BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 28, Day 2: Matthew 27:32-50

Summary of passage:  Simon from Cyrene carried Jesus’ cross for him as Jesus was too weak.  They went to Golgotha where Jesus was offered wine to drink which he refused.  They crucified him and divided up his clothes.  They kept watch over him and his crime (king of the Jews) was placed over his head.  Two robbers were crucified with him.  Passer-bys hurled insults at him, telling Jesus to come down from the cross with his powers and if he were the Son of God, they would believe him then.  The robbers insulted Jesus as well.

Jesus cried to God, asking why he has been forsaken.  The observers thought he was calling Elijah.  Then Jesus cried once more and died.

Questions:

3a)  Leviticus 4:12, 21:  The end of sin and burnt offerings.

Leviticus 4:28-29; 5:5:  The end of sin offerings and atonement by a priest.

Deuteronomy 21:22-23:  No one who is cursed any more who accept Jesus as their atonement sacrifice.

2 Corinthians 5:21:  Jesus took our sins so we are now righteous before God.

Hebrews 13:11-13:  Jesus’ blood made us holy

1 Peter 1:18-19:  Jesus’ blood redeemed us.

1 Peter 2:24:  Jesus bore our sins on the cross so that we might die to sin and live for righteousness.  By his wounds we have been healed.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  All say the same thing essentially:  Jesus died for us and our sins so we can be with God.  This is unfathomable in its magnitude and comforting that I am saved even though I don’t deserve it.

4a)  This is difficult to conjecture without knowing whether Simon was a Jew, a believing Jew in Jesus, or a Roman or pagan.  He saw the people mocking Jesus and spitting on him.  He saw the anger towards Jesus.  He saw how Jesus was the walking dead, taking his last steps on this earth.  He saw Jesus’ blood everywhere from his wounds.  Hopefully, he felt sympathy for Jesus and thought how cruel people and the Romans are.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Truthfully, it doesn’t do anything for me.  Again, not enough information to say anything about Alexander and Rufus.  Were they good people or bad?  Does it matter?  We can’t honestly make a connection between Jesus’ death and Simon’s sons.  It would only be a conjecture.  And I myself prefer facts.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  How evil, indifferent, selfish, and callous man truly is.  How we all killed Jesus.  How we are all undeserving of the aftermath.  How without God we’d just be common animals living off of instincts.  With Jesus, there is hope.  Without Jesus, there is death.

Conclusions:  Disappointed to say the least in this lesson.  Nothing concrete.  Too much personal application.  Too much conjecture.  I weary of looking up verses that say the same thing.  Would have liked questions such as:  Why was Jesus’ clothes divided up?  What does it mean to mix wine with gall?  Why did Pilate put “King of the Jews” above Jesus?  Did Pilate himself believe Jesus to be King of the Jews?  Why did the people think Jesus was calling Elijah?  Why would they offer him wine vinegar?  Here, I would have liked to compare the other passages as well on Jesus’ crucifixion.

End Notes:  Jesus’ march to the place of crucifixion would have been horrendous and excruciatingly painful. The march served as a warning to others about what happened to those who committed crimes against Rome.  Typically, a Roman on horseback would have led the way, shouting out the crimes of those condemned.  They would have taken the longest route possible so that as many as possible could see (since there was no TV back then).

The victim was forced to carry the crossbar, usually naked, and usually tied to it.  This weighed any where from 75-125 pounds.  The place of crucifixion would be a popular thoroughfare so as many as possible would witness this scene in Jesus’ case Golgotha (known as Calvary in Latin).  This is a low hill outside of Jerusalem.

Crucifixion is an excruciating death (in fact our word excruciating means “of or out of the cross”).  Last week, I mentioned this site which has great photos of the crossbeam, the cross, the process of crucifixion, and the medical reasons behind death.  Four Roman soldiers were appointed to do the process who were skilled in the proper techniques.  View HERE

Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Jesus, describes crucifixion in amazing detail as well as all of Jesus’ life.

Roman citizens could not be crucified unless upon order of the emperor himself.  Romans considered themselves above such a heinous act.  That should give you some clue how horrendous crucifixion is.

Knowing exactly what Jesus endured can only deepen our love for our Savior.  Please take the time to learn more.

Much is made by BSF about Simon of Cyrene.  Cyrene is in Northern Africa and scholars believe he was probably in Jerusalem to celebrate Passover, making him a Jew.  However, he could have been a trader or merchant as well.  He was definitely forced to bear the cross, probably unwillingly since who would want to carry a heavy beam for a stranger and feel the crowds’ anger.

Map of Cyrene in Libya:  http://www.combinedops.com/PHOTOS%20GENERAL/Eastmed%20Map.jpg

Golgotha, meaning Place of the Skulls, was the traditional place to crucify victims.  As dead bodies are considered ceremonially unclean, this took place outside of the city.

The wine mixed with gall was a pain-numbing, mind-numbing drink so the victims wouldn’t suffer quite so much.  It would be similar to drinking alcohol before amputation in the nineteenth century or local anesthesia today.  In Mark, this drink is outright declined.  Jesus chose to suffer completely for us.

