Jesus Predicting Peter

Key Texts: Matthew 26:31-35, Mark 14:27-31, Luke 22:31-38, John 13:36-38

The Prediction:  Jesus wanted to show Peter how He knew him better than Peter knew himself, no matter how painful it was. Jesus knew the quality of Peter’s love, and knew that without evidence of His intimate foreknowledge, Peter’s love would not grow. (Jn. 21:10-18). When the prediction comes true, Jesus looks at Peter to write his law upon Peter’s heart, the law of faith and love is real, Lk. 22:61.

The Prayer: Satan has asked to have you that he might sift you as wheat. The devil is our enemy as well. He would like nothing better than to destroy us all! I have made supplication for you, prayed for you, Simon. (Romans 15:30) We can be assured that Jesus petitions the Father, prays to the Father for us as well (Romans 8:26-28)  “I have prayed that your faith may not fail,” Jesus said to Simon. “When you have turned back, repented,” Jesus instructed Peter. To be a help to others, we must be right with the Lord. “Strengthen your brothers.” Lk. 22:32.

The Swords: Jesus evidently here allowed self-defence against lawless elements of society set on robbing, stealing and killing. It is written, “He was numbered with the transgressors.” Isaiah 53:12, Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Matthew 26:1-5, Jesus did not allow himself to be killed in a resisting arrest situation.  The Jews would much have preferred this method of ridding themselves of Jesus.  Jesus did not call for swords to resist arrest. Jesus said that prophecy must be fulfilled in him. Jesus further said, “Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfilment.” The apostles responded by saying, “Lord, here are two swords.” It appears that the gravity and eternal implications of what Jesus said escaped the disciples. They thought, “Jesus said we needed some swords and here are two we have found.” How much of what Jesus said completely escapes us today?  No doubt, regrettably, most of it! Jesus replied, “Two swords are enough.  That is enough” Wonder what Jesus thought of that response to all he had said. Wonder what Jesus thinks of our responses or lack of response to what he has said. Even after Peter cut off Malchus’ ear, Jesus did not tell him to throw the sword away.  He told him to put it up in its place.  Matthew 26:52.  The swords would have prevented Jesus’ untimely assassination had it been attempted.  They were “machaira” swords, not rhomphaia, seen in Rev. 6:8, which were always long and specifically for warfare. The machaira is a generic word for sword, which can refer to a knife or dagger, Heb. 4:12. It’s possible that Jesus wanted his disciples to have access to self-defence, but to grow in wisdom, as to when and when not to use it. The only apostle known to die a natural death was John, so most of them refrained from using any kind of self-defence when they were under persecution.

The Best of Intentions: The words of Peter and the other disciples, which stated they would not forsake Jesus, were holy & honourable intentions with faith based on their own physical strength, but if we are to follow Jesus, we must try with the help of the Holy Spirit and prayer, to speak the truth in love. Then we can encourage people to be honest, even when we have evidence that people are lying about us. Even Peter lied against Jesus, Matthew 26:69-75, but that doesn’t make it OK. Thankfully, Peter reacted the right way when the Holy Spirit convicted him to quit lying and be honest. Sometimes it is hard to be honest with ourselves and God, but with God’s wisdom, word and Spirit, we can do it.

Jesus Washes Feet

Key Text: John 13:1-20

Just before the Passover feast Jesus wanted to practice what he was about to preach, in his saying, “Greater love has no one than this, that a person lay down their life for their friend”, Jn. 15:13.  Jesus was showing them that the only way to grow sacrificial divine love, was to humbly serve each other. In this way, we begin to obey God, and make sacrifices in a real way. His love grew so great, that he was able to show it towards his enemies and die for them too! Romans 5:8. The devil had already prompted the heart of Judas Iscariot to betray Jesus. Satan suggests and motivates evil deeds, Ac. 5:3-4. Jesus had already told them in Jn. 6:7 that one of them was a devil. He had also told Peter about Satan using him too, Lk. 4:8. But why would Judas take such a bad attitude and act upon it, after Jesus had even washed his feet? Because God knew his heart’s problem of unbelief and it was so evil, he decided to fulfil prophetic judgment with it, Acts 1:25 & Psa. 109:6-9. 

