Read through the Gospels in a Year: Matthew 26:57-75
Read the New Testament in a Year: Romans 11:25-36
Jesus clearly studied the Scriptures very carefully. His whole life was shaped by what he read. It was from his reading of the Scriptures that he understood what was happening to him when he was arrested. His companions try to resist but Jesus says, ‘… how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?’ (v.54). He explains to the crowd that, ‘… this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled’ (v.56).
It was the Scriptures that gave him the ability to deal with disloyalty, abandonment and false accusation. He set an example of how you can deal with these things in your own life:
Judas appears to be expressing his love for Jesus with a kiss, when actually he is betraying him: ‘The betrayer… embraced him and kissed him with [pretended] warmth and devotion’ (vv.48–49). It was the ultimate two-faced act. Jesus knew exactly what Judas was doing. Nevertheless, he calls him ‘friend’ (v.50). However disloyal we are, Jesus remains loyal to us.
All his friends ‘deserted him and fled’ (v.56b). In the moments of triumph – when people get engaged, have a baby or do well in their exams – it is natural to want to make contact and be around them. When people are down, it is much harder to know what to say and the temptation is, in effect, to abandon them.
It is said, ‘When you are up in life, your friends get to know who you are. When you are down in life, you get to know who your friends are!’
False accusation
Have you ever been falsely accused? It is a horrible experience. Jesus faced the terrible injustice of false witnesses testifying against him in order that they might put him to death (v.59).He exercised extraordinary restraint. He did not answer back (v.63), but he allowed himself to be attacked physically (v.67), and he chose not to win the argument but rather to win the war (something for small group hosts on Alpha to remember!). He understood from the Scriptures that all of this had a purpose and would lead, ultimately, to a great victory. Jesus’ understanding of his own identity and of his mission clearly came from his reading of the word of God. At his trial before the Sanhedrin, where Jesus appears to be a helpless victim, he is actually progressively revealed as the builder of a new temple (v.61), the Messiah (v.63), the Son of God (v.63) and the Son of Man who was to be enthroned at God’s right hand (v.64). In reality, the helpless victim is the one with all the authority and power.
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