The Roman soldiers, upon completion of the process, staying to make sure the victim died and no one rescued them.  In the past, some people did survive after being left for dead on the cross.

Jesus shows us how we can endure scorn:  silently and with love.

The sixth hour to the ninth hour was from noon to about 3 pm in Roman time.  An unusual darkness clouded the land. I imagine this as God’s sorrow and his wrath upon man.  Mark 15 tells us Jesus hung on the cross for about 6 hours.

Significance of Jesus’ cries:  Jesus quotes Psalm 22:1.  Right before death, Jesus experiences the taking upon of our sins and God looks upon Christ as if he is a sinner.  He feels God’s wrath upon man.  Jesus feels a partial separation from God.  In this moment, Jesus is grieved and cries out to God and asks why.  This is the only time in the Bible it is recorded that Jesus DOES NOT call God “Father”.

Paul makes it clear God never abandoned Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:19).  But Jesus did experience sin and hate.  God laid our sins upon Jesus and he bore it.  And that is why he cried out.  God had briefly turned His face.

Note it’s the spiritual suffering that made Jesus cry out.  The physical suffering of his body he was silent. But he couldn’t take the brief moment of turning away of God.  I’m sure the angels in heaven were singing Jesus’ name.

Us stupid humans misunderstood Jesus and thought he was calling upon Elijah.  Will we ever understand?

Jesus was conscious to the end (most crucifixion victims lost consciousness or were too exhausted to speak) and was able to say a final word as John 19:30 tells us “It is finished”.  This is one word in Greek.

We must remember Jesus voluntarily died for our sins (“he gave up his spirit).  His life was not taken from him as ours is.  Jesus could never die unless he chose to die for it is sin that kills us.  He chose to bear our sins and forfeit his life.

Some say Jesus died of a broken heart.  I would say it broke but then was perfected by God in heaven!

In John 19 the priests throw a fit over the sign which read “King of the Jews”.  They protested to Pilate who said “What I have written, I have written.”  Sad how a pagan believes in Jesus and supposedly the closest men to God refuse.

I like Luke 23 who records some of Jesus’ final words and how some of these final words are spoken to women.  Luke also has my favorite quote from Jesus’ death “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).  We are forgiven despite our ignorance and stupidity.  Very, very comforting.

Fun Fact:  One-third of all 4 Gospels are devoted to Jesus’ final week of life in Jerusalem.

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BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 27, Day 5: Matthew 27:11-31; Luke 23:1-12

Summary of passages:  Matthew 27:11-31:  Pilate now questions Jesus and lays out the charges against him.  Jesus only answers one questions, acknowledging he is the king of the Jews.  Following custom, Pilate allows the crowd to release one prisoner at Passover.  Pilate’s wife warns him to not to have anything to do with Jesus because she had a bad dream about him.  But the Sanhedrin convinces the crowd to release Barabbas instead of Jesus.  Pilate asks why because Jesus is innocent but the crowd is insistent.  So Pilate washes his hands of the crime and the people take responsibility.  He then flogs Jesus.

Pilate’s soldiers stripped Jesus and put a scarlet robe upon him and a crown of thorns on his head.  They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him.  They spit on him and hit him over the head with the staff.  Then they removed the robe and put his won clothes back on him.  Then they led him away to be crucified.

Luke 23:1-12:  The Sanhedrin marches Jesus off to Pilate, saying he is subverting the nation by opposing paying taxes to Caesar and claiming to be the Messiah.  Jesus admits to being the king of the Jews.  Pilate admits there are no crimes against him.  The crowd insisted.  Pilate learns he is a Galilean so Pilate hands him over to Herod to deal with.  Herod was eager to question Jesus since he had heard so much about him and was hoping to see a miracle but Jesus refused to answer.

Finally, Herod ridicules and mocks Jesus.  They dress him in a robe and send him back to Pilate. Pilate and Herod become friends.

Questions:

11a)  Herod wanted Jesus to perform a miracle.  Jesus said nothing to Herod.

b)  Herod killed John the Baptist.

c)  He was curious.  He believed Jesus performed miracles and he wanted to know more.  That’s why he kept John the Baptist alive as well.  He was intrigued by their teachings of God and Jesus.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  If you come to Jesus just seeking a miracle for the sake of seeing a miracle, you won’t get it.  If you come to Jesus asking for a miracle when you don’t believe or accept him, you won’t get it either.  Jesus won’t answer you if your heart is wrong.

12a)  Pilate says so:  Luke 23:4:  “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”

He repeats his conclusions in Luke 23:13:  “I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him.  Neither has Herod…He has done nothing to deserve death.  Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”

Luke 23:20:  “Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them [the people] again.”

Luke 23:22:  “For the third time, he [Pilate] spoke to the them [the people] ‘I have found no grounds for the death penalty.'”

Matthew 27:23:  Pilate says to the crowd who calls for his crucifixion “Why?  What crime has he committed?”

Matthew 27:24:  Pilate washes his hands in front of the crowd and says “I am innocent of this man’s blood.  It is your responsibility.”

Pilate’s wife believed him innocent as well.  Matthew 27:19:  “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man.”

