Accusation and the Judge

“And Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, said unto them, ‘Ye have brought this Man unto me, as one that perverteth the people: and, behold, I, having examined before you, have found no fault in this Man touching those things whereof ye accuse Him: no, nor yet Herod: for I sent you to him; and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto Him.
I will therefore chastise Him, and release.’ ” Luke 23:13-16 (KJB)

During the first days and months of Jesus’s ministry there were those who despised His life and His teaching. For years they sought how they might destroy Him. When we first note this in Scripture is when Jesus stands in a synagogue and reads the prophecy from Isaiah (Luke 4:17-19; Isaiah 61:1-2). There they tried to kill Him.

There are two gospels that tell us that Pilate saw that it was for envy they sought to kill Him (Matthew 27:18; Mark 15:10). They were envious of His power, authority, and His closeness with God. He was, and is in fact God become flesh – God Incarnate. That alone sent them into a tizzy fit.

Now, they have succeeded in a trial of their own making, in secret, very early in the morning, and these have found Him guilty based on false witnesses that their testimony did not even agree. Yet the religious leaders can not condemn any to death; they must get Him before the governor, who is by Roman appointment, and he must declare Him guilty and sentence Him to die by crucifixion.

Pilate, nor Herod found any fault, neither guilt for any crime in Jesus. Pilate wanted to release Him. The people cried “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.” They even chose the release of a guilty murderer over the sinless Son of God.

Pilates verdict was “Not guilty”. Jesus the Man who was the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary lived a life without sin, was guilty of nothing, sentenced to die because He was perfect.

Dying on the cross He took the curse that was ours. He was judged by His own Father as guilty, because on the cross He became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). He lives. All who will come to Him He gives eternal life.

Jesus Christ paid the sin debt that was mine and yours. He carried away our sins in His burial. He rose victoriously declaring the sin debt fully paid.

 

Exactly As GOD Said

“I gave My back to the smiters, and My cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not My face from shame and spitting.” Isaiah 50:6 (KJB)

This is a prophecy of the  trial, pain, beating, the suffering of the sinless Son of God as He gave Himself as the propitiation for our sins. A prophecy given to the prophet Isaiah around 700 years before Jesus was even born in the manger.

From Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary on verse six…

smiters — with scourges and with the open hand (Isa_52:14; Mar_14:65). Literally fulfilled (Mat_27:26; Mat_26:27; Luk_18:33). To “pluck the hair” is the highest insult that can be offered an Oriental (2Sa_10:4; Lam_3:30). “I gave” implies the voluntary nature of His sufferings; His example corresponds to His precept (Mat_5:39).

spitting — To spit in another’s presence is an insult in the East, much more on one; most of all in the face (Job_30:10; Mat_27:30; Luk_18:32).”  From the Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary

O, come to Jesus Christ who loved us so much He gave Himself to redeem us to the Father God in Glory.

Standing Strong At The Trial of Faith

“And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city: neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.  But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: and have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and men.” Acts 24:12-16  (KJB)

Better Than Gold

“Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: on the left hand, where He doth work, but I cannot behold Him: He hideth Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him: but He knoweth the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold. My foot hath held His steps, His way have I kept, and not declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.” Job 23:8-12 (KJV)

There is an attitude in the minds of many people; and it affects us all at times; that we are “it”. We are what God is about. He has an obligation to love us, care for us; and to bring it down personal; He has an obligation to love me, care for me. Is that about how we are? I see it in me. I see it in others.

Something we need to realize is that God is about His own glory. He has no obligation to love us, or to care for us. He is about getting His people into His glory; and He will do it His way, not my way; and He will do it in His time.

Look at Job. He was a wealthy, healthy, family man who was loved by his family, the servants of his household, and his neighbors. Then, he lost everything; even his self-respect. He did not lose his faith in God.

Job did not understand his dilemma; yet he trusted, though he would have liked to appear before the Court of God, and present his arguments on his own behalf.

Job states in the text above that he had not witnessed the presence of God, could not feel the presence of God, nor seen His work. Yet, we hear this testimony, “When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold”. Though he had no understanding of the events that happened in the court of heaven Job knew, believed, trusted that the trials he was going through was as the refiners fire, and that God was perfecting him, fitting him for the glory of God.

How can this be? How can it be that even though we may have no understanding of the troubling events of our life, of life, that we can still trust that God is working in us to make us “come forth as gold” tried in a furnace of fire? Note Job’s words, “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of His lips; I have esteemed the words of His mouth more than my necessary food“.

That reminds me of Jesus’s own words, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:3).

Remember this dear believer. We are not called to understand; we are called to be faithful.

Has God Forsaken His Own???