Jesus was very soon to demonstrate his humility, but he was at the same time fully aware of his power and deity. Yet in the face of the disciples concern for greatness and leadership, Jesus began to wash their feet, which is the attitude Paul instructs us all to have in Philippians 2:1-9. The shock from Peter while being approached by Jesus to wash his feet, stems from our inability to trust God’s principle of blessings from Him for the humble service we render.  But the insistence of Jesus teaches Peter and us that all honest work for Christ is honorable and honored! Jesus dignified the work of slaves by taking the towel and water into his own hands. This sacrificial love Jesus was offering would lead to the cleansing of Peter’s sinful soul. So we all need this enacted in our own life. How do we submit to the cleansing of Christ? It has everything to do with the circumcision of Christ in baptism, Col. 2:11-12.  

However, when Jesus stated that they were not all clean, he was thinking of Judas. When Jesus washed the feet of Judas, we may be sure, Jesus felt like he was wasting his time. But since Jesus was truly their Lord, he gave them the obligation of serving each other, and made it clear in his statement:  “If I, your Lord and Teacher have washed your feet, you should wash one another’s feet.” Jn. 13:14-15. Paul took this seriously and related it to the providing of help to needy widows in the early church, 1 Timothy 5:10. The promise of Jesus to bless us is real, John 13:17, If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. Do we take this seriously in the church today? Are we looking for dirty feet? Here is where Mat. 25:31-46 is fulfilled. Depending upon our faith or lack of it, this will judge us.This love of Jesus defeated any form of prejudice. Even when he knew Judas was evil, God is no respecter of  persons‑Ac 10:34‑35. 

This is true in Jesus by his wiping Judas’ feet.  Jesus’ divine love helped him not only show himself to be  better, but also to treat others better, we need the love of Jesus. To have this love, we must submit to His attitude of submission, that is humility, Mat. 18:3-4, a requirement for our salvation. 

Judas & Jesus

Judas was a thief and he was angry with Jesus who accepted the anointing of his feet with costly ointment which he regarded as a waste.  Jesus rebuked Judas for his complaints against this anointing. Matthew 26:6-13.  This may have hurt his feelings.  Did he then set about to get even with Jesus? During this time frame, Jesus had completed some detailed and disappointing doctrine and prophecy about the Kingdom, which may have aggravated Judas, Mt. 25:1-46.

Judas Iscariot, is a peculiar name, which signifies (but doesn’t prove) that he may have been a ‘southerner’, when all the other apostles were ‘northerners’, it’s possible Judas felt like an outsider from the start.  For whatever reason or reasons, he went and communed (conferred) with the chief priests and captains. He initiated the betrayal before the paschal meal, Lk. 22:4.  Judas talked with the leaders in a personal way, the same verb is used of Jesus talking to Moses & Elijah during His transfiguration.  With one of the apostles on their payroll, the leaders of the Jews now revised their strategy and opted for a public trial and execution instead of an assassination. Judas did this because “Satan entered into Judas.” Judas devised a plan in consultation with the chief priests to deliver Jesus to them. What are you willing to give me for delivering Jesus to you? Did Judas take the chief priests’ first offer? It does not appear that Judas was a very good negotiator or he may have just been in a hurry. The chief priests weighed out for him thirty pieces of silver. They were glad to hear Judas’ offer and covenanted (promised) with him without delay,  Mk. 14:11.  This probably happened on the Wednesday, while Jesus was out of Jerusalem and in next door Bethany.  The KJV consistently translates the Greek word as “promised” and it is usually used in reference to God making a promise. Luke, Paul, John and the Hebrew writer all talk of God’s promise with the same word as what the Jewish leaders do when they make a promise to Judas, (Heb. 6:13). The significance of this, is to teach us that whether or not Judas was faithful, the Pharisees were faithful to pay Judas!