John 18:38:  Pilate says “I find on basis for a charge against him.”

John 19:4:  Pilate says again “I find no basis for a charge against him.

John 19:12:  “From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting.”

Mark 15:14:  Pilate asks the crowd who wants Jesus crucified, “Why?  What crime has he committed?”

b) Out of envy Matthew 27:18 & Mark 15:10

c)  Because if Jesus was a king, he would be opposing Caesar and that was a crime justifying death.  Mark says specifically that Pilate only hands over Jesus for execution to please the crowd (Mark 15:15).

In my opinion from reading all the passages, I would say Pilate executed Jesus to please the crowds.  During Passover, there were thousands of Jews in Jerusalem–more than the number of Roman soldiers.  The crowd could have easily turned into a rebellion and overpowered the soldiers.

He was probably also tired of trying to reason with crowd mentality where reason does not exist.  So he gave in in order to prevent violence.  I actually did a post on how Jesus was killed by crowd mentality a while back.  You can read that HERE

The fact of the matter is no one person killed Jesus.  We did.  With our sins.  He had to die to save us.  We are all responsible.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  The amazing love God has for us to send his son to die for us sinners so He can be with us.  Jesus was innocent.  We are the guilty ones.  Yet now we can live.  Amazing!

Conclusions:  Not for sure why BSF did not have us finish reading the whole Luke passage of Jesus with Pilate especially in light of question 12a where we see Pilate 3 times beg for Jesus’ life but the people were insistent.  Ironic how a lot of people believe it was Pilate and the Romans that killed Jesus when in reality it was the Jews and the very people Jesus came to save.

Jesus actually appeared before Pilate 2 times.  BSF here had us read the first time Jesus appeared before Pilate in Luke.  Keep reading Luke and you will read the second time he appears before Pilate which is what Matthew records.  Matthew records the 2nd time only and not the first.  Hence why BSF has us comparing the first with the second is baffling to me instead of the second with the second.  Read all of Luke and you’ll get the full picture.

Not for sue why BSF did not have us read Mark’s version either of these events especially in light of question 12c where Mark’s reasoning is different than John’s.  I would recommend reading it (Mark 15:1-20).

I can imagine this is only a tiny bit of what happened on that day that is recorded.  I’d love to have more details, wouldn’t you?

We killed Jesus.  With our sins.  I think if we truly absorbed that fact into our souls we’d all be better people.

To this day, our sins sadden God.  He wants so much for us.  So much He’d kill his only Son.  We should all meditate on that fact, absorb its meaning, and be more like Jesus.  For God’s sake if not for our own.

End Notes:  Let’s remember how Pilate first sees Jesus:  beaten and bloodied (Matthew 26:67)–nothing like a king that the Jews are accusing him of being.  Pilate probably thought the Sanhedrin was wasting his time and had hoped to be done with this quickly.

Instead the governor was amazed that Jesus would stood in defied silence.  Whereas most people facing death would defend themselves and do anything to save their lives, Jesus stood.  God was Jesus’ defense.

I can only imagine the presence Jesus had.  I’m sure when he walked into a room, all eyes would land upon him.  There had to be something about him, something majestic and holy, that would draw you to him.  Would have been a sight to see!

Telling the power of the Sanhedrin when they convince the people to release Barabbas who is a revolutionist murderer who tried to overthrow Rome (Mark 15:7).  That was the power of the religious rulers of that day (and the power of false prophets then and now).  Why we should all be thankful that we live in a democracy (those of us that do).  So that innocent people aren’t executed without cause.

Can you imagine Pilate’s wife’s dream?  It must have been powerful for her to send a message to her husband.  This was God’s mercy in play, trying to spare Pilate eternal hell.  He rejected it as so many do.

The fact that the Jews themselves would chose crucifixion (a Roman invention the Jews absolutely hated) speaks to the evilness of man.

The name Barabbas means “the son of the father” in Hebrew (Good Bible references on Barabbas HERE.  Note “abba” in his name.).  The people were fooled and chose the wrong Son.  Like so many do today.  And they will when they embrace the anti-Christ in the future.  Jesus took the cross for Barabbas.  And us.

In the end, Pilate was a coward who denied Jesus justice.  He kowtowed to the rabble and thus went down in infamy.  He washed his hands but not his soul.  He alone held the power to save Jesus as the representative of Rome and he turned away.  How God’s heart must have broke at that moment.

Ironic how the crowd asked for Jesus’ blood–which is what we all must ask for to be saved.  They were saving themselves and didn’t even know it.  Only God can work in such ways.

This same crowd had hailed Jesus only a few days before and cried “Hosanna!” (Save) is now crying “Crucify!” (Die).  If only they had known….

Notes on Scourging:  In Bill O’Reilly’s book Killing Jesus this is described in depth (as well as crucifixion).  The NIV calls this flogging but this was beyond normal flogging.  The Romans scourged every one except women and Roman citizens who were sentenced to die on the cross. This entailed a whip with multiple strips of leather that had bone shards or metal at the end. These cut into the skin and muscle and caused massive blood loss, weakening the prisoner and causing death in some cases.  The goal was to extract a confession.  When the confession was gained, the blows would lessen and stop.  Jesus, having nothing to confess, remained silent. Hence, his beating never lessened.