“My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” Psalm 22:1 (KJV)

The writer of this Psalm was feeling as though Go had forsaken him.  David is the Psalmist who was feeling so.  It must have been a trial of epic proportions.  Let us remember that it is faith which  causes him to cry out to God at this time.

This Psalm, at least the first verse, was quoted by our Saviour while He was hanging on the cross (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).  It was as He came through the darkest part of the crucifixion.  For three hours there was a complete and total darkness, which the earth experienced during those hours; but O the darkness which our Lord endured was far greater than any physical, or temporal darkness of the earth.

Jesus had taken upon Himself the sins of the whole world.  We are told in Scripture that God does not look on sin with favor; thus the judgment of God was upon His Son.  There is no way we can understand the events of that dark time in our Lord’s dying; however I believe I can say that it was the most dark time of His life and death.

Because Jesus was forsaken by His Father for that time He will never forsake those who are His own.  We can hear the promise, “I will never forsake you or leave you”, and know that He is always with us.

You are His only when you come to Him believing that He died for you on the cross, was buried, and rose again bodily from the grave.  Believe in Him.  Call on Him believing.

…Ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven

“And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. 54 And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire. 55 And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. 56 For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. 57 And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, 58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. 59 But neither so did their witness agree together. 60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? 62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? 64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. 65 And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.
66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. 69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. 70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto. 71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.”  Mark 14:53-72 (KJV)

It was very early in the morning and the “High priest, all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes” were all assembled together and for the distinct purpose of putting Jesus on trial.  It was not the time of week they preferred, but it was the time ordained by God.  It was illegal to hold a trial this early, but there was nothing legal about the arrest of Jesus either.  He was arrested out of pure envy, because of sin in the hearts of wicked men.
We are told by the writer that “Peter followed Him afar off…”.  Peter followed all the way to the home “Palace” of the high priest.  It was there that he sat with the “Servants” and warmed himself at their fire.

These religious leaders sought for testimony against Jesus, and did not find any (v. 55).  There were many who bore “False witness” against Him, but it was not in agreement.  They kept searching until they found two who would agree as to the destroying and rebuilding of the temple.  These “Leaders” were desparate.  This testimony was on Jesus’s statement where He had said, “Destroy this temple [speaking of His own body], and in three days I will raise it again.”  (John 2:19).   There was no accusation against Jesus which would stand in a real court of law where a judge was fair and just.  But, then, all men are liars when compared to the justice of God.

Jesus is asked if He is the Messiah/Christ, and He answers, “I Am…”  He goes on telling of seeing His coming glory (v. 62).  That really upset the high priest to the point of hypocritically ripping his garment.  This was an outward show of grief, despair, even at times repentance – which he certainly needed right now, but even more later.   The sound is more and more the echo of Psalm 2,

“Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?  The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed, saying, ‘Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.”

At the trial before the religious leaders they began to spit on Him and strike him with their hands.  It is a grievous thing to read and think that the God of the universe placed Himself in the hands of sinners; He Himself being sinless, to give His life as the  payment for sin, and giving to those who believe in Him His righteousness.  My what  a Savior.
Peter, the disciple, John MacArthur calls “The disciple with the foot-shaped mouth”.  He has previously said that he would never be offended because of Jesus (vv. 27-30), now denies Him.  In these seven verses (66-72) we have three accounts where he does just that.

At one point he even goes into a “Fit” of cursing; denying that he knows Jesus.  He went out not believing the word of Jesus about “All being offended in Him”, and finds himself doing exactly what Jesus said.  We need not fear that the Word of God and His Son Jesus will be performed.

Peter’s weeping was not the weeping of one who silently sheds tears, but one who “Wailed” loudly where it could have been heard by people around him.  When that rooster crowed the second time Peter saw the eyes of Jesus looking at him (Luke 22:61), and it grieved his heart.

Have I denied Jesus?  Have I betrayed Him?  Do I need to ask?  Yes!  To all three questions.  I must ask for His forgiveness, and He forgives, cleanses and sets me free.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus

“And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. 45 And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. 46 And they laid their hands on him, and took him. 47 And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. 50 And they all forsook him, and fled. 51 And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: 52 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.”  Mark 14:43-52

Judas goes about doing his dirty, dispicable, dastardly deed.  He betrays Jesus with the highest symbol of friendship in that society.  This kiss was the way best of friends greeted one another, but Judas’s was an act of hypocrisy, betrayal.

They come with a large mob, to take the one who offered nothing to them except peace, hope, love, mercy, grace, and joy.  They came as though He were a murderer, or a thief.  The real thief was leading the way, and betraying the Master.

The lowly, miserable, sinful, unclean, wicked, deceitful, betraying, mob took hold of the sinless, perfect, holy, just, righteous, Son of God to take Him to a “trial” and then to take His life.

