquire strength is to admit weaknesses.

A lesson on weaknesses was vital for the disciples.

*******

The disciples thought that their love for the Lord Jesus Christ, their spiritual strength, and their ability to control Satan was great and sufficient.

They were leaning on their own understanding.

The Lord Jesus Christ had to teach them a lesson about the inadequacy of their own strength in the midst of spiritual warfare.

*******

When the Lord Jesus Christ and the disciples left the upper room, it was nearly midnight.

There were only eleven disciples with Him then.

The Lord Jesus Christ had dismissed Judas Iscariot several hours before.

*******

As the Lord Jesus Christ and His disciples ascended the Mount of Olives, they stopped and rest.

While they rested, the Lord Jesus Christ confronted the disciples about their weaknesses.

*******

The disciples were ignorant of their own weaknesses and the strength of Satan.

They were ignorant of the power of the test they would face in a few hours.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ taught the disciples a lesson about the stupidity of self-sufficiency.

He said, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written: 'I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered. But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee."

Then in verse 34 the Lord Jesus Christ said to Peter, "Assuredly, I say to you that this night, before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times."

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ knew the disciples would forsake Him that night.

Nevertheless He also knew He would be raised from the dead.

And He would meet them again in Galilee.

*******

The disciples were afraid to face the moment of their trial because they were weak and couldn’t handle death.

They deserted the Lord Jesus Christ because they were afraid of what the Roman and Jewish leaders would do to them.

And that fear translated as being ashamed of the Lord Jesus Christ.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ told the disciples He would go before them into Galilee.

Yes, He would return to be their shepherd and lead them once again.

*******

And He did just that.

After being raised from the dead, He told Mary Magdalene and the other Mary this: "Go and tell My brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see Me" (Matthew 28:10).

He came out of the grave and kept His rendezvous with the disciples.

*******

Peter claimed to be the most trustworthy disciple of all.

He was proud and self-confident.

But actually he was weak and ignorant of his cowardice.

*******

Peter's foolish pride was manifest in 3 ways:

  1. He contradicted the Lord Jesus Christ. Peter was saying that the Lord Jesus Christ was wrong when he insisted that he wouldn’t deny Him.

  2. He claimed superiority over the other disciples. "Even if all are made to stumble because of You, I will never be made to stumble."

  3. He trusted in his own strength. "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!"

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ knew every detail of what would happen.

He knew where Peter would be, who he would meet, and how he would deny Him.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ was loving and merciful.

In spite of the disciples’ deserting Him, He restored them.

He gathered them together and led them into Galilee.

*******

The Lord God is in the business of restoring those who have deserted Him.

That is comforting to know.

If we are believers, we may forsake Him at some point in our lives, but under no condition will He ever forsake us.

*******

The disciples learned a powerful lesson about their weaknesses.

The Lord Jesus Christ returned from the grave and put His loving arms around them, restoring them.

He then recommissioned them and sent them out.

*******

After seeing the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection, they were no longer afraid of death.

They knew they also would rise from the dead.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ had given them strength to go out with a new approach.

*******

The same thing must be true in our lives.

Not until we realize how the sweet and tender grace of the Lord has restored us will we go out and conquer the difficulties we will surely face.

*******

The disciples had found God's strength in their weaknesses.

And so have many of us.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Anointing The Lord


Matthew 26:5-13

And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simeon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table.

But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste?"

"For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor."

But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me."

"For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always."

For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for my burial."

"Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."

*******

A woman came to the Lord Jesus Christ, opened an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and poured it on His head.

The woman took this occasion to worship and adore the Lord Jesus Christ.

And she anointed Him with the very expensive fragrance oil.

*******

The Lord Jesus Christ saw this more than just an act of adoration.

He saw this as a preparation for His death and burial.

*******

But the disciples were angry.

They protested regarding this waste of money.

For they thought it could have been sold and given the money to the poor.

*******

The woman believed that the Lord Jesus Christ was worthy of such extravagant worship.

*******

The disciples saw money as of more important.

They would want to use the money to serve the poor.

*******

What this woman did was a natural reaction of her love for the Lord Jesus Christ.

She poured out her most precious gift as an expression of her love for the Lord Jesus Christ!

*******

This love and intimacy were more precious in the sight of our Lord than any act of kindness to the poor or any other kind of philanthropy!

*******

What our Lord wants from us is our hearts!

He wants us to seek Him above anything else and to abide in Him.

*******

When we live in communion in Christ, we will do good works to the poor and needy.

This is a natural reaction of our relationship with Him.

But many today are preaching a type of social gospel where Christ the Person is missing.

*******

Christianity is about the Lord Jesus Christ.

The essence of Christianity is to be union with Christ, and not to be social workers.

*******

The woman recognized she was in the presence of the Incarnate God and she did what was appropriate.

*******

Our goal in life is to be united with the Lord Jesus Christ.

This unity has two dimensions:

- On the one side we are as empty vessels seeking to be filled with God's grace and presence.

- On the other side we are to live a life of praise and thanksgiving, and sacrifice our lives for the One who sacrificed His life for us.

*******

The woman was not concerned about the earthly worth of the perfume.

She was so engaged in worship that she poured out her love, praise, and thanksgiving to the Lord Jesus Christ.

And the Lord Jesus Christ did not allow the others to take that away from her.

*******

The Lord promised that her action would be a memorial to her wherever the gospel was preached.

Her love for Christ was honored by the Lord.