Picture of Scouraging HERE

Picture of Crucifixion HERE

Description and Pictures of Praetorium HERE

Life of Pilate HERE and HERE

On Lesson 27, Day 2 we were asked how Jesus was humiliated.  I answered just by his disciples forsaking him.  Here, is where the real humiliation took place (Matthew 27:27-31).  The whole company of soldiers watched as Jesus was stripped naked.  This is a culture where everyone wore a lot of clothes.  Skin was hardly shown.  Most wore robes to the ground and had sleeves.  Most were in layers.  To expose body parts was considered indecent.  So stripping Jesus when he would have been used to being fully clothed all the time would have been devastating.

Scarlet was the color reserved for royalty and the elite.  In Rome, only the emperor could wear purple because it was the most expensive color cloth at the time.  Scarlet as well was a deep red, again, an expensive color to make.  This was meant to mock Jesus as well.

Most rulers wore crowns.  The crown of thorns would have bloodied Jesus immediately.

Most rulers carried ornate, intricately-carved scepters as a symbol of their power.  Here, Jesus is handed a reed, a stiff grass similar to bamboo.  Then the soldiers beat him with the reed.  They stripped him again and led him away.  Does man get any crueler than this?  To literally spit in God’s face, humiliate Him, and beat Him.  Should bring us all to our knees…

Side Note:  How did Matthew hear of this scene anyways when it was only observed by the Roman soldiers?  Had to have been from one of the soldiers himself.  Makes one wonder if Matthew did interviews for his book like they do today or if a Roman soldier, having witnessed this, came to Christ.  Another question for heaven!

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 27, Day 4: Matthew 26:69-27:10; Luke 22:59-62; John 18:12-27

Summary of passages:  Matthew 26:69-27:10:  Peter was sitting outside Jesus’ trial when a servant girl came up and asked him if he were with Jesus of Galilee.  He denied it.  He went to the gateway where another girl told others Peter was with Jesus of Nazareth.  He denied it again with an oath this time.  The people came up to him after a bit and said that he must be with Jesus because of his accent.  Peter cursed himself and swore for a third time he did not know Jesus.  A rooster crowed and Peter then realized what he had done and Jesus had been right.  He then wept bitterly at his own sin.

In the morning, the Sanhedrin meets to officially proclaim Jesus guilty of blasphemy and sentence him to death.  They hand him over to Pilate who must agree as anyone executed must be approved by the Romans.

Judas was seized with remorse when he saw Jesus was going to be killed.  He returned the 30 silver coins and admitted he betrayed innocent blood.  They didn’t care and Judas threw the coins into the temple.  Then he hung himself.  The chief priests could not use the money since it was blood money so they bought a potter’s field with the money for burial of foreigners.  That is why it is called the Field of Blood.  This fulfilled prophecy by Jeremiah.

Luke 22:59-62:  Luke describes the scene as Peter is sitting nearby Jesus and denies him in his presence.  Peter denies Jesus 3 times and on the third time the rooster crows.  Jesus turned and looked straight at Peter.  Peter then remembered Jesus’ words.  Peter then fled and wept.

John 18:12-27:  Jesus was taken to Annas first.  Peter and another disciple followed Jesus.  The other disciple was known to the high priest and was allowed to enter the high priest’s courtyard with Jesus but Peter had to wait outside.  The other disciple gained permission for Peter to enter.  Peter denies the Lord when asked and all are huddled around a fire as it was cold.

Jesus was enduring questioning at the time and told them to ask those who heard him these questions.  Jesus was struck for his suggestion and sent to Caiaphas next.  Peter then denied Jesus 2 more times and the crow crowed.

Questions:

8a)  Peter was asked by a servant girl if he were with Jesus.  Peter denied this. (Matthew 26: 69-70).

Another girl saw Peter and told others that he was with Jesus.  Peter denied this with an oath (Matthew 26:71-72).

People went up to Peter and said he had to be one of those with Jesus because of his accent.  Peter’s denial escalated.  He called down curses on himself and swore he did not know Jesus (Matthew 26:73-74).

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  To me, Peter’s denial increases and so does his passion.  Man is like this today.  You get so caught up in the lies and the deception that they perpetuate themselves until it reaches a breaking point like it did with Peter when the crow rang and Peter was hit with Jesus’ prophecy.  It starts out with a small lie or denial but to cover that lie you have to lie again and even bigger and then to cover that lie you lie some more until you may actually believe your lies.

Then you usually fall and the fall is so big you weep.  We must all stay true to God and ourselves to avoid what happened to Peter.

9a)  Peter sinned mainly due to ignorance and out of fear.  Judas sinned for greed and personal aggrandizement.  Note how Peter cried:  this is a sign of repentance.  Note how Judas threw his coins and stomped off like a two-year old being denied a treat at the store.  This is anger at the reaction from the Sanhedrin, not anger at his own actions or a desire to amend.