God’s promise of faithfulness is not dependent on what we do, His type of promise to Abraham was a one way street and good as done without any merit on Abraham’s part.  From that time on Judas, having consented, (agreed), Lk. 22:6, struck a deal with the high priests, and sought a convenient opportunity to deliver Jesus unto the chief priests, which turned out to be during the paschal meal. The word for “consented”, from the Greek, is usually translated CONFESSED. Why? Because, sometimes when we make a promise or agree to do something, we are really actually identifying our self as the kind of person, who by nature wants to fulfil the promise. In other words, Judas was publicly showing himself to truly be the kind of person that would want Jesus killed for money. Do we see the progression of a thief turning into a murderer? This is the nature of sin, it grows to destroy our desire for what is right. The chief priests were looking for an opportunity to arrest Jesus when the crowds were not around. Judas knew the place on the mount of Olives where Jesus spent his nights in essential solitude. Judas used his personal knowledge of Jesus against him. 

How did Jesus feel and react to what Judas was doing?  His own physical brothers labelled him as ‘insane’ Jn. 7:5-10, Mk. 3:21. Jesus wasn’t the first King to be betrayed. King David’s life was filled with betrayal, he started his reign wrestling with it, he warns those who had deserted him for Saul: “the God of our fathers look thereon and judge” (1 Ch 12:17). Later still, the pain of betrayal was to come personally to him by his own son Absalom.  To feel the inward piercing of treacherous lies was the deep consequence of deception God warns us about in the Proverbs 25:9-10, and that is what Jesus felt before he was beaten, scourged & crucified. It’s worse to be tortured when you know that even a ‘friend’ is against you. If we know the reasons for betrayal, we may avoid committing it ourselves. God pleads, do not grieve His Holy Spirit, Ephesians 4:30. In the betrayal, God’s Spirit in Jesus must have sunken to a depth unknown before. John 3:31-34.

Job 32-33

 Elihu may not be a close friend in Job’s life, but he is an observer that is concerned about God’s relationship with Job. So far, we have encountered, Bildad the Shuhite, Zophar the Naamathite, and Eliphaz the Temanite.  These three friends of Job have left the observer Elihu frustrated. But since Elihu is the youngest of them all, he has patiently waited to see some wisdom from the elderly, and Elihu is disappointed to see that an answer to Job’s suffering is still missing.  Job is indeed viewing his position with God as righteous, but do not forget that Job has admitted to being a sinner, 7:20-21. Job refuses to link the cause of his suffering directly to whatever sin he has committed in the past. From our Christian perspective, we can realize that the consequences of sin affect us painfully in this life and we have an anchor of hope in Jesus, who suffered unjustly from the consequences of our sin.  So can we see that Job’s suffering is directly linked to sin in this world, and not necessarily sin in Job’s heart?  

The key insight Elihu offers is that no matter how much we hate suffering, it still can be used fairly or unfairly to teach us something about God, 33:14.  Back in 4:13, Eliphaz claimed that a revelation had come to him in a dream. Job declared that God had frightened him with dreams and visions, 7:14. The lesson that God the Teacher wants to get across through suffering is to turn us away from sin and to defeat arrogance in us, 33:17. God’s motivation for teaching this lesson is His mercy. God wants to rescue our souls from the Pit and our lives from violent ends, 33:18. Elihu says God is so merciful and desirous of our salvation that He is willing to do all of this twice and even three times to rescue a soul from the Pit of destruction and bless a person with the light of life, 33:29-30. We must never forget that Jesus is the Light of the world. John 8:12, Matthew 5:14 & 2Corinthians 4:4.  

