Summary: Events from the upper room to the empty tomb
People looked at Jesus from their own point of view. The religious leaders saw Him as a threat to be eliminated. The sick and demonized saw Him as a healer and deliverer. Many saw Him as the Messiah Who would rout the Romans and reestablish the Jewish Kingdom. The disciples and apostles saw Him as teacher, friend and master.
But it seems that everyone saw Him from a more or less selfish perspective: His enemies wanted to get Him out of their way and the followers wanted what He could do for them and give to them.
Those anti-Jesus and pro-Jesus perspectives led to a chain of events I am calling Tragedy Turned To Triumph.
Look to the Scripture and we will see those events unfold. Luke 22:47-24:9 (NASB).
I. JESUS WAS BETRAYED AND DENIED: 22:47
A. “While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. But Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?’ When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, ‘Lord, shall we strike with the sword?’ And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus answered and said, ‘Stop! No more of this.’ And He touched his ear and healed him. Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, ‘Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? ‘While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.’ Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance. After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, ‘This man was with Him too.’ But he denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know Him.’ A little later, another saw him and said, ‘You are one of them too!’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I am not!’ After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, ‘Certainly this man also was wi th Him, for he is a Galilean too.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about.’ Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.” Luke 22:47-60.
B. Earthly friends may prove fickle and faithless:
1. In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, the Roman Dictator is surprised by an infamous treachery against himself by the Roman Senate. Even more painful was the realization that his protégée and friend, Brutus, was among the assassins. According to the script, Caesar said, with anguish and dismay, “Et, Tu Brutae?” “And you, too, Brutus?” and with a broken heart, he was stabbed to death.
2. Even though Jesus was aware of the defection, and who would be the wrongdoers, it still cut to the depth of His sprit.
a. There was very little difference between Judas’ and Peter’s friendship failure.
b. The main difference was their response: Judas, in remorse, hanged himself; Peter, in repentance, humbled himself.
c. But both moments of infidelity were like a dagger in His heart.
C. There is little lower than stabbing a friend in the back by some betrayal.
1. Judas did it for money.
2. Peter did it for self-preservation.
3. Some today forsake and betray Jesus for the same reasons: personal gain or personal safety.
4. Solomon said, “Like a bad tooth or a lame foot is reliance on the unfaithful in times of trouble.” Proverbs 25:19 (NIV).
D. To be a follower of Christ there is a need for fidelity and loyalty and dependability, regardless of gain or loss.
1. Let us turn our backs on the world and our faces toward Jesus.
2. Let us deny ourselves and stand for Jesus.
3. Let us be faithful to Him even unto death.
E. Believe it or not, there was a time when the bishops of the church outlawed translating the Bible into English. William Tyndale did so anyway and had to go into hiding. He was finally found by an Englishman who pretended to be his friend but then betrayed him to the authorities. After 18 months in prison, he was brought to trial for heresy -- for believing in the forgiveness of sins and that the mercy offered in the gospel was enough for salvation. He was condemned and on October 6, 1536 he was strangled and his body burned at the stake. His last prayer was "Lord, open the King of England's eyes." The prayer was answered in part when three years later, in 1539, Henry VIII required every parish church in England to make a copy of the English Bible available to its parishioners.