Peter learned from his sins and grew to do the Lord’s will.  Peter accepted his sins and God’s forgiveness for them.  Judas was too overcome with guilt that he took the easy way out and killed himself.  He didn’t go to God afterwards.  He couldn’t forgive himself like God can.

b)  By taking Jesus’ work and extending it.  By founding the church along with others and God and growing the spread of Christianity.

c)  Definition of repentance according to Webster’s Dictionary is “to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life; to feel regret or contrition for”.  The definition of sorry from Webster’s Dictionary is “feeling sorrow, regret, or penitence; mournful, sad”.  Judas felt sad about what he did but he didn’t turn from his sins and dedicate his life to Christ afterwards.  To repent is to want to do better and be better and change your ways.  To be sorry is just a temporary feeling of regret but no changes are made in behavior or attitude.

d)  We are all responsible for our sins.  We are all granted Free Will.  No one makes us choose to sin or turn from God.  That is our choice given to us by God.  We must choose Him and His ways.  If we don’t, that is our fault.

10)  The biggest contrast is not the questioning itself for in both cases the questioning escalated but in the handling of the questioning.  Jesus exhibited grace, calm, and love at all times.  He let man’s accusations fall off.  He spoke only when necessary and did not fire back.  Peter became more and more agitated and it showed up to the point he had denied Jesus three times before it dawned on him what had happened.  Peter let fear for his own life supercede his love for Christ.  He doubted God’s protection.  Self became more important.  A warning to us all.

Conclusions:  Loved this lesson!  Such a warning to us about staying true to God.  Staying true to ourselves.  Letting God take our fears and anxieties.  Answering out of love and compassion and not self-righteousness or anger.  And in the end trusting in God’s plan as Jesus did–even if it’s not what we’d choose.

Did not like question 9d.  Reflects what’s wrong with American society today:  it’s never my fault, it’s someone else’s.  Of course Judas is responsible for his sin.  To suggest otherwise is ludicrous.  But people today are always looking for an out.  Some medical condition or what-have-you that makes you sin and is a crutch to lean on.

I did like the flippancy in the Sanhedrin’s response to Judas.  Judas was seeking some kind of consolation for his mistake but was denied.  Too often today people are coddled when they sin instead of reprimanded.  Our society would be better off if more of us took the Sanhedrin’s approach to sin:  “That’s your responsibility.”  Not that we shouldn’t help others overcome.  But that we must ensure proper acceptance and repentance before healing can take place.

I loved Luke’s nugget of how Jesus turned and looked straight at Peter after his third denial.  Can you imagine?  You deny Jesus in his presence???  I cannot imagine the shame and grief Peter experienced.  Although I think I’d be a better person if I knew Jesus were in the room with me at all times.

End Notes:  If you are cursing yourself, I would say you are so agitated and so out of control that you don’t know what you are doing.  Yet Peter was granted two gifts from God here:  the love, forgiveness, and encouragement in Jesus’ face as he met Peter’s and the memory of Jesus’ words, which shocked him into repentance.  We know how to be better.  Sometimes we have to remember how to be so.

Like I said, this was the real trial in the daylight and Pilate, the Roman governor, was the only one who had the authority to execute men.  Pilate’s normal residence was on the coast of Caesarea but he was required to be in Jerusalem for Passover to show  his support for the Jewish people.  Bill O’Reilly’s book, Killing Jesus, has much more detail on this.  Pilate (as we’ll see) was not an easy sell:  he did believe Jesus innocent and recognized the trumped up charges but he bowed to the will of the people (Matthew 27:17-19).

The biggest irony that gets me is Jesus is condemned by the people whom he came to save and had only shown mercy and love to.  Who amongst us would do that?

Judas was sorry for the result of his sin, not sorry for the actual sin itself.  He didn’t want Jesus to die; but, he would have sold him out again if given the chance.

By throwing the money at the priests, Judas was saying they were guilty as well.  The priests would not touch the money now even though it was theirs to begin with (hypocrisy, anyone?).

A burial ground was considered unclean.  Hence, it suited the priests to use the money for that purpose.

Some scholars say the fact Judas hung himself is a contradiction of Acts 1:18-19 where Judas fell headlong and his body burst open.  If Judas hung himself, his body would not be defiled so it wouldn’t have been touched.  Hence, it might have been thrown into the field and left to rot and spill open.

There is also controversy about the quote at the end of the passage attributed to Jeremiah because it appears in the book of Zechariah 11:12-13 instead.  Some say this was just a clerical error when copying of the Bible took place.  Some say Zechariah was the one who recorded Jeremiah’s words.  Some think both the books of Jeremiah and Zechariah were recorded at the same time and thus appeared in one book, so Matthew was referring to the same book when he wrote his.

To me, this is a detail I can wait to discover.  God said it all so which prophet said it or recorded it is no big deal in my book.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 27, Day 3: Matthew 26:57-68; 27:1-2; John 18:12-14, 19-24

Summary of passages: Matthew 26:57-68; 27:1-2: Jesus was taken before Caiaphas, the high priest and other teachers of the law and elders. Peter followed Jesus to see the outcome. They were looking for false evidence against Jesus so they could kill him but they did not find any despite the false witnesses. Two said Jesus had claimed he could destroy the temple and rebuild it in 3 days. Jesus refused to answer these charges.