The 3 friends (miserable comforters) of Job were right in that God does punish evil. However, that is not an adequate explanation for all suffering. It is true that God chastens and teaches us through suffering. Hebrews is a treatise on this subject. The recipients of the letter to the Hebrews were suffering because of their faith because they were doing the right thing. As a result, they were tempted to give up on Jesus, Heb. 4:1-13. The writer reminds the Hebrew Christians that Jesus suffered and learned the meaning of obedience through out the experience, Heb. 5:8. God was dealing with them as a father disciplines his children. If we do not receive chastening, we have no real father (Heb. 12:3-8). The purpose of our suffering is to enable us to come at the end of our life to the heavenly Zion and to enjoy God’s presence in a greater way than we do now in Jesus, Heb. 12:22-24.  Any chastening we endure is worth this grand purpose.  C.S. Lewis observed that suffering we endure can be what he called, “severe mercy”. It seems severe, but the long-range impact is in fact merciful, for in fact that disappointment we endure now may save us from a worse fate later.   

Elihu said wisdom doesn’t always come from the aged, 32:9, God can give it to any of us at any age, Mat. 21:16. Share it when you have it, for we may not have it long!

Jesus Questioned by Enemies

It seems that once Jesus was back in the Temple complex, and upset the leaders with his rebuke towards the sellers, he was inundated with questions and a plot to take his life. If Jesus answered any of their questions wrongly, his critics (the leaders) would have good reason to turn the public against him. The Leaders don’t attempt to face Jesus down directly on these questions, instead they send their students to ask questions. This makes the deceitful plan look innocent, (Mt. 22:15-16).   The fact that “Herodians” were also sent by the Pharisees is an act of desperation to use any means necessary to pin a charge on Jesus. For quite a while they had been mindful of using the Herodians to kill him, Mk. 3:6.

1. Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar or not? If Jesus answered simply, “yes”, then the Pharisees would have reason to turn the people against him.  If he said “no”, then the Herodians could charge him with insurrection and sentence him to death. The reason Jesus gave a two-fold answer is because of God’s wisdom in Romans 13:1-7. Without knowing the view of God (his wisdom), our life becomes confusing.

2. In the resurrection, whose wife will she be, for all seven had her as wife? The Sadducees were in the crowd of inquirers. They may not be investing in a plot to kill him, but they would love to confuse him, and prove to the public that He is not the Messiah (Christ). They faced resurrected people with only the bleak end of dying again to lay in peaceful rest with The Father.  They can not accept the resurrection into eternal life, because it poses too many unsolvable problems. They do not know about the power of God to surpass all our present problems. Jesus interjects with God’s authority, a new revelation. After the resurrection, there is no marriage! That is powerful. Our bodies described in 1Cor. 15:40-45,52, will be in no need of pro-creation, nor will we have sexual desires, we will be changed!  Without knowing the power of God, our life becomes sinful.

3. Which commandment is the greatest and first of all?  A Lawyer asked this one, he is also described as a Pharisee. Jesus gave noble motives to him for replying intelligently in Mk. 12:34. When we use logic to make conclusions or application from the words of Jesus, we are drawing nearer to His reign. The Beroeans had fair minds, because they applied them to the Scriptures, Acts 17:11.  Loving God is paramount to unity, happiness and eternal rewards. Without knowing the word of God our life becomes pointless. 

DAVID HIMSELF CALLS HIM (the Christ) “LORD”,   HOW THEN, CAN THE MESSIAH (Christ) BE HIS (David’s) SON? Jesus is quoting Psalm 110:1. Where David prophesies the Messiah to be the Lord Himself. In the Jews mindset, the Messiah (Christ) would be a physical son of David which the Lord would use to oust oppressing enemies and restore David’s Kingdom in Israel, Acts 1:6.  But Jesus wasn’t interested in a physical Kingdom, only a spiritual one, because he is God. Lk. 17:20-21. Jesus knew that to make himself God would truly light a fire in their hateful hearts and set their plot running to kill him. Jesus was in control of the timing of his own death. For this moment, they quit trying to find a just reason for killing him. These are guilty of the “greater sin”, Jn. 19:11.