Peter’s response was to take the sword and attack, which he did and cut off the ear of a servant to the “High priest”.  Other Gospel accounts tell us that Jesus healed this man’s ear (Luke 22:50-51).  Peter was brave, but at a time when it was not necessary to act so brashly and without thought, but then, this was the character of Peter.

Jesus was always for the fulfillment of Scripture.  In order for Him to be the true Christ [Messiah of Israel] all Scripture must be fulfilled.  Not one “jot” or “Tittle” could go unperformed.  God does not leave anything undone which He has spoken, nor will His Son.  Jesus’s life, work, death and resurrection fulfill all Scriptures concerning Him and those events.  Not one thing has been left undone.  Just as the Scriptures had declared, and Jesus had said Himself all the disciples fled for their lives.

There is a young man, who is not identified,  in the garden, and he flees without any garment.  This “Young man” has been thought by some to have been John Mark – the writer of this Gospel.  I see no problem believing that.  Mark not wanting to draw any great attention to himself just identifies himself as a “Young man” who flees from the mob.  He may have been hiding in the trees and rocks, looking onto the events of Jesus and His disciples, and was there when the mob came to take Jesus away.

Do we often try to hide when conflict comes?  Jesus was willing to face the shame of the cross for our sins, and He willingly offered Himself for our sins.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Jesus…Lifted Up His Eyes To Heaven…

This will begin a focus on the “Lord’s Prayer” as given in John 17 –

“These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour is come; glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee:” John 17:1 (KJV).

There is a teaching the Lord gave concerning how His disciples are to pray in Matthew 6.  It is often called “The Lord’s Prayer”; however it should in reality be called something like “The Model Prayer”, because Jesus in that prayer was teaching His followers how to pray.  It was not a prayer He would pray.

This beginning of His prayer in John 17, is the beginning of “The Lord’s Prayer”.  This is the prayer that He prayed for Himself, and those who follow Him.

Jesus, realizing that the time of His death is approaching asked the Father to glorify Him.  A time of trial was approaching in the life of Jesus unlike anything He had ever experienced.  It was a trial that was going to be for His glory and the glory of the Father.  Jesus asked for something He knew the Father had willed for His life.  He fully believed and trusted the Father to see this matter through to the end.

When we pray in the Father’s will we will be asking for His glory to be seen in our trials, and our joys of life.  That is the heart of Jesus.

Let’s begin to follow Jesus in our praying.

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Death Of The King

Just as surely as I post this writing of THE DEATH OF THE KING there will be some who will immediately think that I am writing of Elvis Presley or Michael Jackson.  Not so on my part.  As I thought of this title I was not even thinking of those two but of the One who is the genuine King of all kings; including the king of rock, and of pop as the world has called them.

It is sad that far too many people mourn the lives of two men whose lives were controlled by popularity, power, money, and drugs; and eventually taken possibly by the same things and drugs.  Their lives are sad examples of wasted living, and wasted lives.

Enough about those lives, and on to the One whose life, though short was lived to glorify the Father, and to give His own life for the salvation of sinful men, and women.

It is sad to see a man live His life for good, God, and His glory; and then to have it taken from Him due to sin.  Lust, power, envy, greed, politics, covetousness, popularity, and every sin among men who loved darkness rather than light had this man condemned to die.  The ugliest of mankind was seen on the day or our Lord’s death.

Hear the words of Jesus –

“And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men:  And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.”  Matthew 17:22-23 (KJV)

Jesus had just spent time correcting His disciples concerning the reason why they could not cast a demon from a young man.  They had tried and failed.  The father of the boy was frustrated with them, and when Jesus came down from the mountain where He was transfigured before their eyes, took this boy and cast the demon out of him without much thought.

Now, while they are in Galilee Jesus tells them, as He has before of His death which is approaching.  There is much evidence in the Gospels that Jesus’s heart was set on going to Jerusalem for the distinct purpose to die; and to do so for the sins of the world.  And by the hands of sinful men be judged, found guilty (without guilt), beaten and whipped, mocked, be nailed to a cross, and hung on that tree (“Cursed is the man that hangeth on a tree” Galations 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:23), and took the curse that was meant for us all; the curse of sin and death.

It seems that the disciples, as Jesus spoke to them, were not thinking of who He was talking about or something.    It had not sunk into their blind minds of whom He referred.

Of course Jesus was speaking of Himself who would die, and on the “third day rise again”.  It could be too, that they heard the part about His death, but the part of the resurrection was not assimilated into their thinking.  Thus they were sorry for His death.

We have this assurance that Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures, was buried, and rose again the third day, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1-8), and there was a multitude of witnesses.

Believe on Jesus Christ, trust your life to His care, and you will be saved for all eternity.  There is no other way but through Jesus Christ.

-Tim A. Blankenship