Caiaphas asked him if he was the Christ, the Son of God. To this, Jesus did reply and said he would be sitting at the right hand of God and coming on clouds of heaven. Caiaphas tore his clothes and accused Jesus of blasphemy. The Sanhedrin agreed and they spit in his face and slapped him. Then they led him to Pilate.

John 18:12-14; 19-24: Jesus was arrested and brought first to Anna, the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest, who was the one who wanted someone to die for the people.

Jesus, weary of being questioned, told Annas that he has always spoken openly and to ask those who heard him these tedious questions. Jesus was struck in the face for his flippant remarks and asked why for he told nothing untrue. Annas sent him to Caiaphas.

Questions:

5a) Annas

b)  Annas was Caiaphas’ father-in-law and an ex-high priest.

6a) Phase 1: The chief priests and Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus (Matthew 26:59-60) but they could not find any.

Phase 2: Two witnesses testified that Jesus had said he could destroy the temple and then have it rebuilt in 3 days. Here Jesus refused to reply. (Matthew 26:61-62)  The Sanhedrin were trying to get Jesus on a charge of trying to destroy the temple–a crime that would result in death.  However, John points out Jesus is speaking about the body (John 2:21) and by Jesus refusing to answer this, the Sanhedrin cannot prove anything.

Phase 3: Jesus was asked if he was the Son of God. He answered in the affirmative and was declared guilty of blasphemy here (even though Jesus was innocent since he is the Son of God), sentenced to death, and smacked around.  (Matthew 26:64-67)

b)  All of the chief priests and elders (the Sanhedrin) met officially to confirm the verdict from last night.  They came to the consensus to put Jesus to death and they bound him and brought him to Pilate. [Read Luke 22:66-71 for details on this trial].

7a) He quoted Daniel 7, saying in the future they would see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven.

b)  Jesus admits he is the Son of God but also says he will be the final judge when he sits at God’s right hand.  The roles will be reversed and he in the end will judge them for all of eternity.

c)  Blasphemy according to Webster’s Dictionary is “the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God; the act of claiming attributes of a deity; irreverence toward something considered sacred or inviolable.”  Thus, what Jesus was was true:  he is the Son of God and can therefore justly claim attributes of God and in no way be showing contempt for God.

Conclusions:  It’s like Jesus, knowing his destiny was set in motion and he was heading for death, was eager to get it over with.  He answered no questions and told them to ask others instead.  He wearied of watching the sins of man as they tried (and failed miserably) to justify killing him.

End Notes:  Annas was a previous high priest so the text can be confusing in John.  It is Annas who questions Jesus as well before Caiaphas and Annas is also still called the high priest.  Just like we call former governors of states still governors and Presidents still President, etc.  He kept his title for life.

Hence, Jesus was questioned several times that night.  By Annas.  By Caiaphas who gathered some Sanhedrin at his house.  And in Luke 22:66-71 the Sanhedrin officially assemble.

Everything about this trial broke Jewish law:  a nighttime trial, a trial during Passover, false witnesses who escaped punishment, presumption of innocence, waiting a day after a guilty verdict, etc.  This shows how desperate the high priests were to get rid of Jesus.

They ask Jesus about his threat to destroy the temple.  Jesus is silent.  John tells us Jesus was referring to his body (John 2:21).

Jesus’ silence and refusal to defend himself (although he could very well have with calling all the people he healed and others to testify to his miracles) frustrates Caiaphas to the point he called on Jesus to answer in the name of God.  Jesus did, simply, but followed by a warning:  I will be judging you in the future.

Finally, the get Jesus to admit he is the Son of God, which is blasphemy (the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God) if it had been false.

They spit in Jesus’ face and slapped him.  Imagine God’s reaction in heaven.  It had to take some might to not send angels down and wipe the Sanhedrin off the face of the earth.  As parents, I’m sure we all can relate.

Man is born God’s enemy (Romans 5:10, Colossians 1:21).  So we shouldn’t be shocked that they’d treat Jesus this way because probably in their hearts they knew Jesus was God’s Son.

Jesus protects his disciples to the end, not answering questions about them when asked.  Peter follows Jesus, determined to show he won’t be the one to deny him.  Still naive, huh Peter?

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 27, Day 2: Matthew 26:47-56; John 18:1-11

Summary of passages:  Matthew 26:47-56:  Judas arrives as Jesus is with the other disciples in Gethsemane.  There is a large crowd armed with swords and clubs with him.  Judas kissed Jesus, his sign to the guards as to which one was Jesus.  Jesus was seized and one of the disciples cut off a servant’s ear.  Jesus chastised him, saying to put his sword back for all who draw the sword die by the sword.  Jesus said he could easily escape if he wanted to but instead must fulfill Scripture.

Jesus spoke to the crowd, wondering why they are armed.  The disciples all abandoned Jesus.

John 18:1-11:  Jesus left the Kidron Valley and went over to an olive grove.  Judas familiar with the place came and brought soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and Pharisees.  They were carrying torches, lanterns, and weapons.

