Greetings in Christ!
In our last post, Judas betrayed Jesus into the hands of the chief priests and the Pharisees, who then turned Jesus over to Annas and Caiaphas — the Sadducees who ran the temple (Luke 3:2). The Pharisees (the conservatives) and the Sadducees (the liberals) were willing to set aside their differences because of their mutual hatred of Jesus. A similar situation transpired between Herod Antipas and Pilate. (Luke 23:12) This phenomenon is still alive and well in the ecumenical movement. As world religions partner with one another to ‘coexist’ (as can be seen, for example in the recently opened Abrahamic Family House in the UAE) what we are seeing is the formation of the One World Religion of the beast and the false prophet. (Rev 13) The one thing these religions all agree on is Jesus is not the only way to the Father in heaven, as He clearly stated in John 14:6.
Father, give us understanding as we read thy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
14 Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.
Caiaphas made this statement in John 11. John tells us he spake this not of himself, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation. (John 11:51)
15 ¶ And Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple: that disciple was known unto the high priest, and went in with Jesus into the palace of the high priest.
The other disciple is John.
16 But Peter stood at the door without. Then went out that other disciple, which was known unto the high priest, and spake unto her that kept the door, and brought in Peter.
17 Then saith the damsel that kept the door unto Peter, Art not thou also one of this man’s disciples? He saith, I am not.
18 And the servants and officers stood there, who had made a fire of coals; for it was cold: and they warmed themselves: and Peter stood with them, and warmed himself.
19 ¶ The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine.
20 Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing.
This statement by Jesus is important to keep in mind when a cult tells you they have secret knowledge of Jesus. God’s ‘secrets’ are all recorded in the Bible. (Amos 3:7) There is no ‘secret book’ or ‘secret plan’ or ‘secret place’ where Jesus is being kept. When He returns it will be for all to see. (Matt 24:27) Anyone who says otherwise is a deceiver.
21 Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said.
22 And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so?
Being the patriarch, Annas was still considered the high priest by the Jews. Although the Romans had deposed him, Annas managed to secure the position for Caiaphas, his son-in-law (as well as five of his own sons at other times). Little did the officer know he was striking the true High Priest.
23 Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?
In verse 21 Jesus pointed out that it was illegal according to their own extrabiblical laws to ask Him to testify against Himself. They were supposed to call witnesses, as Jesus suggested. After they struck Him, Jesus again points out that they were acting outside the law (cf Acts 23:3). All in all, 18 Jewish laws were broken during Jesus’ trial. (See here.) For example, the high priest rent his clothes (Mark 14:63) which was illegal according to the Torah. (Lev 21:10)
24 Now Annas had sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest.
Now Annas sends Jesus to his son-in-law. Only John records the details above when Jesus appeared before Annas. His appearance before Caiaphas is narrated in the Synoptic Gospels.
25 And Simon Peter stood and warmed himself. They said therefore unto him, Art not thou also one of his disciples? He denied it, and said, I am not.
26 One of the servants of the high priest, being his kinsman whose ear Peter cut off, saith, Did not I see thee in the garden with him?
27 Peter then denied again: and immediately the cock crew.
In Luke’s Gospel, we read that after Peter denied Jesus the third time the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. (Luke 22:61) And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And Peter went out, and wept bitterly. Although John poked fun at his friend Peter in other places, he downplayed the rooster incident. Out of respect for his friend, I believe, as well as a deep understanding of God’s grace.
When we sin, Jesus waits patiently for us to repent. The Bible says if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. (Not rebuke such a one, or worse yet gossip about such a one.) Peter went on to do great things for Jesus because Jesus is a God of second chances, third chances, and 490 chances. (Matt 18:22)
28 ¶ Then led they Jesus from Caiaphas unto the hall of judgment: and it was early; and they themselves went not into the judgment hall, lest they should be defiled; but that they might eat the passover.
As our section ends, we see the Jewish leaders straining at gnats swallowing camels. They are conspiring to kill the Son of God, yet they are careful not to enter a Gentile building so they can eat the Passover. This shows the striking contrast between religion and the Christian faith. Religion is man’s attempt to reach God. Christianity is God’s plan to reach man. It is a simple relationship with God through faith in his Son — faith in what He did for us when He suffered and died for us on a bloody cross on Calvary. We believe that He died in our place, paying the price for our sins. Then we take up our own cross and follow Him wherever He leads. If we sin — like Peter — Jesus forgives us when we confess our sins to Him and repent, which means to change your mind. When Jesus rose from the dead, the women were instructed to tell Peter that Jesus wanted to see him. (Mark 16:7) Jesus then told Peter He still wanted him to minister the gospel for Him. (John 21:15ff) If you have sinned, Jesus will forgive you too, just as He forgave Peter. It was Spurgeon who said ‘You could no sooner exhaust the grace of God than you could drink the Atlantic ocean’. His mercy endureth for ever.
Father, thank You for being a forgiving, merciful, God who welcomes us back home when we sin and stray away, just as You did Peter. We are only dust Father, jars of clay, leaky vessels. Fill us with your Holy Spirit day by day and draw us close to your Son, that we may love Him as He deserves and serve Him in the power of the Holy Spirit as the Spirit leads, that we may be transformed from jars of clay into vessels of honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Prophecy Update: [T]hrough much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. We continue to see the effects of the so-called Great Reset, which as you have probably noticed is all about giving us less for more. The fact that you are taking time to read a prophecy update means you probably already have a pretty good idea of what we are facing. Rather than giving a laundry list of the latest dreary headlines, I thought it might be more prudent to discuss what our perspective should be, in light of these events.
Although the specters of war, financial collapse, and dystopian tyranny may look scary, all things considered, I do not think we have it any worse than the Christians we read about in the Bible had it. In any event, ease and comfort should not be our focus. That is not what being a Christian is about. Being a Christian is about taking up your cross and being filled with the Spirit, which comes through meditating each day on the word of God. Jesus suffered more than anyone. Paul suffered far more than any of us, yet he said he learned to be content. We all have to learn to be content. Instead of focusing on what I do not have, I give thanks for what I do have. I count my blessings. We all have things to be thankful for if we think about it. If you are depressed or fearful about the future, consider a study out of Ohio State University which found that the best cure for depression and anxiety is acts of kindness. This fits with what our Lord said, how it is more blessed to give than to receive. He asks that we be patient. Yes, hard times are upon us. Maybe that is not such a bad thing. A wise man once said that little by little, God takes away all the things that tie us to this earth. We may not be rich in mammon but in Christ we possess the true riches. We are living stones, a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, made to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. We are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that we should show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light: This world will soon perish but in Christ we have everlasting life.
Father, help us to be content and to find our peace in You. Help us to find our joy in You. Help us to look to You for our satisfaction and contentment and not to this world or worldly things like possessions or advancement. Increase our faith. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
…..Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
…..But godliness with contentment is great gain.
1 Timothy 6:1
…..And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.
1 Timothy 6:8
…..Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
In the final analysis, and I believe this with all my heart, all the turmoil we see in the world today is evidence pointing to the soon return of our Lord. The events taking place in our day are like trumpet blasts from ram’s horns, sounding the alarm, telling us to prepare to meet our King. He is coming. Get your affairs in order. Make restitution where necessary. Trim your lamp and make sure it is filled with oil.
…..Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
…..Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.
Ephesians 3:20, 21