Jesus met them and asked who they were seeking.  They answered, “Jesus of Nazarth.”  Jesus said, “I am he” and they drew back and fell to the ground.  He asked they let his disciples go.  Simon Peter drew his sword and cut off Malchus’s, the servant of the high priest, ear.  Jesus told him to put his sword away so he could drink the cup the Father has given him.

Questions:

3a)  Simon Peter

b)  The soldiers could have attacked and killed all of them including Jesus who would then not have been able to die on the cross for our sins as well as killing the disciples who spread the Good News to the world.

c)  He still didn’t understand that this was Jesus’ destiny and God’s plan because he tried to prevent it.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I can’t answer this.  I’m not for sure.  I believe all things have a purpose and in my adult life I believe I have been following God.  Even if it’s turns out to be wrong because I misinterpreted Him or heard wrongly, it is still His purpose for my life.

4a)  Matthew 26:56:  “Then all the disciples deserted him.”

Mark 14:50:  “Then everyone deserted him and fled.”

[Side Note:  Several sources I read said Jesus was humiliated by his arrest.  As I note below, Jesus willingly gave himself up to the soldiers.  I don't see  how he would be humiliated because of this.  However, I believe the fact that his brothers in arms (the disciples) fled would have brought shame and grief to Jesus' soul more so than being tied up and led to his destiny.]

b)  John 18:6:  “When Jesus said, ‘I am he,’ they drew back and fell to the ground.”

c)  He tells them immediately who he is and asks for his disciples to be freed (John 18:8).

Luke 22:51:  “No more of this!” and Jesus touched the man’s ear and healed him.

d)  John 18:9:  “This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled:  ‘I have not lost one of those you gave me’”.

John 18:11:  “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”

Matthew 26:54:  “But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”

Matthew 26:56:  “But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Mark 14:49:  “But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”

Luke 22:53:  “But this is your hour–when darkness reigns.”

Conclusions:  Loved this lesson except for the personal question that was a bit of a stretch as it assumes we know God’s mind in our lives.  Loved how we read all the passages of this scene in the Bible.  Great comparison study!

End Notes:  Again, it’s important to note that Jesus did not hide from Judas.  He could have gone somewhere Judas would not have known where to find him; but, instead, it was not God’s plan.

We never think of the disciples as carrying swords but at various times (as shown here) they did.  Probably for personal safety especially while traveling to ward off robbers and thieves.  Most men owned and knew how to use a sword in first century AD.

The number of soldiers in a legion varied over time.  This could have been anywhere between 5400 to 6000 fighting men.  Imagine 12 of these legions of angels, fighting for Jesus.  What an awesome sight to behold!

How quickly do the disciples abandon Jesus after saying they never would at the Last Supper.  Yet Jesus knew (Matthew 26:31).  Imagine his heart-break, seeing his staunchest believers blanch in the face of cowardice.

Arrested is not the right verb here.  Jesus willingly gave himself up.  The verb here is describing the actions of man, not of God.

Map of Garden of Gethsemane:  HERE

Curiosity:  Anyone else wonder how Gethsemane became a “garden”?  Matthew and Mark just describe it as a “place.”  Luke describes it as the place Jesus customarily went on the Mount of Olives.  John describes it as “across the Kidron Valley in an olive grove”.  Somehow it is now known as the “Garden of Gethsemane” where Jesus was arrested.  Probably lost in translation somewhere along down the line.  Either way it’s a secluded place, calm and peaceful, where Jesus retreated and was arrested that fateful night.

Scholars say it was in fact a garden as it is the second time God fights for mankind with the devil.  The first was in the Garden of Eden.  The second is here–in the Garden of Gethsemane.

If you visit Israel today, you can visit a place where scholars believe may have been the Garden of Gethsemane.   Click HERE to visit the official tourist website.  The garden and the olive trees were destroyed by the Romans in the siege of 70 AD but scholars believe these trees today are descendants of those original ones.  Click on the picture to enlarge the olive trees and you’ll get a sense of where Jesus stood.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 5: Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-42; Luke 22:39-46

Summary of passages:  Matthew 26:36-46:  Jesus and his disciples travel to Gethsemane where Jesus goes to pray, taking Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him.  He asks them to keep watch with him as Jesus is overcome with sorrow.  Jesus asks God to take his cup from him but only if it is God’s will.

Jesus returns after praying to find his disciples asleep.  He tells them to watch and pray and if they would do that, the spirit would give them the strength to stay awake.  Jesus goes away and prays a second time, the same prayer.  He came back to sleeping disciples again.  Jesus leaves them and goes away to pray the same prayer a third time.  He comes back and chastises the disciples, telling them he is about to be betrayed and they are sleeping!

Mark 14:32-42:  Jesus took his disciples to Gethsemane and told them to wait while he prayed.  Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him to keep watch over him as his soul was overwhelmed with sorrow.  Jesus prayed to God, saying take the cup from him as everything is possible for God but only if it be God’s will.  Jesus returns and specifically chastises Simon for falling asleep, saying the body is weak but the spirit is strong.

The same as Matthew here:  Jesus asks God twice more to take away his cup and his disciples are found sleeping while Jesus is turned over to sinners.

Luke 22:39-46:  Jesus went to the Mount of Olives with the disciples following him.  He told them to pray that they would not fall into temptation.  He withdrew a stone’s throw from them and prayed for God to take the cup from him if He was willing.  An angel from heaven appeared to strengthen Jesus.  Jesus prayed more fervently and his sweat was like blood falling to the ground.

Jesus rose and went back to his disciples and found them sleeping.  Jesus told them again to get up and pray so they wouldn’t fall into temptation.

Questions:

11a)  Gave up his earthly life.  He was beaten.  He gave up his will (to live) for God’s will (to die).

b)  He is angry and chastises them.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  He is sorrowful that is giving up his earthly life.  He asks to stay longer if it be God’s will.  He is sorrowful, troubled, and sad about giving up his life for others.  He knows the physical pain that is coming and he doesn’t want to experience that.  He feels just like us and needs God and God’s strength just like us.

12)  Mark tells us Jesus includes in his prayer to God that “everything is possible for him”.  Mark tells us Jesus specifically yells at Peter about falling asleep.

Luke is the passage that deviates the most from the other two.  Luke says that Jesus told all the disciples to pray that they would not fall into temptation and that presumably all of them fell asleep.  Jesus was only a stone’s throw from them while praying.  An angel from heaven appeared to Jesus as he was praying to strengthen him.  Sweat fell from Jesus like drops of blood to the ground.

13a)  Jesus prays the same thing 3 times “Father, if it be possible, may this cup be taken from me.  Yet not as I will, but as you will.”  Luke says God sent an angel to strengthen Jesus.

b)  Lord, thank you for strengthening Jesus in his time of need that allowed him to sacrifice his life for our sins so that we may be with you.  May we all embrace your will as Jesus did.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Conclusions:  I find it fascinating how one passage usually always differs from the others.  How God wanted different facts recorded it seems.  It shows how each of us remembers things a bit differently and some things about experiences stand out to us while different things stand out to others.

End Notes:  The name Gethsemane means “olive press” so the area was surrounded by olive trees.  Olives are crushed to make olive oil.  Fitting then how Jesus was soon to be crushed.

Note the cup of wrath or judgment that we discussed in Matthew 20 (Lesson 21 Day 4).  Jesus is taking the cup that was meant for all of us.

Gethsemane was the last place Jesus needed to win in order to take our sins.  Imagine if Jesus had turned his back on us here.  The whole world would not be the same.

Jesus needed the disciples prayers here for him and for themselves in order to not deny him.  They failed miserably if you will.

Note the example Jesus sets here with repeated prayer.  If Jesus can repeatedly ask God for things, so can we.

Jesus knew Judas was coming, but he did not run.  Instead, he waited for him.  Jesus was the one in control of events.  As he continues to be today.

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 26, Day 4: Matthew 26:31-35; Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:31-38

Summary of passages:  Matthew 26:31-35:  Jesus tells his disciples they all will fall away from him and he will rise and go ahead of them into Galilee.  Peter denied he ever would abandon the Lord but Jesus said he would 3 times.  Peter still denied it.

Mark 14:27-31:  Same as Matthew.

Luke 22:31-38:  Jesus says that Satan has asked to sift Simon Peter (test him) so Jesus has prayed for him that his faith may not fail and tells Peter to strengthen the brothers.  Peter says he is ready to go with Jesus to death.  Jesus says Peter will deny him 3 times before dawn.  Jesus tells the disciples to bring a purse, bag, or sword for they are about to be persecuted.

Questions:

8a)  Peter was arrogant and cocky.  He says he will never fall away after Jesus tells them all are going to and even after Jesus tells Peter he will deny him 3 times Peter says he won’t.  To deny someone 3 times is weak in my opinion

b)  He says he won’t fall away, not him.

c)  Peter thinks he won’t fall away and he’s sure of himself even to the point of death.  When one is over-confident, failure tends to happen.  He is more susceptible to tricks when he believes he isn’t.

9a)  God’s sovereignty over Satan:  Satan had to ask God for permission to “sift” Simon or test him.

The tempted Christian:  Jesus prays for us that our faith may not fail and that we will be stronger afterwards to strengthen others

Jesus:  Jesus prays for us and is with us throughout the temptation.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not for sure when I failed God knowingly although I’m sure I have failed many a time.  I definitely don’t feel like I have helped others because of my failures.  Hurt others would be more like it.

10a)  They will all fall away and Peter is going to deny Christ 3 times that night.

b)  Christ will rise and go ahead of them into Galilee.

Conclusions:  Easier than the previous days for the mere fact the passages are shorter and only covers one small event.  Question 8 should have been one question for the answers were all similar in nature.

End Notes:  By telling Peter he will deny him 3 times, Jesus is giving him a chance to pray to God to strengthen him for on his own, Peter is weak.  Peter, over-confident of his own abilities, dismisses Jesus’ claims–a mistake on Peter’s part that will haunt him the rest of his life.

As Peter demonstrates, it’s okay to stumble in our walk with Christ as long as we get back up. Peter made some mistakes but did he ever make up for them!  We are human and we will stumble.  To expect otherwise is unrealistic.